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COUNTY: Jackson County
LOCATION DETAILS: Lost Lake, just north of Rabbit Ears Pass, in the Routt National Forest.
NEAREST TOWN: Steamboat Springs
NEAREST ROAD: Highway 40
OBSERVED: This sighting took place in the summer of 1996 at Lost Lake which is about five miles north of Rabbit Ears Pass by a four- wheel drive road and trail in northwest Colorado. It was late June and I was on a fishing trip to several lakes and beaver ponds in the area. I was supposed to be taking a friend along, but he had to cancel at the last minute.
I left my camp at Dumont Lake in the morning and headed up the four wheel drive road to the trailhead that leads to Fish Hook Lake and Lost Lake. It is usually possible to drive the three miles to the trailhead, but the road was closed by the Forest Service due to lingering snow drifts, so I had to hike the road. I arrived at Fishook Lake in the late morning and spent a couple of hours fishing and eating lunch. About 1:30 I left that lake and began to hike to Lost Lake which is only a few hundred yards to the northeast.
The trail I was on kind of funnels into the lake, and as the lake came into view I noticed a large, dark animal about 20 yards to my right near a boulder. My first thought was that I had suprised a bear, so I froze and waited to see what the animal would do. It was soon obvious that this animal was not a bear or any other animal I had ever seen. The animal was standing on two legs and was slightly crouched, it appeared to be staring across the lake. When it saw me, it fully crouched next to the boulder with its left hand resting on the rock.
What I saw is best described as a large, hairy bipedal animal that had features of both a man and an ape.
The animal was covered with shiny, dark hair that was approximately 3-4" long and was somewhat shorter in the face area. The animal was huge and the arms appeared very long as opposed to a person's. The head was somewhat dome-shaped and was set on massive shoulders, the neck appeared very short. The animal's eyes appeared below a slightly sloping forehead and there may have been a brow ridge. The eyes were dark and the nose was flat and wide. The face was dark and the lips appeared thin. I never saw the animal open its mouth or display teeth.
After the animal crouched, it again looked over the lake then back at me. The animal then stood up and to my relief pivoted away from me and began to walk away from me at an angle. I moved forward to get a better look and the animal must have heard me move because it began to move quicker and glanced back at me. The animal walked briskly into the trees and I heard it moving for a couple more seconds then it was out of earshot. The whole event lasted between 8 and 12 seconds.
I realized at this time that this must be the bigfoot of legend, but I had thought that they lived in the Pacific Northwest and were probably a myth, I certainly had never heard any reports of sightings in Colorado. I briefly thought about following the animal or looking for some good footprints to show the appropriate authorities, but I was alone and the animal was big, I would conservatively guess it was around 7 feet tall and weighed over 300 pounds, so I left and hiked quickly out of the area, not slowing down until I got to my truck.
After getting back to camp, I debated about what to do and finally decided the potential ridicule if I reported this to someone and the animal was not found was not worth it. I watched the media for any unusual reports of bigfoot-type animals in Colorado in the months and years after my sighting and a few reports did indeed trickle in. I got on the internet to further research the subject and eventually spoke with a BFRO researcher about my encounter and he urged me to submit a report.
ALSO NOTICED: The road to the trailhead was closed, I saw no other people on the road or trail that day probably due to the closing. This trail receives moderate use in the summer.
OTHER WITNESSES: None, I was alone.
OTHER STORIES: None. I have been back in the same general area over the years and haven't noticed anything unusual, although I certainly am more watchful!
TIME AND CONDITIONS: The incident occured at about 2:00 p.m. in late June. The weather was beautiful: warm and sunny with very little wind.
ENVIRONMENT: High mountain lake surrounded by trees and some rock formations. Lost Lake sits just east of the Continental Divide in subalpine forest of lodgepole, spruce and fir.
Follow-up investigation report:
I contacted the witness after seeing his post on a bigfoot message board inquiring about sightings in northern Colorado.
The witness, a 41-year-old man, is an emergency services professional in a large Front Range city. He said he hasn't told anyone about his sighting for fear of damaging his reputation at work. He has still not even told his family about the incident.
In the following excerpts of an interview conducted in February, he describes further details about the sasquatch.
"What I remember first was just the size of the thing. It was standing up on two legs, but I was so close it was obvious right away that it wasn't a bear. The other thing that freaked me out was the length of its arms. It had long arms that hung down way past where a human's would be.
"The amount of time I looked at it is hard to estimate, maybe 8-12 seconds, but I had ample time to look at it and eliminate things.
"I didn't see its feet initially. What I did see was knees, legs, the torso, arms and head. Then it turned, and I got to see its backside and the bottoms of feet.
"First of all, this thing's big. I was alone. I didn't know what it was going to do. So when it got out of crouch and turned to walk away, I felt relief. It would be the same thing if you saw a bear.
"I briefly thought maybe I should follow it, then I reconsidered the size and said that's stupid.
"It had glossy black or really dark brown fur, or I should say hair. The face was remarkable. This fall, I went to the zoo with my daughter and one of her friends and kind of lingered around the ape habitat. They had a gorilla there and there were a lot of similarities - a lot. I would say the face is not quite as protruding as a gorilla's. I could see the nostrils were wide. It was a pretty distinguishing feature. I'd put it more in the ape camp than the human camp. There wasn't a big bridge or a point to the nose. It was rather flat.
"There was maybe even a little bit more hair around its head . Some of things I read about bigfoot described a dome-shaped head -- that's a good adjective - where a gorilla's head comes to a sharp point. The arms of a gorilla are long, so was this thing's. My impression, and again I'm reaching back, I'd say its arms were a little thinner than a gorilla. I didn't think it had huge big hands. I would think the gorilla's hands bigger and stronger.
"The legs were long, but the butt didn't stick out like gorilla's. The posture, that's kind of the freakiest thing. It had a straight back. It was standing up, walking on two legs. You're just not prepared to see that kind of thing.
"The only noise I recall is when it stood to get up it made a huffing that came from a very large set of lungs.
"The one thing that I find completely strange is that something that size could find food and habitat without it becoming common knowledge. Because if I've seen it, someone else has to have seen it. I can go sometimes years without seeing a bear, but I see bear sign all the time. The same with elk. If there were people looking for these things, I can't understand why no one would have found one.
"But if there's one thing I can impress upon you, it's this: You're not pursuing a ghost, or a boogie man.''