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DATE: Late Oct. or early Nov.
COUNTY: Pima County
LOCATION DETAILS: North of the Fenster school, near what was the old corrals, south of Sabino canyon a good mile. West of the Sabino Creek.
NEAREST TOWN: Tucson, Arizona
NEAREST ROAD: Sabino Canyon road, south of the canyon a good mile plus.
OBSERVED: In mid November of 1975 I was attending the Fenster school in the north part of Tucson, off Sabino Canyon . I would routinely skip a class on occassion or have a class cancelled, so I would hike the surrounding area in the time frame I had. Usually from an hour to two hours. I would look for indian aritfacts and watch the local wildlife, occassionally seeing coyote, mule deer or javelina.
I can't forget, like it was burned in my mind, as I was poking around the old corral that was north of the campus at least a good half mile or more. First thing that bothered me was my hair stood on end, then a pungent smell hit me. then I heard it. I saw through the creasote brush a large grayish/brown hairy creature crouched over a gopher den, digging at it. I was perhaps 50 yards away and stood in total fear and shock what seemed like an eternaty, watching it dig with what looked like its hands, it then started to turn towards me.
Thats when I bolted and ran as fast as I could run back to the campus, across open ground (a former polo field crossed by an abandoned airfield for light aircraft). I kept looking over my shoulder as I panic ran to see if I was being persued. I wasn't. When I got to the office, I immediately reported what I saw to the school secretary, even drew a quick sketch what I saw. She said she'd report it to the authorities. I told a few others what I witnessed...most thought I was nuts, that Bigfoot lives in Canada.
I refused to return to that area for months, not venturing far from campus, and especially with someone along. I would later gain enough courage to go into Sabino canyon, especially with others. saw nor heard nothing. later in the spring of 76 I was again looking solo for artifacts, east of the campus when I found in a wash large footprint shaped depressions spaced a good 5 feet apart crossing the wash, later walking along. I looked around immediately as fear rapidly creeped again. But heard, smelled nor saw nothing. I took branches and covered up 5 of the tracks and returned to campus.
This time I told a teacher of mine, John Yavonovich, what I found. The next day took him to the site, a good 45 minutes to an hours hike. Showed him the tracks. he too felt something big and upright walked that area. We discussed it with a few others, all felt that "it was a prank clearly". Why would anyone go to the effort to make such tracks so far out and so unlikely to be found?
Its been 25 years and I still get goosebumps thinking about it.
ALSO NOTICED: The smell, very pungent and strong, I smelled this minutes before seeing creature. The creature was hunched over, but even then it was BIG! After my sighting...I don't know, maybe some students went to go look, I know several wouldn't venture that area for weeks.
OTHER WITNESSES: John Yavonovich, math teacher at Fenster for the wash track sightings. The secretary I reported the sighting too, older woman, name forgotten. Plus told what I saw to student Chris Usendek from Grosse Point Farms, Michagan.
OTHER STORIES: None I'm aware of. However Mt. lemmon at the top of Sabino Canyon has had tales of Bigfoot.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Late morning, say before 11 AM as I recall. Weather was overcast and it rained within a day, temp was around 50 degrees (light jacket).
ENVIRONMENT: High Sonoran Desert, lots of creasote, cactus for the corral sighting. The wash location was lined with mesquite and cottonwood. wash was at the time dry.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Richard Hucklebridge:
Tonight on November 7, 2000, I talked with Jim Groat, who is now a Cartoon Artiest. He went over his original report from memory, and he seemed to follow it very close. I asked Jim Groat the following questions, and he related the following:
Where did this incident occur? "South of Sabino Canyon road, and 1 mile North and East of the Boy's School that Jim attended back in 1975 and 1976."
What date did this take place? "Late 1975."
What time of year was it? "Fall of the Year."
Do you remember the month? "It was in Late October, or early November."
Was it day or night? "In the morning, between 10:30 and 11:00AM."
Describe the area in which this incident occurred. "It was desert brush with cactus and creosote bushes in a dry riverbed."
Where about in Pima County, Arizona did this happen? "North side of Tucson, about one mile North and East of a Boy's school, West of Sabino Creek."
Near what area? "Close to the Fenster School area."
What distance would you estimate you were from this thing when you saw it? "About fifty yards."
What was your first reaction? "I first smelled a very pungent body odder. The next thing, I heard was a digging and scrapping sound, and then I heard roots being snapping from the desert plants. At the first sight of it, I thought it was a bear."
What was it doing? "It was kneeling down, and it was using its right arm and hand while it was digging in a gopher hole area."
Were you alone when you first saw this? "Yes!"
Did it stand and walk on two legs? "No! When the creature shifted its weight, while it was squatting, I just turned and began running back towards the school. " I didn't stay around long enough to find out if it walked or not."
Did you see it go down on all fours? "No! I just observed it squatting or kneeling."
Was it covered in hair? "Yes! Some places were longer than others. Like its bottom hair was shorter than the hair on the arms."
What color was it? "The hair was 50% warm Gray to 50% brown. Some areas were more brownish, like the back of the head and neck."
How tall would you estimate this thing to have been? "While it was in the squatting position, it was about five to six feet tall."
What would you estimate its weight to have been? "I couldn't tell, but it was big, and it had a gut."
Did you see any facial features? "No! I just observed its right rear side. The head seemed like it was cone shaped."
Could you describe them? "I was looking at its right side, from the rear, and I noticed its ear. It looked like ours but seemed small as compared to the size of the creature."
Could you describe the arms? "They were long and powerful, and looked very muscular. Hair was about six inches long on the underside of the arm."
Could you tell if it was a male or a female? "No, but it didn't have any breasts."
About for how long did you see it? "For about 15 seconds."
Did it ever make any noise? "It was making grunting sounds when I came up on it."
Did it see you? "I don't know? Not sure, It shifted its body weight, and that’s when I turned and ran back to the school."
Did you smell anything? "Yes! A very strong body odder and dirt smell."
Did you check for footprints? "The teacher and I went back into that area in the Spring of 1976, and we observed several footprints for 50 to 60 Yards. Prints were about five feet apart, and the prints were about 14 inches long."
Did you report what you saw? (IE) Parents or any agency? "Yes, I told our school secretary that I had just seen a "Bigfoot".
What was their response? "The secretary thought I was crazy. But, I drew her a sketch of what I had seen. The teacher that I took to see the prints, said you probably seen something, but it was probably just a hoax."
In your own words describe what happened. "While I was exploring in the Sabino Canyon area. The first thing that I noticed, was a strong body odder, and a dirt smell. Then I heard it making digging and scraping sounds. Also, the animal was making a grunting sound as it was breaking roots which were making a snapping sound. I looked up and seen this gray brown animal, it was knelling down, and it was digging in a gopher hole area. My first thought was that this is a bear, but then I realized this was no bear, but a "Bigfoot". That’s when I really got scared. When its body shifted, I just turned and ran back towards the school. I then went into see the school secretary, and that’s' when I made a sketch for her, to show her what I had just seen."