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COUNTY: Lake County
LOCATION DETAILS: Base of Independence Pass. This is the border of Lake and Pitkin County.
Just off the road, Hwy 82.
NEAREST TOWN: Twin Lakes, CO
NEAREST ROAD: Hwy 82
OBSERVED: (Job title edited at witness request for privacy). I am currently on a contract in Rifle Colorado. My home is 5 1/2 hrs south of Rifle so I stay in my camper 5 days a week. This morning, I left my home at 0245 as per usual. I stopped in Buena Vista to fuel up and get a coffee. As I came thru the little town of Twin Lakes, I was just feeling tired and the more I drove, the sleepier I got. So before I started up Independence Pass, I thought I would pull over and get some fresh air. (I had just noted that it was 36 degrees on the truck temp. gauge and even took a picture of it on my phone, to send to my brother in Virginia). I pulled over to the left side of the road. As I got out of the truck, I noticed movement in the meadow directly in front of me. Not more than 3-4 miles below here, I had just seen a buck deer so I was thinking that I had probably flushed another deer. As I walked to the rear of my truck, I continued to look out in the meadow and that is when I saw this thing move. At first I thought it was a bear but it rose straight up and that is when I knew it wasn't a bear. A bear's front legs hang in front of their belly when they stand and these did not. The "arms" hung to the sides just like a person. Only if this was a person, he was really tall. It was furry and a deep brown/red in color. I was so frightened that I thought I would throw up. As I moved back toward my truck door, it tipped its head back as if it was smelling the air. When I opened the truck door, it turned, bent over and picked something up and began to run on two legs across the meadow away from me. Not running like sprinting, but running at a pace that he could probably continue for hours. Honestly, the thing that struck me most about this was the way it picked up, whatever it was, and carried it with both hands clasped together in front of its torso. By now I was back in my truck, shaking and tearful.
I live in my camper 5 days a week. I move from State Park to State Park. I see wildlife daily. I just saw a black bear Sunday evening and I know what they look like when they stand, how they grunt and grumble. I know how they lumber and run...this was not a bear. It was like nothing I have ever seen.
OTHER WITNESSES: Just myself. I travel this route twice a week for my job, when the pass is open, as it saves me about 30 minutes in my commute.
It was about 3 1/2 hrs into my commute and I was getting a bit sleepy. I pulled over to get out and walk around the truck to wake up.
OTHER STORIES: No! Not that I would tell anyone what I saw, nor would I have believed anyone else...prior to this morning.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 6:15am
twilight / 1st light of day
It was very still, no wind
ENVIRONMENT: Base of Independence Pass. Very wet, creeks weaving all thru these meadows. Lush.
Follow-up investigation report:
I interviewed this witness for well over two hours on the evening of September 3rd, 2009 and found her to be quite overwhelmed, very enthusiastic, and thoroughly convinced by her sighting and very relieved to have someone to seriously discuss it with, as she claimed to have not mentioned it to anyone in those two days because of her concern about the expected ridicule and disbelief that so often follows such reports. What followed was a reasonable and thorough discussion of the details of her sighting, her opinion regarding the subject previously and the significant impact it has had on her immediately thereafter.
The witness was approximately 3 1/2 hours into her 5 1/2 hour twice-weekly commute to her then-current work assignment in Rifle when she decided to pull over and stop and refresh herself before the drive over Independence Pass. Since turning off Highway 24 and onto Highway 82 until she pulled over, she noted that she was following two work trucks that appeared to be carrying welding units and traveling together, although neither truck slowed down or gave any other indication of seeing anything when and where she stopped. Days later, she returned to the same location and was able to precisely determine the location as the pullout on the west side of the road at mile-marker 67.
Upon first stepping out of her truck, she noticed some movement in the meadow below her but paid no particular attention at first, assuming it to possibly be just another deer, as she had just seen another minutes before, and because its coloration appeared similar at first glance. It was approximately fifteen minutes before sunrise and the light was sufficient that she was able to see well. As she walked toward the back of her truck, she continued to look out at this figure. It was down a small embankment off the roadside pull-out and out into a little meadow at the edge of some brush at a distance of about forty yards (which was confirmed during her own return visit when she paced off the distance and by my own visit to the location shortly thereafter) giving her a clear and unobstructed view.
