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COUNTY: Cowlitz County
LOCATION DETAILS: Elk meadows observation pull out parking area.
NEAREST TOWN: Toutle Lake, WA.
NEAREST ROAD: Spirit Lake Highway
OBSERVED: I'd like to begin by saying that with the discovery of this web site I have found what could be the first confidence I have ever felt in reporting to you what I'm about to relate. Thank you for founding this site and giving real legitimacy to bring this subject to the light of day.
The encounter began when I took my fiance' L. for a late afternoon drive up Spirit lake highway. L. is not from this area and I wanted to take her for a drive to see the sites before the sun set. The encounter began the moment I pulled the Dodge Dakota over into the upper part of the "Elk Meadows" observation parking lot.
It was at this time full dark and I could not see more than a few feet into the darkness. The weather had been unstable with wind and rain showers all day. The lot was wet from a recent passing shower. As soon as we stopped I turned off the ignition and let things settle for a minute. L. and I both opened our windows a little ways so they wouldn't fog and just enjoyed a moment of quiet.
Thats when we both heard some vocalizations that were soft but distinctive up on the hillside across the highway from us. I said: did you hear that? she said yes. I said lets listen for a minute and it kept on like a sort of conversation with itself. We both had the sensation that the voice was speaking towards us down in the parking lot.
It was a soft chatter that you might hear chimps make at the zoo when entertaining themselves alone. Then there was a shift in the sounds it made by way of two rocks being pounded together in a two or three beat rythymn. Then there was some more chatter with the pounding that sounded a little more urgent and frustrated than at first. Fascinated by all this I told my wife-to-be to stay put and I'm getting out to get a better bearing on this sound making over across the highway and up the hill from us.
She was starting to get spooked and I didn't want her to panic thinking if I went to see what was going on in a causal way she'd stay calm. I told her I needed to relieve myself so I opened the door of the truck and stepped around in back of the doorpost looking towards the rear of the vehicle and took care of business.
This is when things escalated. I could then hear footsteps coming down the side of the hill toward us in the lot. Sound was carrying very well in the clear air of this evening with little breeze. I could tell from the footfalls it was coming at a angle from right to left down the hill, fast! There was dirt and small rocks being pushed aside by the footfalls and the loose rocks were rolling from under its feet. Very definately a two footed descent. Not the sound of an elk or bear on fours as I have seen and heard this kind of noise from normal elk and deer movements.
I wondered why someone would be out at this hour up there on the hillside messing with tourists out for a drive. It didn't add up.
I knew that all the hunting seasons were closed and there were no other vehicles in the lot nor had we seen any parked along side the road for at least 10 miles further back. It just was not likely that this was a poacher who had lost his way trying to get a ride back home tonight.
The footfalls kept coming my way and they were making heavy slaps like someone wearing swim fins or was barefoot and had exceptionally large feet starting to cross the lot behind the truck about 40 feet or so behind our parked truck. It was not running but rather quickly walking across the lot right in front of me and I could not see it but just hear it very close.
I jumped in the truck and turned the head lights and fog lamps on and gunned the engine to get us up about 20 feet to go around the burm dividing the lot to get turned around and the truck facing whatever was walking across it. This maneuver took all of 5 seconds and by the time I got the lights on the center of the lot all I could see was the motion of something bipedial and very large throwing it's legs over the concrete barrier at the back of the lot about 60 feet from us pivoting on one hand like a gymnist going over a pommel horse and gone in an instant.
There was crashing and rocks rolling and the sound of dirt flying down this 60 or 70% hill. I had stopped, put the truck in park and stood outside the cab behind my door listening to all these retreating sounds of something very large and heavy going down this embankment.
I asked if L. if she had seen anything but she only heard what I had heard and saw. I closed the door and told her to lock them all. Taking a flashlight with me I went over to the highway and looked at the foot prints of mud crossing the road leading from the hill side. It started to rain again. Taking a closer look shining my light on the tracks they were spaced about 4 1/2 feet apart. My feet are size 12 and when I placed my foot next to a muddy track the outline of the track was half again longer and wider than mine. It took me a long stride plus a short one for me to span the distance between each foot print. These tracks were only moments old.
The tracks led from the top of the hillside at an angle from right to left and out of the ditch, up over the highway, over to the parking lot and over the side of the concrete retaining blocks at the edge of the lot where I saw the creature vault over the side. I walked the distance with my flashlight from the ditch to the retaining wall looking at the muddy foot prints.
My hair had never stood so strait on end as at that moment and I was morbidly fascinated with the last several minutes, maybe 7 or 8 minutes all together. I got back in the truck after convincing L. it was just me coming to the door. I took a deep breath and started the truck and said to L. it was just about time to go and we left for home down in Toutle lake. It was raining.
