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LOCATION DETAILS: First backpacking campsite on Western Uplands backpacking trail, Rain Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, near Kearney
NEAREST TOWN: Kearney
NEAREST ROAD: Rain Lake Access Road, Western Uplands Backpacking Trail
OBSERVED: First backpacking campsite on Western Uplands backpacking trail, Rain Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, near Kearney:
I was lying in my tent about to fall asleep when the forest went dead quiet. It was an uneasy feeling. Then I felt an enormous thud on the ground. The thud was totaly silent and did not disturb my sleeping son. I thought that the thud was my heart giving out as it was followed by arythmia, and I was praying that this was not the time or the place for me to have a heart attack. I thought I smelled a skunk smell, but when I breathed in deeper a second breath, I smelled nothing. The forest remained calm and I listened intently, thinking we were visited by a bear. The next morning, my son and I did some testing as it is possible to feel vibrations from walking on the thin soil overlaying the shield rock, which sounds like hollow ground when walking upon it. We determined that whatever it was had to have been within 4 feet of the tent. We could not reproduce the aplitude of the thud. We did discover where the animal came down from the trail into the campsite, and determined that neither of us had walked that way that night. We also believe that a 400 lb bear could not have produced the thud unless it jumped. I thought that it felt more like a 1000 lb moose, but could not explain why a moose would come that close to a designated campsite. I also thought that I heard a loon hooting later that night, but the hoot did not just sound right as it was more of a Whoop than a hoot, and much louder. There was a tree about 8" in diameter that had been snapped off about two feet above ground that was there when we arrived in camp. The splinters were fresh on the ground not covered by other forest debris such as pine needles as nearby ground conditions exibited. The tree had been snapped off. I noticed this as I cut the splinted end off the stump for firewood in the morning. It had not been chopped down or cut down. It was just the stump. I did not think anything of it at the time, a dead tree blown down in the woods. But in retrospect, it was fresh, no debirs on the stump as well. Which begs the question, where was the fallen tree? Surely someone could not have burnt it all up in a day? There was not enought fresh ash in the fire pit when we arrived. Also, who cuts up a fallen tree and hauls the whole thing off for firewood? I am not even so sure that the tree was in that condition when I first surveyed the sight, after having went forward to survey the second sight and returned to the first. I didn't notice it until after my son and I were both offsite for some time hanging the bear bags. Finally, earlier that night while preparing for bed, I asked my son several times, "What?" thinking he was talking to me, but not understanding him, but he said that he had said nothing. I have been in bear country before, and had to chase one off before, been there when my son was seven, not twelve (now), and took my daughter (16 mo) into Gatineau last week, but I can honestly say that this was the most scared I have ever been. If it was a Sasquatch or whatever they are called, I think I know why they were unhappy with our presence. I tested a bear banger flare at the bridge, just to make sure they were in working order. The wind caught the flare and blew it into a tree. Stupid me. It was embarassing, having to tell my son to wait on the trail while I investigated to make sure my idiot moment didn't catch the forest on fire. How careless of me. Anybody having observed this stunt would have judged me for a rookie and wouldn't want me camping near them. And well, I am when it comes to backpacking. I have done wilderness canoe camping in Quetico a dozen times though. The place was littered with moose and bear sign, with may bear footprints that seemed large and elongated moreso than what I am used to seeing. Everything was not adding up, and we decided to hike out giving up on the last 7 days of our adventure. While walking out, I had the feeling of being watched, and even noticed "something large" in the bushes about 40 m away. Upon investigation and finding nothing, I just assume it was overactive imagination, but the more I think the more things add up.
ALSO NOTICED: just the sense of being watched, and not wanting to continue with the trip (even though the deal breaker was actually a bum stove)
OTHER WITNESSES: no witnesses to thud, son witnessed tracks (not dicernable) leading into camp and splintered tree stump
OTHER STORIES: no
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 10 PM, overcast, light drizzle, 12 deg C, no breeze
ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest, edge of Rain Lake
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Todd Prescott:
Spoke with reportee Oct 5th, 2009. The following transcribed portion of the interview can be added:
What time did you arrive at camp?
"At the actual campsite, we got there probably between 5-6pm. We set up. It was starting to get dark, so we went to bed. I think it was probably around 10pm or shortly thereafter. And, I felt more than heard, this humongous thud on the ground - I felt like I actually came up off the ground. The ground's a little hollow there anyway...it's got the shield rock underneath with the dirt on top. You can pretty much hear anybody walk, or feel them more or less, walk as you're next to them.
What were you and your son doing before you went to bed?
"We were just watching the fire. We did get a late dinner, so it was probably 8pm by the time we'd cleaned up dinner and everything."
Were there any other people in the area to your knowledge?
"There was a couple that walked past us right as we were rolling our stuff inside the tent. We'd [already] set up the tent. On that lake there's only two walk-in campsites. I told them the next one is open, because when we got there, we looked at the next one just to make sure that we liked the one we were in better."
How long was your son asleep before you heard the thud?
"Maybe half an hour. I think he crawled into bed around 9, 9:15pm. I tidied up a few last things in camp, just in case it rained - made sure the fire was out, and then went to bed too."
How close did the thud sound from your tent?
"We tried to reproduce it [the thud] the next day standing where the tent was [by] jumping up and down on the ground. We couldn't reproduce the magnitude of it. As far as distance away from the tent, we figure it was 4-6ft maybe. We did see where whatever it was had come down off the trail. There's a slight embankment there because the hiking trail is the actual abandoned railroad, in that vicinity. There's an embankment that you have to come down to get into that campsite. But you couldn't discern it as any kind of track. It was just a disturbance in the earth and foliage."
The witness is bush savvy and doesn't know exactly what caused the thud that evening or what made the whoop sound. He just knows that it was a strange occurrence and left him more frightened than he's ever been while in the woods.
About BFRO Investigator Todd Prescott:
Todd Prescott, B.Ed, B.Mus, has been researching the subject of bigfoot for well over 20 years Todd attended the 2006 and 2008 B.C. Coastal Expeditions, 2008 and 2011 Pennsylvania Expedition, 2010 Pennsylvania Mini Expeditions, the 2007 Ontario Expedition and he hosted the Ontario 2009 Expedition. His research has taken him as far as Alaska to PA, Northern Ontario to BC, including a 2-week solo expedition throughout the Bella Coola (B.C.) region. Most recently, in August of 2012, Todd had the honor and privilege of spending 4 days/nights with Mr. John Green in BC where he was granted permission to peruse Mr. Green's extensive files dating back to 1957. Todd also had the unique experience of researching with Mr. Green near Harrison Hot Springs one evening. Currently, he is working on several books pertaining to the subject of sasquatch.