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COUNTY: Clackamas County
LOCATION DETAILS: From the town of Estacada, follow the Clackamas River Road (#224) to the old Ripplebrook Ranger Station, stay left on # 57 to Lake Harriet.
NEAREST TOWN: Estacada
NEAREST ROAD: State Highway 57
OBSERVED: C. and J. A., a young married couple, were exploring the site of abandoned mines about 0.75 miles below the dam of Harriet Lake, located in the Clackamas River drainage. The area has about 30 mine openings on steep hillsides that surround Shell Rock Creek. The mine in question had a stake on it some time recently, but has gotten abandoned since.
J., the wife, entered this defunct, horizontal mine through a framed access hole about 5’ high and 6’ wide. She noted a fairly strong “dead smell, combined with sewer” inside the mine entrance. As she played her high powered flashlight about from a few feet into the cave, it shone on a shaggy, silver-grey-haired sasquatch sitting against the wall with knees pulled up, arms about knees, and head hidden by holding down its face into its arms (about 12 away). J. fled hastily, telling her husband what she had seen, although he didn’t see it and left the area promptly. They observed no footprints since the ground is rocky.
Two days later they returned with an adult friend and his father and stepmother to explore the entire length of the mine (about 400’ deep). They found about 8 large “bird’s nests” (pack rat nests) and saw some bats and a pack rat. In addition, they found a larger bedding site. The latter measured about 4’ by 4.5’, oval in outline, with sticks as a base, above that about 1” of dry, composted leaves and on top of that about 1” progressively fresh greenery. Total thickness of the “nest” was about 3”. It looked as if the bed had been intermittently replenished with fresh vegetation and had been in that location for some time to allow the lower layers to disintegrate.
An inventory of the identifiable vegetation consisted of Western red cedar (Thuja plicata), incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens), big leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum), Douglas maple (Acer glabrum), red alder (Alnus rubra), cow parsnip (Heracleum lanatum), licorice ferns (Polypodium glycyrrhiza), moss, lichens, and mushrooms (Russula brevipes and R. sp., Gomphus floccosus, Clavulina sp.). The Douglas maple leaves and ferns were green and quite fresh and formed the uppermost surface. (Identifications courtesy of Sheery Spencer and Susan Schouten, Portland State University, Department of Biology). Microscopic searching through the contents of the nest yielded only some rodent hairs, but no primate examples.
J. had nightmares and did not want to enter cave again, allowing the rest of the party to do the exploring.
ALSO NOTICED: The group of searchers picked up a large piece of chewed brussels sprout stalk outside cave, its apex thoroughly pulped down to a fibrous stalk and the surface of stalk below the tip, where sprouts used to be, chewed for some distance by obviously blunt teeth. The nearest location where brussels sprouts were being grown was about 10 miles away.
ENVIRONMENT: The Clackamas River drainage is low elevation with very dense mixed deciduous/evergreen forest and is the scene of many past sasquatch encounters.
Follow-up investigation report:
The witnesses requested Dr. Fahrenbach to write up the report, in that they did not have a computer.
About BFRO Investigator Dr. Wolf H. Fahrenbach:
Hair analysis since 1965. Field work since 1989. Sasquatch courses given in Oregon and Arizona (3-10 weeks duration); Published in Cryptozoology.