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COUNTY: Baker County
LOCATION DETAILS: Elevation 7821'
NEAREST TOWN: Sumpter, Oregon
NEAREST ROAD: Cracker Creek Road
OBSERVED: I was among a group that spent the summer and fall on the side of mountain several thousand feet up opening old gold mines closed down due to WWII.
Phone reception was poor, and I was asked by Steve to run him up to the top switchback to make a phone call. It was sunset, I ran him up the fairly short distance to the highest switchback and turned off the ATV, walking a hundred yards or so to give him privacy.
It started getting dark (it gets dark and cold that high up real fast) and I began meandering back to hopefully hurry him up.
As I approached a cluster of trees right up against the switchback on the uphill side, there was the deepest growl I've ever heard - in a warning manner. At first I thought it was a cat, but it was much deeper in resonance.
Thinking this would be a short trip, I left my rifle and shotgun at camp, and only had my 1911 sidearm on me, and I wasted no time in shucking it.
I was fearful for Steve, as this thing was between me and Steve who was unaware of any threat, so I slid-walked toward Steve, both arms extended at ready-fire. I peered as closely as I could, but could see nothing due to the tree cluster and twilight.
As I finally slid-walked past the cluster and was now between the previously unaware Steve, I chanced a quick look over my right shoulder to see if Steve had noted anything yet. He had, and had also shucked his pistol, with the phone in the other hand, clearly getting off.
As my head was turning back toward the low growling in the tree cluster, halfway, I was stunned to see an absolutely massive, huge, very tall creature hurrying toward the tree cluster.
It actually had to slide past me to get to the cluster, so it wasn't threatening me. It reached the cluster and I heard no further noise, steadily backing up.
Had there been a cat in those trees, there surely would have been quite a ruckus, but things went silent. I recall very clearly being not stunned by its size, but how fast it was and how quickly it covered ground. I remember thinking, 'this thing could run down a deer.'
From Steve's angle, he couldn't see it, but the thing had to run across some thirty yards of knee high (to me) growth, so I got a good look at this thing.
I reached the ATV and said, "we're leaving."
In retrospect, after replaying this a hundred times again and again, I feel that there was either a female or juvenile in the trees, and was surprised when I approached, and growled to warn me off.
This is entirely speculative, but I feel confident that the huge adult was hustling over to the tree cluster to tell the other one to 'knock it off.'
The .45ACP is a very effective anti-personnel round up close. However, when I saw the sheer mass, if this thing wanted me dead, as big and as fast as he was, he'd have had me.
Steve found another location to make phone calls after that which was much closer to the camp. Two weeks later, he came fogging it back to camp running - as he heard loud thumping steps and turned to see one running away - up the mountain.
We stayed another few weeks, but I didn't get a lot of sleep.
ALSO NOTICED: This thing's thighs were as thick as my waist - and my waist is 32"
OTHER WITNESSES: One other witness, on phone.
OTHER STORIES: In report.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Twilight, dry, clear, cool.
ENVIRONMENT: Side of a mountain near top.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Geoff Robinson:
I spoke with the witness by telephone for approximately 45 minutes. He was speaking from his home in the Southeast. He is a mature, lucid, and articulate man. His demeanor was calm, yet obviously disturbed by his encounter. He explained that this was the first time he had ever seen anything like this and that he was still in disbelief. While the incident had occurred at least a year prior, the witness described the vivid imagery that still plagued his memory.
Having served as a career Special Forces soldier in the Viet Nam conflict with extensive decorations, the witness related that he was an avid tracker, hunter, and all-around outdoorsman. He said his military occupation was “manhunter,” but he had never seen such a creature.
While the vocalizations at first gave him the impression he was dealing with a large cat, he described that once he saw the subject, it was at least 2.5 meters tall, having shoulders “twice as wide as any man,” and dark, muddy brown, almost black, longer hair with a “cream-colored” face.
His military technical jargon and vernacular were present during our conversation. In retelling the encounter, he detailed how the creature at first “growled” which appeared to be from a distance in the tree cluster, but the vibratory sensation and sonic impact felt as if the animal were standing next to him.
In the ensuing moments, he saw the creature come between him and his friend and he said panic began to set in, mainly because he felt his sidearm would have been useless had the creature decided to attack himself or his friend. The witness repeatedly emphasized the girth of the animal’s legs, and the rapidity of movement, as apparently the creature was also in some sort of panic mode.
The witness mentioned that the lodging he had taken during his stay in the area was staffed by a couple who were very familiar with the presence of large upright bipedal animals in the location of his encounter.
I subsequently visited and interviewed the couple. They explained that the witness stayed in their inn along with Steve, as well as several other miners for the duration of their mineral exploration. The couple told me of two other encounters as recently as July 2012 by miners who stayed in their inn. Then they took me to the location of the witnesses encounter, high in the surrounding hills.
While we accessed the location of the encounter via ATV late in the afternoon, one of the innkeepers spotted a "dark figure" on the ridge across from the switchback, in a clearing on a rocky outcrop. We attempted to spot the figure again via binoculars and 9x scope without success.
This location is steep, not accessible unless by the most robust of vehicles, and known for mysterious vocalizations and sightings.
All details from the innkeepers correlated with the witnesses description of the events. Since the town has an extensive mining history, there is also associated lore describing "monsters" in the hills.
About BFRO Investigator Geoff Robinson:
Geoff Robinson is a software engineer and manufacturer's representative. As a teenager Geoff spent many nights in remote Georgia forests raccoon hunting. Mystified by seemingly inexplicable events during that time, Geoff has pursued explanations in the Pacific Northwest via study of an elusive bipedal primate that leaves tracks attributable to the taxon Anthropoidipes ameriborealis
Since those early experiences, Geoff has had encounters at his home in Granite Falls, WA, at the 2008 and 2009 WA Cascades expeditions, the 2009 Olympics expedition, as well as a number of smaller outings in WA and OR. He currently resides in Portland, OR with his wife and two sons.