She further described it as a "reddish, cinnamon-wash color, almost a copper." She guessed she had watched this figure for 10-20 seconds, thinking then that perhaps it was a bear, but then it stood fully upright and she quickly concluded "No doubt in my mind, it's not a bear!" She explained that when standing, as she had seen before, "bear arms hang in front of it and are short, but these arms were hanging to the side just like a human." "The arms were hanging down well-past its buttocks almost to mid-thigh." She then even briefly considered the possibility "Is that some kind of funky camouflage?" and if she had "caught a hunter hoaxing or something?" After standing, the figure was almost facing her, looking a little to the left and down-valley, toward the direction from which she had come. The witness was stunned and overwhelmed with fear and started slowly returning along the side of her truck. She described it next arching its back and raising its head at the same time in one unified motion as if, she assumed, it was sniffing the air. The witness clearly noticed breasts in profile. It then turned and looked directly at her and "locked eyes with me" and both stood staring for what she thought was, or felt like, up to 40-45 seconds. "I absolutely could not not look at it. I was afraid to look away. I need to know if it's coming at me. It was big." Due to her work with patients, the witness emphasized how very experienced and usually accurate she is in guessing heights and weights and went on to mention that she has two brothers; one 6'4" and the other 6'5". She estimated this figure at "easily 7 feet, but I don't think it was much bigger than that." It was also described as "not heavy, well-defined, 300-330 lbs. It wasn't fat." Its shoulders were "massive and well-defined, like a person who was buff, tapered to a waist" and that "definition of the biceps and quads" was clearly visible. The hair looked somewhat matted and "like dreadlocks in places." "The eyes almost looked like a liquid brown" and no white was visible or noticed. There was not much hair around the eyes, nose and lips, which were dark colored. The forehead was "flat and sloped a little something like a Flathead indian." No smell was noticed.
As soon as she opened her truck door, the figure quickly bent over, picked up something that "appeared smaller than a soccer ball" and began to run more or less straight across the valley bottom and away from her toward the opposite treeline. She assumed it picked up something it was eating or gathering and did not see any limbs or movement from whatever was picked up. She described seeing no visible arm movement from the figure as it ran away because it was holding what it had picked up just in front of it, but not clutched to its chest. The witness has horses and described the running motion as an easy pace, a loping stride, and much like that of a long-distance runner, although "it was really covering some ground."
As soon as the witness got back into her truck, she glanced back once or twice but did not continue to watch any longer and started to drive away. She went on to describe feeling like she was going to throw up and crying because she was so overwhelmed by the experience.
When asked about describing this apparent sasquatch as "he" in her narrative but describing what clearly appeared to be an obvious female in further discussion, the witness explained that it was all so much and she was just coming to terms with acknowledging, describing and reporting a bigfoot sighting at all. "He" was just a generic reference to the figure. She was reluctant to mention in her report, and initially somewhat hesitant to describe to me, the additional detail of the breasts of a female sasquatch.
The witness described never previously entertaining the serious thought of or giving any credence to the existence of sasquatch. She said she had always "poo-pooed" the subject and that she would have to see it to believe it. "I knew what it was. I ruled out what it wasn't. Everything in my rationale was shot out the window. I couldn't reason it away." She went on to describe how this sighting has shaken her and has forced her to reconsider and call into question everything she thought she was certain of because she was certain bigfoot was not real. "She landed in my lap. My life is forever changed." In her final estimation, "Overall, I did not equate this to some kind of animal but some variation of human as far as I could tell. I equate it to a hairy human."
Because I consider this a compelling and persuasive eyewitness account and because of the detail afforded by this close-range sighting, I asked the witness if she might be willing to discuss the incident with my friend, artist and BFRO associate Sybilla Irwin of Texas to which she readily agreed. Below are the sketches created with the direction of the witness.