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COUNTY: Summit County
LOCATION DETAILS: Campsite at Surprise Lake in the Eagle Nest Wilderness. We followed the directions out of the guide book.
NEAREST TOWN: Silverthorne
OBSERVED: My husband and I were camping in the Eagle Nest Wilderness CO early June 2013. While hiking on the trail we had encountered a larger then normal amount of snow due to the late snow storms. We were a few miles up the trail from Surprise Lake when we heard a low growl. We thought this must be a mountain lion and due to the snow and inability to travel quickly we double backed to surprise lake and set up camp for the night. While sitting at the lakeside I saw a large, brownish red animal across the lake. The animal was large and appeared to be walking upright. My rational mind said its just a deer or another large animal that lives in the wilderness and disregarded what I thought I saw. Later that evening around dusk my husband and I were sitting in the tent when we heard what sounded like a knock against a tree. We looked out the tent door and didn't see anything. Again I assumed this must have been a woodpecker, another animal, or a hiker. We continued talking and heard the knock again, it was a three knock pattern, along with something that sounded like a rock against a tree. We got out of the tent and looked around. I told my husband it sounded like a rock thrown against a tree and said let me show you what it sounds like. I picked up a hard sound rock and threw it against the tree. Immediately a similar sound came back. I assumed it was an echo and I did it again. Again a similar sound came back. My husband then asked if I saw something moving up the hillside and explained where he saw movement. A large, brownish red animal was peeking out from behind the tree. The animal was swaying back and forth from behind the tree. The animal appeared to be squatted down swaying/peeking out from behind the tree. It had a large head with a large brow line, large shoulder, and nose. The nose and upper lip appeared to be a lighter color than rest of the animal seen. We took our sport camera and tried to take pictures of the animal but it was about 40 feet up a hillside. (We have a blurry picture but it appears to have a large animal head in the picture.) As we watched the animal sway back and forth we heard a large knock behind us to the left, towards the lake, then heard a knock up towards the animal we saw then back behind us. The feeling was very odd and made us feel very uncomfortable. My husband wanted to hike out but due to the late evening I suggested we stay and hike out first thing in the morning. We carry a large knife, bear spray, and a gun with us so I felt somewhat safe. It was a very restless night and first daylight we packed our bags and left. After hiking out and getting in the car to drive off we discussed what we witnessed and both could not explain what we saw. This has taught me not to throw rocks against trees!
I would be willing to send the pictures we took. Two are extremely blurry due to my hand shaking, my husband took two other pictures, one you can see the head if you zoom up and the other it appears it moved.
ALSO NOTICED: During the night my husband reported hearing rocks knocked together. The area had a large amount of deer prints to the left of our campsite near the lake.
OTHER WITNESSES: 2- We were in the tent talking about plans for our trip since there was more snow on the trail then we had planned for.
OTHER STORIES: Not sure. We do not live in the area. We live in Kentucky.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Between 7 and 9. It was dusk.
ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest near lake. The animal appeared to be on the hillside up from the camp area.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Scott Miles:
I spoke at length with the witness and her husband via telephone. The witnesses are both professionals involved in the health-care industry, and seemed to be very detailed, specific and credible.
The witnesses were embarking on a backpacking trip to Mirror Lake in the Eagle's Nest Wilderness area, which is approximately 14 miles from the Surprise Trailhead. The trail to the objective passes several mountain lakes, and the described incidents took place just past or at Surprise Lake, which is about 4 miles from the Surprise Trailhead.
The witnesses described hearing a threatening growl from the tree-line just past Surprise Lake. Combined with an unexpectedly large depth of snow on the trail, the sound caused them to decide to go back to Surprise Lake to make camp for the night. They heard wood-knocking from the lake area as they approached to make camp.
After arriving at the north end of the lake, where there was a flat area to make camp, they heard several instances of wood knocking or "rock-clacking" first from the NW, then from several directions. The sounds became un-nerving, but they did attempt to create similar noises by throwing rocks together, which yielded responses from the woods around them.
The primary witness also sighted a large, apparently upright, hair-covered animal moving through the timber on the opposite side of the lake (appr .25 miles distant).
Shortly after that, the knocking sounds NW of their camp caused them to briefly look uphill from the campsite area, and see another hair covered animal swaying back and forth, seemingly playing "peek a boo" from behind a large tree and embankment about 75 feet away to the NW of their campsite. They were able to make out the creature's face, and upper body, describing reddish/auburn hair, large shoulders and pronounced brow-line and nose.
She shared the blurry photo they were able to capture with a sport camera. You can see what appears to be the brown "face" in the center left between tree branches, just off of the white snow pile. You can see what she is describing, but unfortunately due to the quality we can not state whether they did or did not capture the image of a Bigfoot. Our readers should have the option to view what the witness attempted to capture. So often times witnesses are criticized and questioned as to why they did not at least try to take a photo. Here is the photo:
They decided to spend the night in the area in spite of the disturbing events due to the approach of nightfall. During the night, the husband continued to hear wood knocking sounds around the camp, but the wife took allergy medicine that caused her to sleep soundly. After rising early the next morning and immediately breaking camp, no other incidents occurred. The couple left the area and went back to their car forthwith.
They related that there were no other cars at the trailhead when arriving and leaving, and they had only run into a pair of young girls hiking through, near Surprise Lake earlier that day. There was no other sign of people in the area. They also mentioned that they had food stored in an area nearby but separate from their campsite during the night, but it was not disturbed.
I was impressed with the detail they were able to recall, along with the cohesion between their individual accounts. I believe that they were involved in an encounter with more than one Sasquatch, and that the area they were in may be have been in some way perceived to be a territory to be defended by the creatures they encountered.
I was planning to make a backpacking trip to this area during the 2014 summer to survey and attempt to collect further evidence but unfortunately I have not been able to due to all the rain the area has received since May.
About BFRO Investigator Scott Miles:
Scott is an IT professional specializing in database architecture and administration, with a military law enforcement background. He has been involved in Bigfoot research since having a Class A sighting in the early 1980's, with many thousands of hours of wilderness research.
Having grown up in upstate New York, and spending many years living in the deep South and Colorado Rockies, Scott is a skilled outdoorsman and backpacker, and specializes in tracking and survival skills.
Scott also enjoys sky-diving, white water rafting and rock climbing.