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COUNTY: Salt Lake County
NEAREST TOWN: Salt Lake City
OBSERVED: It was in 1964 around August. I was at a family cabin with a friend of mine. I was born and raised in Salt Lake and when we were in junior high middle school one or the other of our parents would drive us out to our cabin in Cottonwood Canyon, Salt Lake County. One or the other of our parents would drive us up to the family cabin and drop us off for the weekend or a few days and then the other parents would come pick us up. I had spent a great deal of time in Big Cottonwood Canyon because of my grandparents' cabin. I went deer hunting regularly with my father when I was younger and later on by myself. So I thought I knew everything there was to know about that canyon. We got dropped off, got settled in and being 14 or so there was no drugs, no alcohol no mind altering nothing - at all, just good straight kids enjoying a little camping trip making us feeling grown-up. Its hard to describe the feeling of utter isolation. In the summer time, mid week,it was not uncommon to not see a single car or truck for four days on that dirt road, no telephones of any kind. We used to go hiking, get up in the morning and decide which direction to go, up or down the road. We decided we would go up the road and it was so hot and so dusty that you couldn't help but see there were a great number of deer tracks heading down the canyon. I mentioned it to my friend and he said there has always been a lot of deer, but I was like yeah but its summer time and its hot and they normally go higher up in elevation where they got the creeks and they shouldn't be going down this low. As we walked along, I looked down at a set of cat tracks and I said my god that's why they are heading down the canyon, we got a cougar on the prowl. They got the deer moving down the canyon, their afraid of it.
We got up the next morning, we went down the road toward the Big Cottonwood highway. We used to leave fishing hooks on a line in a creek down the road, we got so absorbed in playing in the creek we didn't realize it was getting dark, the bats were coming out. We decided to head back toward the canyon. By this time it was really dark it was hard to see your hand in front of you. As we go up toward the road towards the cabin you could be level with the ground on one side or you could be staring at a dirt wall on the other side, where they cut thru the hillside to put in the road. As we walked along I kept feeling like there was something not quite right and I said Dean stop. Just stop, don't ask me just stop. I heard a crunch and whatever made the sound would have been following alongside of us. And when we walked, it walked and when we stopped it stopped, about one step behind us. I said Dean we are being hunted, its that cougar and we didn't know exactly what to do so we kept on walking and sure enough you could hear it crunch, crunch, crunch, some very large animal. And I said Dean I think this is a bear its just too noisy to be a cougar and it is after us. Well we stopped and picked up a good size rock on the side of the road and decided if it came out of the darkness toward us we would throw a rock in its direction and take off. So the two of us are stopped and staring into the darkness, laterally you could see nothing but black, and we hear a low guttural growl, it wasn't feline, it wasn't bear it wasn't human. It was just unearthly and we looked at each other and we took off running as fast as we could go. The road toward the cabin and the outhouse leveled off. To get from the cabin to the outhouse you would walk straight out and another 50 yards to the right and then there was the outhouse, it was right alongside the gully. So we forfeited the long way on the road and dropped into the gully, ran past the outhouse, ran into the cabin, slammed the door and locked it. And all of a sudden you could hear the outhouse door open and slam shut. Oh, we were terrified, we flipped on the light outside the cabin to the outhouse and couldn't see a thing, no movement no noise and it dawned on me - a cougar doesn't hide in an outhouse, a bear didn't hide in an outhouse. I had no idea what it was. I had heard of bigfoot or yeti and I knew about those but thats in Tibet and Nepal and I had no idea there was anything other than an occasional bear or a few cougars. So we are glued at the window in the cabin, staring at the outhouse. We then got tired of watching, stopped looking out the window and then you could hear the outhouse door fling itself wide open and whatever it was crashing through the undergrowth. We took our kitchen knives and went upstairs. Spent the night staring at the staircase wondering what was going to stick its head up to scare us to death.
