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COUNTY: Benton County
LOCATION DETAILS: Mary's Peak. We parked in the large parking area and walked the inner trails through the forest.
NEAREST TOWN: Philomath
NEAREST ROAD: Hwy 34
OBSERVED: My wife and I love to take our three young children on small treks (we usually hike 3-5 miles). We live very close to Silver Falls, but wanted to venture out a bit more. We read about Mary's Peak, just outside of Philomath and thought we'd give it a try. The following is what my wife wrote in her blog last night. Here is the link, where you can find some pictures of the area we hiked
Here's what she wrote:
We were disappointed to find it incredibly foggy, since it is the highest point on the coastal range, and we had our hearts set on a spectacular view. As it turned out, the fog made the dense forest section of our hike even more interesting and gorgeous. All of the plants and trees were damp and dripping from the condensation, and the clouds were swirling around us at times- absolutely breathtaking! It was very secluded, and simply serene. About half way through our hike, we heard a UAS (Unidentified Animal Sound). The best way I can describe it is to say that it was a short, deep, guttural whooping sound. Whatever it was, was clearly rather too close for our liking. We weren't really frightened, but we were unnerved enough to take safety precautions. I stopped taking pictures, and Travis & I insisted that the kids walk between us in a tight group for the remainder of the hike. The sound came and went, and at one point it became clear that there were at least two of whatever-they-were, because we realized that not all of the sounds were coming from the same direction. They were alternating, as if they were communicating. It all continued for about 40 minutes, sometimes louder and closer, other times quieter, and obviously farther away as we continued to climb the trail. Eventually, the sounds ceased altogether, and we relaxed when we finally made it out of the forest section and back into the open.
OTHER WITNESSES: Not sure. There were only 2-3 other cars in the parking lot when we arrived and departed.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Around 5:00 PM
ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest, with streams running through it.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Kristi Sanders:
I spoke with the witness and he related the events of their hike in straightforward manner. The URL posted in the report has a blog from June 14, 2009 with photos of the area during their hike. He mentioned that the kids were playing on the trail, "just being kids," while this occurred.
He related what occurred with additional details of the hike and descriptions of the sounds. He was adamant that it was not a cougar, elk, deer, bear, wolf or coyote. He said he had grown up knowing these sounds, and said it was a guttural "whoo whoo whoo" sound to which another would reply. He said at one point it made all the hair on the back of his neck stand up, and that the sound was about 200 yards off the trail, or closer, and the return reply sounded to be about a mile off, and would get closer, and farther.
He said the impressive thing that really stood out was that it was obivious they were communicating, and it fascinated him that they were having a conversation, if you will, while moving through the forest.
Marys Peak is the highest part of the coastal mountain range and is very dense forest. Having lived near there as a child, I can attest that the area has thick forests all around.
About BFRO Investigator Kristi Sanders:
Kristi Sanders, a twice-qualified National NPC bodybuilder, personal trainer, gym owner, and business CE lecturer, was raised in a hunting and fishing family. When Kristi is not working, she is camping with her daughter (rain or shine) and exploring the Pacific NW to pass on her love of the outdoors to the next generation. Kristi attended the 2009 WA Cascades Expedition.