ALSO NOTICED: Just that the time of day and the time of year left few if any options to account for a "person" to have done this display.
OTHER WITNESSES: Just my Fiance' sitting next to me in the Dakota p/u. The lot was vacant and no other vehicles around.
OTHER STORIES: There is a report on this site of a Family having watched a bigfoot on the side of the S. Lake highway just down the hill to the west of our encounter
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Approximately 3/4 hr after sunset,varying cloud cover but clear at ground level to a thousand ft. above the hill tops. Rain and mist intermitently but clear at the beginning of the encounter turning to lite rain/mist.
ENVIRONMENT: Observation area parking lot approx. 10 miles to the NW of Mt. St. Helen's. There is a graded hill side across highway from the parking area. Fir and spruce and lots of bare ground. Cascade mountains inside the old blow down region of St. Helens over looking a deep valley with new growth fir and spruce and the N. Toutle river head waters. About 4200 ft. Elev.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator David W Ellis:
I have discussed on numerous occasions the report filed by (J). Each time he has been consistent with his recounting of events. During one of our discussions I was able to find the Elk Meadow parking lot via Google earth. (J) was able to walk me through the orientation of his truck as he was listening to the chatter on the hillside. Then he talked me through the sequence of events as he moved to the second location where he saw it vault the retaining wall.
During my initial call (J) noted that it had been raining and was between showers. The location was absolutely quiet as he and his fiance sat in the car with the windows rolled down. It wasn't long before they heard some sounds above them.
I asked (J) if he could hear a response to the chatter from the hillside. I was wondering if there could have been a reason for the chatter. He said no just the noises that were up on the hill above them. I asked (J) if he could describe the chatter sounds. First he commented that they reminded him of Chimpanzee.Then He made his rendition of what he heard. The sounds he produced were eerily similar to some of the vocalizations - aka as Samurai Chatter, I heard in the recordings by Sierra Sounds. Sounds that were like words but not of any recognizable dialect. At some point the vocalizations changed to rock clacking.
I did find it interesting that things changed after he urinated. It was then that whatever it was that was up on the hillside decided to make its way down to their location. (J) gives a good visual aid when he said the foot falls sounded like flippers on pavement as it made its way across the parking lot.
It was at this time (J) decided to move his truck. By using Google earth measurements it appears that he moved his truck about 100 yards or three hundred feet from his original location. By doing so it now gave him the ability to have his headlights on the creature. After getting the path of the creature determined from (J's) description it appears the path it traversed across the parking lot was approximately 140 feet. The parking lot has a burm in the middle with an approximate five foot elevation change from upper to lower parking lot. As he moved his car he caught a glimpse of the creature as it neared the edge of the parking lot and vaulted the retaining wall. He had his low beam and fog lights on which allowed him a good visual. He said that it turned its body to face him briefly after it went over the edge and allowed him to make some observations of its face. (J) could see skin, light in color with bushy hair or fur framing the chin and face. The face seemed ape-like with a heavy brow ridge. No appearance of a neck but a prominent jawline. The jaw was just about even with the visible collar bone or shoulders. The nose was broad and bulbous. (J) was also able to get an indication of the left ear. He said the color was brown and grayish tones, but most likely the gray was the reflection or sheen of the car headlights. He was also able to see a cream or lighter color patch on its shoulders. He estimates the creature's height between 7' 6" to 8" tall. It was at least 4' wide at the shoulders and narrowing at the waist
(J) mentions that he looked at the foot impressions on the hill side. He was able to make a quick judgment of length by analyzing his stride. He has a thirty two inch stride and determined these were at least half again as long. That would make them approximately 48" long. Using his 12" boot for scale he estimates the foot prints were over 17" long and at least 5" in width.
I believe (J) had a good visual of a bipedal creature that could not be mistaken for a bear or another human being. Included below are a Google earth map of the encounter showing the location of the creature when it was up on the hillside, its path down the hill across the parking lot and over the edge into the valley below. It shows the original location of (J's) truck and his second location as he watch the creature vault the fence. The second picture is a collaboration of efforts using (J's) description of what he saw. Using Paint software, I drew the picture and asked (J) to correct anything he saw wrong. (J) advised me that if you were to have captured the creature on film, this would have been one of the snap shots.
About BFRO Investigator David W Ellis:
Senior Sales Representative for Lightolier / Philips Currently residing on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound Attended several public and private expeditions in Washington State Assisted with the 2009 expeditions on the Peninsula and the Cascades