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COUNTY: Tillamook County
LOCATION DETAILS: In the U.S. off of Highway 6 between Portland and Tillamook south of Lee's camp down Ben Smith Road on the Wilson River.
NEAREST TOWN: Tillamook
OBSERVED: My name is Kurt, me and my fiance Shawn were camping up off of Ben Smith Road August 1-2,1998. Sunday the 2nd, we packed up camp by noon and headed down to the Wilson River to cool off a bit. It was very hot. We drove down off of Ben Smith road going east on the flats road that follows the river. We crossed the river to lay in the sun. We were there for 10-15 minutes, when I saw someone or something down river about 45-50 yards swaying back & forth with its head down the whole time, while also moving up & down river with no problem at all. I didn't think much of it at first, but when Shawn my got up and moved to the middle of the river it spotted us--froze and then glared at us. Then I moved to the
middle and didn't take my eyes off of it. It moved to the right of the river in some bushes somewhat hiding it seemed like. Then I knew something wasn't right, it had big hair & long arms. It didn't act human-like at all. I couldn't make out a face just eye sockets. I wondered what it was wearing winter clothes for when it was 90 degrees outside. They were not clothes. It had reddish-blonde like hair and was about 6ft tall. I have hunted and fished up at Lee's camp for years and have never seen anything like it before. After we got home that night we talked about it more, leaving us with a strange feeling. We know what it was now--a female BIGFOOT!!!!
ALSO NOTICED: We only noticed prior to going into the river 3 bike riders and 1 jeep coming down off of the mountain heading west. We never saw any other people or cars in the area prior to this. As far as we knew we were the only ones there. All of these people waved and acknowledge us as humans usually do to strangers. What we saw didn't acknowledge us with any gestures or hellos, but except froze with fear just as we did at the strangeness of each other. It never went back across the river from where it came from, because when we drove out, we passed right by the opening down the mountain from the game trail into the river that the elk use. We believe it was hiding somewhere in the bushes or trees until we left the area. There were never any weird sounds or smells noticed. I (Shawn) was keen to the sounds of the woods as I was a little spooked having never camped in these woods before, especially with no other campers around the whole weekend.
OTHER WITNESSES: Relaxing and enjoying the sun and cooling off in the river right along its bank.
ENVIRONMENT: Wilson River along the edge of a thick dense forest right down from a well used game trail called the Elk Highway. On the other side of the river was a trailer that is not used and the highway to Tillamook.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Dr. Wolf H. Fahrenbach:
I have now visited the site and interviewed and reinterviewed the participants. At the risk of repetition of the original report, I will flesh it out here from their respective reports.
The main highway #6 from Portland to Tillamook follows the Wilson River for some distance. A side road loops back on its other side and has a number of turnouts, evidently sparsely used by fishermen and hunters. The couple, Kurt V. and Shawn J., he 40, she presumably younger, first had lunch next to the river on the car side and then crossed over in bathing suits. On the other side they found a spot in the sun on a sand bank, the river in front of them making some noise between the projecting rocks (not a lot of flow). The main highway was now behind them on their side by perhaps 300-400 feet and slightly higher, not visible through the forest but clearly audible.
Downstream from them was a minor barrier of trees (alders) lying across the river and behind these the river expanded to a wide, flat, pondlike area, about 300 feet long, with overhanging trees on both sides, before it resumed its rocky faster course. At the lower end of this flat area is a house set well back from the river, from which, during my visit, two small and trusting girls with a dog came to the river to feed ducks and go to a beaver house.
As they lay there, Kurt and Shawn noticed a "person" who came out of the edge of the dense forest (second growth alder and Douglas fir, with old growth stumps with springboard notches) and waded into this still area. Very soon they revised their opinion that the "person" must be weird, since he wore a fur coat in the 90 degree heat. Kurt by this time suspected it to be a sasquatch, but didn't mention it to Shawn to avoid upsetting her. They watched the "weird person" walking up and down in the middle of the still river area, at a distance of between 150 feet minimum and 300 feet maximum from them, always looking into the water but not catching anything. The creature was only to its calves in the water and had peculiarly long arms, a very short neck, no crest that was noted, about 6-6.5 feet tall, walking very surefootedly on the slippery large river cobbles, crossing which the couple "almost killed themselves".
After about 30 minutes of this observation, Shawn decided to go into the water. At this moment the sasquatch detected them for the first time despite the fact that they had brightly colored swim suits on and had talked in conversational tones the entire time (so much for the sasquatch's superhuman sensory acuity). The sasquatch "froze" in the water and stood upright, just behind the barrier to face them and look at them. Shawn stood for a while, then sat down, and Kurt also went to the water's edge and sat down on a rock. They now gazed at each other with minimal apprehension on the human side for about 15 minutes. They noticed that its thick hair was "really wild", though showing some gloss, of dark brown color with red glints (the head evidently a bit lighter). They said if it had been human at that distance they could have recognized the person's face, but the sasquatch face was so dark that all they were impressed by was the deeply recessed eye area, meaning presumably brow ridges.
Eventually the sasquatch sidled over to their side of the river and climbed behind a bush, where it evidently thought itself concealed, but it bent over sideways to keep looking at the couple, who could see its head and upper body. By this time they were both reasonably convinced of its non-human nature and got somewhat more apprehensive, returned across the river to their car and left. Shawn declined to stop the few hundred feet downstream to look at the site from a different angle. They concluded on their own, without hardly any prior knowledge, that they had been dealing with a juvenile, no sexual characteristics visible, and the head seemingly rather rounded. They estimate that their total encounter lasted close to an hour, which at such relatively close quarters must be a near record. But I think the sasquatch was juvenile and inexperienced and wanted to get an eyeful of those near naked dwarves.
The area is overrun by elk prints and very steep elk game trails. The adjacent mountainside is steep enough to require some use of hands on a game trail in addition to having an understory of waist to chest-high ferns, brambles and salal. Trying to go up these slopes is hard and highly unpromising. The sasquatch evidently descended these slopes. While at their camp earlier in the morning, they had heard 5 hoots, almost like an owl, though Kurt commented at the time that it was a weird time for an owl to hoot. Both they and I looked for footprints, but the area is not conducive to capturing any and it had been bone dry for weeks. The area is not far from other sighting and footprint records.
We went back to the site with Kurt and a crew from Focus TV (Munich, Germany) in conjunction with a more general interview. Subsequently we drove up higher to a loading deck the had a good overview of the Coast Range. The German interviewer was visibly impressed by the fact that adjacent deep, V-shaped canyons had no signs of roads, Autobahnen, cows, inns, restaurants, barns or any sign of human activity but were seemingly inaccessible due to their extremely steep sides and dense vegetation.
Dr. W.H. Fahrenbach