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STATE: New Mexico
COUNTY: Taos County
LOCATION DETAILS: We were on the trail to Middle Fork Lake. Approximately 36.5990º N, 105.4113º W.
NEAREST TOWN: Red River
NEAREST ROAD: Highway 38
OBSERVED: My summer ecology class was hiking to Middle Fork Lake. As with most classes, some students walked faster than others. I was with the stragglers, a few of whom were suffering from the cold and thin air. The trail had only been opened, as I recall, the previous day, and ours was the first group of the season to make the ascent. Lots of snow remained in shaded areas and in many places on the trail, and it was obvious no one had walked ahead of us, although a couple of older men on four wheelers passed us at one point. We were getting fairly close, within a half mile or so, to the lake; the slope was very steep. I remember our little group went past a switchback and we were uphill from a stream.
Somewhere in this stretch, crossing the trail at a right angle, was a series of very large, apparently bipedal, tracks. In shape and contour, the tracks appeared human. No details, such as toe impressions, remained or could be readily detected, but every indication was that the tracks had been made by bare feet, not boots. The students immediately starting exclaiming, “Bigfoot, bigfoot!” Doing my best to downplay the tracks, I told the students that they were probably those of a hiker and that they had become enlarged as a result of melting and refreezing.
Privately, I didn’t believe that story for a second. As far as I was concerned, the impressions were the record of something extremely unusual. The tracks were huge, at least sixteen inches or more in length and quite wide. The depth of the tracks in the snow and soil was far beyond what I could duplicate; it was obvious, even to the students, that whatever or whoever made the tracks had immense weight (I told them the “hiker” was probably carrying a very heavy pack). The distance between the tracks was on the order of four feet or more, an interval that was all the more impressive considering the extreme steepness of the mountain in that area. It did not seem possible to me for any human to duplicate such a feat (so to speak) as was performed by the mysterious maker of those tracks, especially considering the conditions of snow and slope.
In addition, the tracks were not headed to Middle Fork Lake. Of course, that doesn’t prove anything, but I found it strange that anyone would hike up the mountain, avoiding the trail, and heading to something besides the lake. As best as I could determine, the tracks appeared to be going in the direction of Bull-of-the-Woods Mountain.
OTHER WITNESSES: Two or three students.
OTHER STORIES: When we reached the lake, the men who had passed us earlier in the day were fishing. They were catching brook trout with almost every cast. I struck up a conversation with them and learned they were hunting guides. After a while, I casually (I thought) asked if they had ever heard of anything unusual in the area. Literally before the question was completed, they started talking to each other in Spanish and then said, “Bigfoot?” They told me that an acquaintance of theirs, a fellow guide who they described as very experienced, had a sighting. However, they both said they would have to see one first themselves before they could really believe his story.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Late morning.
ENVIRONMENT: Mountainous, mixed conifers. Elevation about 10450 feet. The day was extremely cold and windy.
Follow-up investigation report:
The witness has in depth experience as both a wildlife biologist and a college professor. His thorough and objective analysis stands as an excellent example of how such evidence should be considered.