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DATE: Saturday the 3rd
COUNTY: Skamania County
NEAREST TOWN: Carson, Washington
NEAREST ROAD: USFS 3220
OBSERVED: My son (31) and myself were returning from a fishing expedition in the Gifford Pinchot Ntl Forest, SW Washington. All of a sudden, less than 100 yards away, we noticed an entirely black upright creature. Even though we're driving a noisy Cummins Diesel , when we came around the corner, going about 15 mph, we managed to startle it. It immediately walked fast - didn't run - from the right to the left, up a hill and was gone. Now this whole event didn't take more than 3-4 seconds. We immediately went to the area, and investigated. We found one print that was about 12-13 inches long on the side of the road. This print was made in the somewhat soft silt/gravel that is so common on forest service roads. It only was about 1/4-1/3 deep at best. Today we're going to try and make a copy of the print.
A couple of things about the animal.
1. It was totally black, like a black bear. It had no facial features that we could detect at all. It didn't appear to have a nose, eyes, mouth or anything, that we could see from the 100 yards we were away.
2. The animal was in bright sunlight as it crossed the road - there was no mistaking it for a bear - and bears don't have 6 ft strides.
3. The animal appeared to be about 8-8.5 feet tall and slender build. It wasn't the massive muscular specimen I have thought they may be if they exist at all. I would estimate the weight in excess of 400 lbs.
4. The animal's arms moved in a pedulum manner, like an ape - not like a human. It moved very fast - BUT NOT a RUN!
ALSO NOTICED: We stopped and located a track, that we'll try and get a sample for records. Not too sure that we'll be successful as the material is very shallow that the track was made in. Sunday AM we're going back to see if we can detect any other tracks, hair samples, etc.
OTHER WITNESSES: One, my son (31 years old). Reading the map.
OTHER STORIES: No
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 5:30 PM exactly. Full sun, crossing a road. Sunny, maybe 70 degrees.
ENVIRONMENT: Animal crossed a road. Second growth alder and fir. Relatively open where it crossed. Several gametrails at this exact location.
Follow-up investigation report:
I interviewed both J.T. (father) and A.T. (son) at length on Sunday, August 4, 2002. Both men are highly credible, experienced outdoorsmen. J.T. also has a background in wildlife biology. The witnesses managed to obtain video of the three tracks they found, and casted the best one.
There was plenty of sunlight at the time of the sighting, but the sun had already begun to dip in the west. As they were driving towards the animal, the sun was shining from behind it, making it hard to determine details such as facial features.
A.T. mentioned that he believes the animal crossed the road in 3 or 4 strides. Both he and his father tried to replicate this by stretching their steps as far as they could, but found that it took 7 strides for either of them to cross the road. Furthermore, the animal proceeded up a very steep hill adjacent to the road. They lost sight of it behind the vegetation after it took just a couple of steps up the hill, and by the time they drove the distance to the spot where it left the road, it had already disappeared from view.
A.T. found this to be very impressive, as it had only taken them a few seconds to cover the remaining distance, and there was a clear view up the hillside for close to 50 yards, but the animal was nowhere to be seen. When they returned the next morning to cast the prints, A.T. and a couple of others tried to climb up the hill that the animal had climbed, and found it to be extremely steep and difficult. A.T. believes that it would not be possible for a person to have scaled that hill in the few seconds before they arrived on the spot.
ON SITE FOLLOW-UP
Fellow BFRO Investigator Alan Terry and I met with the witnesses, plus 3 friends of theirs, at 9 AM on Saturday, August 10, 2002. J.T. and A.T. recounted the incident, showing us where they were in relation to the animal when they saw it. We had one of there friends, who was 6' tall and 180 lbs, stand at the spot where the animal was when they first spotted it, and J.T. and A.T. stood where they were on the road when they rounded the corner. First, the distance, which was estimated at 100 yards, was closer to 75 yards. Second, they both independently realized that the animal they saw was much taller, and more robust, than they had initially thought. Both estimated it to be at least 2' taller than the 6' tall man who was standing in its place. NOTE: The original report has been modified to show the new height and weight. This does not reflect on the credibility of the witnesses. It is simply a matter of not having a point of reference for determining height and girth at the time of the sighting, which is perfectly understandable, given the distance and short span of the sighting.
Terry and myself, accompanied by the witnesses and company, began to follow the path up the hill that the animal was believed to have taken. We found several more compelling impressions, though none were good enough to cast.