We got up the next morning, beautiful hot day and we thought let's try and salvage this and go the other direction and see whats up that way. So we took off toward Cardiff Mine, a lead and gold mine back in the old days. It got its name from Cardiff Wales where the ore was shipped. We had spent so much time hiking on that road and we always took the bridge across the creek and went toward Cardiff Mine and this time I decided I'd never been to the left of the trail and we oughta give that a shot and see what was interesting up there. So as we stumbled along it was pretty thick undergrowth and hard to move through but we came into a clearing with very ancient old pine and there was 6 or 8 of these pines and in the middle of them was a pine bed, a circle of pine trees and it was the one place that the sun made it to the ground through the thick canopy. Pine boughs were laid by reaching up and pulling them off and laying them on the ground 12 -15 feet off the ground, about a 10 ft across circle so it was no small animal. I couldn't help but notice an immense amount of reddish, brownish hair everywhere. It was stuck to the bark of the pine trees, it was all over the pine boughs and appeared that there was back scratching where I thought only something bigger and taller than a bear could reach. What was interesting is as we both stared at this nest I got a sick feeling, I mean sick to my stomach like I've never seen anything like this and I'm really, really afraid and I'm not sure what I'm afraid of but I know I gotta get out of there. So we took off, this would have been about 2 or 3 miles from the cabin and I think it was the next day the parents came and picked us up. The ancient pine trees reminded me of the Lord of the Rings trees.
Again, not having any idea that these so called bigfoot or sasquatch or abominable snowman were real we went over to my grandmother's house and I don't know how the discussion got to that point but I asked her if she had ever seen or heard of anything like a yeti or a bigfoot. She wrung her hands and said yes, the very first winter she had in 1950, they built the cabin and it was not much of a cabin it was cinder block and two floors with a bed upstairs. It was in June when the snow melted enough you could drive up to the cabin. They got out of the car and stared at the cabin and couldn't believe what they were seeing. The door and the door jam was laying flat on the floor in the cabin. There was muddy footprints upstairs and downstairs. Other than that there was no damage. The door jam and door had to be pounded in.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Caroline Curtis:
We received the following voicemail from this witness:
June 26, 2010 at 11 a.m. "My name is ****, and I live in Anaheim California, my phone number is ****, I am a Parkinson's disease victim and I cannot hardly type out a message on a keypad. Is there any way to give a rather detailed, sighting information over the phone to someone? I would really appreciate it. It takes me a while to tell the whole story, but I think it's one of the good ones. This all took place outside of Salt Lake City in about 1964 in Big Cottonwood Canyon, my e-mail is ****. It would help me immensely if I could get this off my chest. Thank you. Bye."
I returned his call and during a few telephone conversations we were able to work together to submit his report. He talked and I typed. I did not add anything. I must say that reading his typed report does not have the same effect as listening to this gentleman tell his story. Unfortunately he has lost contact with his friend Dean. This was the only time anything strange had happened to him while at this cabin.
The cabin, if it is still there, is no longer in the family. This location is in the Wasatch National Forest, near the town of Alta and not too far from Brighton Ski Resort. I asked for input from fellow investigator, Todd Strong from Utah and he had this to add: "FYI that area is extremely rugged and wild, and even though it is close to Salt Lake City and a lot of people drive up and down the canyon, it is now off limits to hunting. It has lots and lots of big game, deer, elk and moose. Also, it is not unusual to have a sighting there, there have been several sightings published on other sites and unpublished. I think it has a lot of sightings just because of the amount of traffic up and down the canyon."
About BFRO Investigator Caroline Curtis:
- Worked as an Assistant to a Circuit Court Judge in Florida for thirteen years
- An avid outdoorswoman, growing up in the UP of Michigan on a family-owned fishing and hunting resort. Currently lives in the Hiawatha National Forest
- Certified Visual Tracker, Level 1
- Attended and assisted with numerous public and private BFRO expeditions
- She and the Florida BFRO organized South Florida Expedition 2008, North Florida Expedition 2008 and Central Florida Expedition in 2009.
- She and the Michigan BFRO organized the Lower-Michigan Expedition in 2011, Michigan UP Expeditions in 2012, 2013 and 2015. She will be co-organizing the 2016 Michigan UP Expedition in October.