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LOCATION DETAILS: Northeast corner of Inlet Bay, Quetico Provincial Park.
NEAREST TOWN: Ely, MN
NEAREST ROAD: The higway leading to LaTourells' outfitters on Moose Lake
OBSERVED: I have been a BSA scoutmaster for 10 years and one of my favorite things to do on our campouts around the campfire at night is read Bigfoot sighting reports to the boys from the BFRO website. Nothing makes them more quiet and compliant once going to bed than thinking that the big guy could be lurking around in the dark just beyond the campfire in the woods. The fact that I can make a very convincing bear-growl adds to the fun as well. I have done this around the campfire for years and it has always been great fun. Plus, many of the well-documented sightings make for great entertainment and it beats the heck out of telling ghost stories around the fire. I always secretly hoped I would have my own encounter someday and just a couple of weeks ago, I finally did.
From July 10 to July 18, 2009, I took my boys on a camping/canoeing trip to the Quetico Provincial Park wilderness area in Ontario Canada, just north of Ely, Minnesota. Quetico Park is a limited access wilderness area that requires permits that must be applied for months in advance. It is a huge park about the size of Connecticut, with 500-600 lakes and pristine woodlands and islands. There are no roads and no motorized boats are allowed anywhere in the park, except for some native Indian guides with grandfathered access rights. It is a perfect place to go for a wonderful wilderness canoeing/camping experience.
We checked in at the ranger station at Prairie Portage the afternoon of Saturday, July 11 and then struck out for a sandy beach camping area in a secluded cove on the northeast corner of Inlet Bay. This was a camping area on a sandy beach with thick, brushy wilderness extending back into the woods opposite the water for miles. The first night we were there was uneventful but the second night was pretty interesting.
Most of the boys and 2 of the adult leaders had already gone to bed but a few of us decided to hang around the fire and just enjoy the evening. Joining me around the fire was another adult leader named Dave, 4 Eagle Scouts – including 2 of my sons and my nephew- and a 13 year old scout. It had gotten dark and we were just shooting the breeze when my oldest son Andy suddenly shushed us all and said “Do you guys hear that?” We all shut up and listened really close and what we heard startled us all.
I have been wilderness camping for all of my 46 years and what I heard next was unlike anything I had ever heard before. Most animals will steer clear of fires and people but whatever THIS was was seemingly pacing back and forth in the woods just beyond our flashlight range. We heard very heavy bi-pedal footsteps walking through the dense brush just beyond our campsite, crunching twigs and making a lot of noise. Knowing everyone else was already in bed and considering the absolute darkness, the thick brush, and the fact that no one in their right mind would even be trying to walk around back there at night – we all were a little unnerved to say the least.
Earlier that day, I had gone back into the woods to take care of nature’s business, hoping the mosquitoes would leave my lily-white rear alone long enough to get the job done without getting too bitten up. When I was back there though, I could not shake the feeling of being watched. Later on, as we discussed our encounter, my nephew said he had felt the same eerie feeling when he had done the same earlier the same day.
Anyway, as we stood around the fire listening to this heavy bi-pedal pacing back & forth, the boys all decided that was their cue to get to bed in their tents, as if that would actually provide any protection from whatever this was. As they went to their tents, I stood there listening to the steps and I could hear deep heavy breaths – sort of like the Uruk-hai in front of Helm’s Deep in the Lord of the Rings “Two Towers” movie. There was no rock throwing or tree knocking – no apparent intimidation behaviors. It just seemed to be something satisfying it’s curiosity about who we were.
When I heard the breathing I decided that maybe it was time for me to go to bed too, especially since some of the boys were getting spooked and I needed to set a good example of courage. So, I laughed about it and told them to get to bed before Bigfoot gets them. As I lay there in my tent, the footsteps began to fade away and whatever it was left us alone. My son Andy, ever the smart-aleck, asked me to tell some more Bigfoot stories but I said “No, I think we are all sufficiently weirded out for now”. Andy then asked Robert, the 13 year old who was out there with us, if he was freaked out and he sheepishly answered “Sorta.”
A few minutes later, we heard some wolves howling in the distance and then we heard a closer, deep howl that sounded just like the Ohio Bigfoot howl, but without the dogs barking. When that howl was heard, the wolves abruptly shut up. I told the boys “That’s the big guy himself, you guys!” and the howl was repeated, though it sounded further away the second time. A moment or so later, I could faintly hear another howl barely audible through the woods. Then there was nothing but absolute silence in the woods. It took a while but we finally all drifted off to sleep.
The next day, I tried to find tracks but since the area was very overgrown and the ground was thickly covered with leaf – fall and moss, no definable tracks were seen. I will say this – we were in a very remote region and the area the sounds were coming from that night was difficult to move through in the daylight, much less in the pitch black night. None of our people were out of their tents and none of them would dare go back into those woods without a flashlight and a buddy or two. We were in an area that has bears, cougars, moose, and many other animals that scouts would not wish to run into unprepared.
What we heard was no bear, moose, or cougar. The sounds were heavy, bi-pedal footsteps just beyond flashlight range, and whatever it was wasn’t frightened by us or our campfire. The breathing was deep and heavy and sounded like it was coming from a very big animal curious about who we were and what we were doing in his woods.
I wish I could say I had the nerve that night to take a flashlight and venture back into those woods to see exactly what it was – especially since I am a long-time Bigfoot enthusiast – but honestly, I was to unnerved to try it and no one would have gone with me, especially after the breathing sounds I heard. I am not sure anyone else heard those sounds because I went to bed last. Once I heard that sound though, I knew it was time for me to back down and pack it in. I realize that without an actual sighting, my encounter is at best a Class B but I am convinced that a Sasquatch paid us a visit that night.
ALSO NOTICED: Strong sense of being watched while toileting in the woods.
OTHER WITNESSES: 4 Eagle Scouts - my 2 sons, my nephew, and another Eagle scout; myself, another adult male, and a 13 year old scout.
OTHER STORIES: Not that I know of.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: approx 11:30pm - it was dark, clear, and stars were out but it was still very dark.
ENVIRONMENT: Lakes, dense woods, swampy beach with dense wilderness forest streching for hundreds of miles.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Todd Prescott:
Reportee was spoken with August 18th, 2009. The reportee's account is quite comprehensive, but I shall add the following details that came forth during our phone conversation.
- there were 12 people on the outing: 6 leaders and 6 children
(children aged between 12-17)
- on the day of the encounter, the scouts fished, canoed, hiked
and explored - they were rowdy, loud and basically acting like
any Boy Scout troop would in the woods
- the group ate dinner at about 6pm
- the bipedal sounding pacing began at approx 11:30pm and
lasted about five minutes
- the pacing animal appeared to move laterally, as if around
- the howl that was heard followed wolves howling and
prompted the wolves to stop howling
- a second, unusual howl, sounding like a mix of the Ohio Howl & Mississippi Howl, sounded shortly after the first unusual howl - it was more faint
- the group moved on to another camp area further into the
park the next day
- one of the leaders climbed and explored
a ridge line where he found what appeared to be evidence
of a large animal which had recently moved through the
- ascending the ridge was difficult but afforded a vantage point
overlooking the area
Reportee has a lot of experience in the woods and is well-versed in typical bear, moose, deer and cougar behavior. Reportee felt strongly that the pacing was not caused by any of the aforementioned animals, nor any other large quadrupedal animal.
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.