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COUNTY: Siskiyou County
LOCATION DETAILS: California, Shasta County, Castle Lake
OBSERVED: Sleeping under the moonlight without a tent, my wife and I awoke together -- completely awake -- during the night. I still don't know the reason why we woke up, but we did. We heard a "crunching" of the pine needles that sounded like footsteps.
We sat up. We saw clearly by the light of the moon not more than 15-20 feet away between our campsite and the road something that was between 7 and 9 feet tall weighing between 450 and 600 pounds but closer to 500 pounds. It was heading down towards the lake in a direction from the manzanita area. It covered about ten feet in a stride and was swinging its arms in a human-like way.
As it walked it seemed to glide over the ground, moving very elegantly. It appeared to have thick dark fur and to acknowledge us by turning its head toward us but didn't slow. Its head seemed to be pointed at the top, but it was too dark to make out any facial features. As we watched it walk away, I don't know if it was shock or some kind of unseen power causing us to just sit and watch. I turned to my wife and said, "Did you see that?" She said matter-of-factly, "Yes." We laid down and went back to sleep. I don't know why we weren't afraid or curious enough to get up and follow its movement. If it were a bear or coyote, I'm sure we would have. But it was more like seeing a deer or elk in terms of our reaction. The next morning, I went over to where we had seen it and tried to follow the path it seemed to take from the manzanita down to the lake. I was unable to find any evidence, no footprints in the mud by the lake, no disturbed pine needles with moisture or dirt showing and no broken branches or hair in the manzanita.
The area though at the edge of a forest reaching to the coast was also a frequently-visited tourist spot and not the sort of place I would ever expect to see such a thing.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: July 4th or 5th, 1993, during the night near the time of a full moon.
ENVIRONMENT: My soon-to-be wife and I were camping. The camp was located on the north side about 75 feet from the lake and about a hundred yards from the road. Behind us was a large hill with dense growth of manzanita backing up to mountainous terrain. Our camp was located in a hundred-foot wide strip of pine trees that reached down to the edge of the lake. Adjoining the trees and on the opposite side, the lake met the cliff. On the other side of the strand of trees was the access road. The small lake stretches about 200 yards from the access road and parking area to the bottom of the cliff.