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COUNTY: Tulare County
LOCATION DETAILS: Take Sherman Pass Road past Kennedy Meadows General Store. Continue on towards Troy Meadows. We turned on a vague dirt road within a mile of the entrance to Fish Creek Campground. Our camp was close to the old Jackass Trail connector.
NEAREST TOWN: Kennedy Meadows
NEAREST ROAD: Sherman Pass Road
OBSERVED: It was the summer of 1986 and I was camping with a friend in a small campsite where we had been several times before. It was a few hundred yards off the road before Fish Creek campground, near Troy Meadows area on the Kern Plateau, up the road from Kennedy Meadows. The public campground was about 1 Ĺ miles as the crow flies from us. I believe it was a Wednesday so there were not many other campers on the mountain, and we were on the first day of a motorcycle riding trip. We had spent the day gathering wood, setting up tents and testing out our old motorcycles. Two friends were to join us the next day.
As my friend Bob and I settled in around the campfire, we talked of the loop we were planning to ride the next day. We were camped in a clearing in the trees. There was a large meadow 100 yards on the other side of the trees. Bobís dog Duke, a large male Irish setter, was taking turns getting petted. It was getting late and we were winding down.
Just then we heard it. The sound was part yell, part growl. It was extremely loud and echoed through the valley. Only a very large pair of lungs could have produced the loud, high tones and deep throaty growl. This sound struck fear in me that I will never forget. It continued for several minutes and seemed to be at the edge of the meadow. It is hard to describe the intensity of the sound. The best I can do is to say that it started off sounding like the yell of a howler monkey, fading into the deep growl of an enraged grizzly bear.
We stoked up the fire without saying a word to each other. Next we heard a branch break just outside the light of the campfire. I looked at Duke and saw him staring at the area where I had heard the branch break. He was shaking from head to toe. Next we heard leaves move about fifty feet over from the last sound. The dog turned straight at it. Again, it was just out of the light of the fire. Bob and I were scared like never before. Our fear was emphasized by the fact that his large male dog was frozen in fear, fixed on one area in the darkness. By the look in his eyes, I believe he could see what we could not.
Several minutes later, the dog slowly broke his stare for a minute. Bob and I were able to talk after this point. All we could come up with to explain the noises was that it was large, not a bear, and very angry by the sound of it. We never calmed down that night. We abandoned the tents and both slept in Bobís Ford Bronco, Bob with his 357 lying across his chest. The next day, we waited until we heard other cars and far off bikes before we started really walking around. Later our friends arrived and we kept the camp loud all of the next night.
I have camped, hunted, fished and rode dirt bikes for my whole life. I have played it cool with bears outside my tent and seen a lot of the backcountry. I also work in the outdoors. I have never heard an animal like what we heard that one night.
OTHER WITNESSES: One witness and a dog. We were all sitting by the campfire
OTHER STORIES: I have only read of such occurances on your web-site last night for this area.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 10 p.m. A dark night, black other than the campfire. Weather: Fair.
ENVIRONMENT: Clearing in pine forest, 100 yards from the edge of a meadow
A & G References: Southern California Delorme Atlas, Page 39, Index of D-5.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Richard Hucklebridge:
Jim called me tonight January 8, 2008 from Orange County, and we went over his and his friend sound encounter back in 1986 which took place where off road motorcycle folks gather to ride the high back country around the Jackass Peak area of the Sequoia National Forest. The witness gave me a co-ordinance of Latitude 36.034893, and a Longitude of -118.123799 which he got from Google earth. This seems a little off from where I know Jackass Meadows to be located. See below for further information on this matter.
The witness heard an extremely loud yell that went into a growl. It repeated 5 or 6 times over a 3 to 4 minute span. Each vocalization lasted around 10 to 15 seconds. The sound went from a high pitch yell to a low pitch growl with the higher pitch variation each time. It was not rhythmic.
This yell/growl was so loud it seemed to come from just outside of their fire circle light, but it was further away. They say they could hear it breaking branches and stepping on leaves and twigs as it moved in the distance.
They new it wasnít a bear or a mountain lion, but they were not sure what it was. They knew it was big and they wanted no part of it.
The camp site that these two young men were using was a little more remote that the normal camp sites that most folks use at the Fish Creek campground. It was more like a deer hunterís camp, but not too far removed from other sites at Fish Creek campground. They said there was no one else in the campground at the time.
I have been using this area off and on for about 40 years now camping, off road motorcycling, cutting wood, and deer hunting. I believe the road this witness was referring to is the Jackass Meadow Rd.
Jim said that road is now closed, but they were using a portion of Jackass Meadow to camp at. I was using this Jackass Meadow road back in the 1960ís through the 1990ís and even later.
This dirt road is on the north side of the Sherman Pass Rd. or better known as the road to the Black Rock Ranger Station, about a quarter mile east of the entrance to the Fish Creek campground.
Jim has a job that keeps him outdoors. And then he spends his off time outdoors as well. He is a very credible and believable person, and has a vivid recollection of that night.
He has listened to sounds on the BFRO site but did not hear anything close to what they heard that night.
In later correspondence he mentioned that he found a YouTube clip with sound that is close. The sound turns out to be Roger Patterson's simulation of yell/growl he heard in the 1960's. To clarify, this recording is not an actual recording of a sasquatch, but rather a person imitating a sasquatch howl. In this case Patterson was howling into a church steeple to give the vocal some reverb effect.
Please click on the link above to view and listen to the recording.
About BFRO Investigator Richard Hucklebridge:
- Four years in the United States Navy, 1955-1959 (Combat Air Crewman on P4M Mercator Patrol Aircraft)
- 37 years in the aerospace industry: 33 years with General Electric at Edwards AFB; More than 5 years with the Northrop Grumman Corp. at Edwards AFB (Flight Line Mechanic on the B-2 Bomber).
- During 20 of those years at Edwards he was a Reserve Deputy Sheriff for the County of Los Angeles.