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COUNTY: Skagit County
LOCATION DETAILS: Riparian habitat
NEAREST TOWN: Darrington Washington
NEAREST ROAD: FS 26
OBSERVED: I was camping on property I own on the Suiattle River in Washington state the weekend of August 28th 2010. When I arrived at my camp site and set up both my dogs began acting very agitated,the younger of the two never did settle down until we all went into our 5th wheel for the night.
The next day walking down by the river I found foot prints in the mud, the foot prints appeared to come out of the river go about 50 yards and circle back to the river.
I took pictures of these tracks and the next day I went to Darrington and bought some plaster and made cast. The size of the footprints are about 13 inches long and 4 inches wide we call them "smallfoot".
ALSO NOTICED: see notes from whole story
OTHER WITNESSES: my wife
OTHER STORIES: Yes,once in the summer of 2008 I heard something crashing around in the woods near my camp in the dark, I fired my gun into the air and the noise stopped but i did not hear anything leaving the area. Also a friend of mine was camping at Tenas creek in 2007 and had the crap scared out of him by something crashing around in the woods during the night.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Daytime
ENVIRONMENT: river sand, mud
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator David W Ellis:
I met with the witness and his wife several times and got to see the impressions he cast. The castings were well done considering he had no practical experience using plaster of paris. Although the impressions and castings look very human like they do correlate well to some impressions I personally cast investigating a report close to Darrington back in 2006. In both cases the situational context is very compelling.
I need to clarify the statement about the trackway. The witness states that the footprints came out of the water and circled back to the river. The foot prints did not circle back to the origin. The foot prints came out of the water in one location and re-entered the water downstream in a different location.
The witness and his wife were the only people at their camp along the river. They would know if a neighbor or any other person would have come onto their property. They also had their dogs who were edgy but not acting like there were people about. The trackway was discovered the following morning. The witness believes that the tracks were made sometime during the night. We discussed the possibility of a lone kayaker. There were no impressions or drag marks that would have been made pulling the boat ashore. Also a kayaker would have doubled back on their own impressions to retrieve their boat. The tracks were one way, out of the river and then back at a different location.
I have two other stories the witness and his wife related.
One involves a neighbor that was camping by himself and his dog. Sometime during the night while at his campfire he heard some terrible crashing sounds. They were close. He could hear something bipedal circling his position. He called out for the intruder to identify themselves declaring he was armed. No reply. The crashing intensified to the point he retreated to his pickup with a covered canopy. He climbed in back with his dog. He spent the remainder of the night in the back of his truck terrified as the harassment continued.
The other story has to be modified some as not to reveal the property location. The witness and his wife went for a hike near their property by the river. They came upon a deer carcass that had been quartered and only the hind legs had been removed. All of a sudden they got the feeling of being watched to the point they decided to return to the campsite. On their way back they noticed a neatly displayed line of fish on the river bank. These fish were not there when they originally past this spot. The fish were not damaged in any way, just neatly laying along the shore of the river as if they had been placed there. This spooked them even more. They still felt as if they were being watched. Hurriedly they left and returned to their campsite.
I am including several pictures that show the river, several of the impressions and a comparison photo of my Darrington cast with the cast made by the witness. Yes they do look human. I was speaking with another investigator that said they had collected some odd narrow impressions from this same area. He postulated that the subject leaving the footprints was partially walking on the edge of its foot and then rolling on to the ball. This indeed would leave an odd looking impression. If you look at the scaled photograph the heel of the foot is very narrow and odd looking. In my opinion both impressions seem to be too narrow even for a human. They do suggest some interesting walking patterns.
Location where the trackway was discovered
One of the foot prints found and cast.
Left impression Darrington, Right impression from witness
When looking at the context of the case it seems hard to explain that a neighbor, a barefoot hiker or a wayward kayaker is responsible for the footprints. The witness claims they would know if anybody was trespassing. So I will leave it for you to decide. Personally I find it very compelling.
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