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COUNTY: Union County
LOCATION DETAILS: Gooch Mountain Shelter
NEAREST TOWN: Sarah
NEAREST ROAD: Cooper Gap Rd.
OBSERVED: I was hiking the Appalachian Trail in July of 2005 and I stopped to spend the night at the Gooch Mountain shelter. There was a hiker there at 16:00 but he left around 18:00 to get in a few more miles.
It was a normal night on the AT until around 2:30 in the morning. I was awakened by a very heavy rustling sound. I immediately jumped up in the sleeping bag thinking it was a bear. I was sleeping in the loft upstairs, for just this reason, and I had seen a bear earlier that day.
When I shined my headlamp out the front of the shelter there came a tremendous whooping sound. It was a mmoooooopp. It was pitch dark and dead silent except for this tremendous whoop. I was almost painful to the ears it was so loud. I could not see anything.
The sound seemed to be about 50 feet away and moved from left to right out of range of my headlamp repeating this loud whoop.
There were no other sounds in the woods, nothing, not even the crickets or frogs until 3 or 4 minutes after the sound stopped. I did not sleep the rest of the night. I looked in the morning and found no evidence of a bear, raccoon, or other animal, but the ground was very hard and dry. The sound came from the area where I had my food hanging in a tree away from the shelter.
I am a big guy, ex-military and spend a lot of time hiking and surviving in the woods. I have never heard anything close to this sound from any animal I have ever encountered. I do not scare easy but this had me really shaken. I watched a show on The Discovery Channel (I think) a while back and they played a supposed recording of a Bigfoot, then I realized this was exactly what I heard. Until that time I had dismissed the event.
ALSO NOTICED: Nothing found after a brief search.
OTHER WITNESSES: No witness. I almost always hike alone and the shelter was empty.
OTHER STORIES: Nothing even close to this. I still hike this area and have not heard anything like the woop.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Sound occurred around 2:30 am
Pitch dark, little or no moon, and high canopy trees blocking the sky.
Weather was calm, no wind, mid to upper 70ís
ENVIRONMENT: Heavily wooded, Hemlock and pine trees with light underbrush.
Gooch Mountain shelter is located just down a ridge on the northeast side. There is a spring a short distance (200yds) from the shelter.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Matt Pruitt:
I spoke with the witness at length about the sounds.
They were similar to "whoop" recordings on the BFRO website.
The animal he heard outside the shelter sounded large and heavy as it walked a perimeter beyond the light of his headlamp.
The animal repeatedly made "whooping" sounds that were ascending in pitch.
The witness has extensive outdoor experience, and is certain that what he heard was not any known North American animal.
BFRO researchers in Georgia have known that sasquatches will occasionally use portions of the Appalachian Trail to move quickly and quietly from one valley to the next at night. Subtle track signs of a bigfoot using the hard-packed Appalachian Trail would be indiscernible from the track impressions left by the hundreds of hikers on the trail each year.
The approach that the whooping animal made in this instance seems to indicate that it was using the trail to pass through the area.
About BFRO Investigator Matt Pruitt:
Matt Pruitt grew up in the mountains of Northeast Georgia, and has been conducting active sasquatch research for several years in various parts of the country.
Matt has attended/organized the following expeditions:
North Carolina - 2007
South Carolina - 2007
North Carolina - 2008
Georgia - 2008 (Expedition Organizer)
Washington (Cascades) - 2008
Washington (Olympic Peninsula) - 2008
Georgia - 2009 (Expedition Organizer)
Washington (Cascades) - 2009
Washington (Olympic Peninsula) - 2009
Oregon - 2010 (Expedition Organizer)
Washington (Olympic Peninsula) - 2010
Georgia - 2010 (Expedition Organizer)
Oklahoma - 2011 (Expedition Organizer)
North Georgia (1) - 2011 (Expedition Organizer)
North Georgia (2) - 2011 (Expedition Organizer)
Arkansas - 2012 (Expedition Organizer)
North Georgia - 2013 (Expedition Organizer)
North Carolina - 2013 (Expedition Organizer)
Matt is a trained visual tracker. During the summer of 2007, Matt co-instructed a tracking course for BFRO members in the Southeast. In 2009, he co-instructed an updated version of the same course for BFRO members in Utah. He currently lives in Northeast Georgia.
He can be contacted at Georgia@BFRO.net