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COUNTY: Tuolumne County
LOCATION DETAILS: lat. 38 14' 34"
long. 119 36' 49"
intersection of Kennedy canyon trail and what I call "Leavitt lake trail". Elev. approx. 3000 mtrs. This trail intersection is several uphill miles above Leavitt lake, which is not really a trailhead but rather the furthest point you can drive south of hwy 108. The location is easily found using the MAPTECH website.
NEAREST TOWN: Strawberry
NEAREST ROAD: Hwy. 108
OBSERVED: My girlfriend and I were finishing a week long backpack trip south of Sonora pass and we spent our last night on a ridge line seperating two deep canyons. To the east was Kennedy canyon which we had hiked up that day, to the west was another canyon of which I don't know the given name, only that it was very deep and rugged.
I was a bit concerned about our campsite due to the lack of decent trees to hang our food in (this was before bear cannisters, and packers still hung their food in trees to keep it away from bears), they were all very small due to our elevation. I awoke about 1 a.m. to the sound of rockfall off one of the peaks above us and I sat awake because I thought it was possibly the sound of a bear coming up the nearby creekbed.
Quite suddenly the sound of what I assumed was a large gust of wind came barrelling up the western canyon. This immedietly struck me as odd as the night was very still. The sound started as a low moan, growing in strength and intensity and eventually raised in pitch until it resembled a scream bouncing off the mountain walls. This episode lasted approx. a minute. As best as I can put the sound into print it went something like this: WHOOOOOOOORROOOOUUUUUIIIIIIEEEEEEEE.
I have spent a good part of my life knocking about the wilderness and many years as an alpine mountaineer. Now I have sat through many a lonley night on a mountain ledge waiting for first light with nothing to do but listen to the wind howl around the peaks and I've heard it do some pretty strange stuff, but when I heard this noise I was dumbfounded. Now I was wide awake and all was still again. No wind whatsoever. After several minutes the sound began again, building up the canyon until it reached the same screaming crescendo. I thought "whoa, that was bizarre".
Satisfied that our food stash wasn't being raided by a bear I tried to go back to sleep when a very similar moan/howl/scream came up from Kennedy canyon to the east. The sound was similar in tone and building pitch but seemed fainter, possibly originating from a more distant point. This is when my girlfriend awoke and I asked her what she thought of the sound, but she wasn't much of a wilderness person and I didn't want to scare her so I didn't push it.
OTHER WITNESSES: yes. My girlfriend was asleep but awoke toward the end of the incident and heard the third sound.
OTHER STORIES: I hadn't heard of any sightings in the area prior to this trip, but on the drive home we stopped at Strawberry and there is a wooden sasquatch statue in front of the general store. At this point I still hadn't attributed the experience to sasquatch activity but next to the statue was a bullitin board which read "last sighting: july 17,female, base of leavitt falls 8 a.m." That's when I started putting two and two together. Also several incidents in your database in the general area.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: approx. 1 a.m., conditions were clear and still, obviously it was dark but there was some moonlight.
ENVIRONMENT: Alpine enviornment; with the elev. just over 9000' very near treeline, so vegetation was sparse, mostly scrubby alpine pines. We were camped on a ridgeline seperating Kennedy canyon to the east and a sharp,deep canyon to the west which drains to kennedy lake and eventually leavitt falls.
Follow-up investigation report:
I talked with the witness by phone. The following details can be added to the report:
--This was their first and only visit to the area.
--Witness didn't think the "howl" was an animal at first, just the wind or other strange "natural" event.
--The howl sounded male, and originated down in the canyon, about one mile away. Sound was carried up the canyon to their camping spot.
--The howl lasted for a minute.
--Return call was further away. Witness felt that there were two animals located in each drainage.
--Witness didn't think "Sasquatch" until he saw the sign at the Strawberry Store mentioning a sighting near where they had camped. He did some research and concluded that it was likely a Sasquatch he had heard based on that research.