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DATE: Sept 17 2002
COUNTY: Pitkin County
LOCATION DETAILS: The sighting location was about 7 miles east of Aspen at the top of the Hunter Creek drainage of the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness Area.
NEAREST TOWN: Aspen
NEAREST ROAD: Jeep road to Hunter Creek (bald knob)
OBSERVED: I'm not sure even how to tell the events as they unfolded. All I know is that a large something followed me from a place I was sitting half way back to camp. At first I thought it was a back bear until I came to a large open field on top of the mountain. I had walked out of the heavy timber on a trail to an open field (the moon was very bright almost like daylight in the field , it was very easy to see my surroundings). I walked to the middle of the field, sat and waited, and nothing happened. So I continued on, reaching the heavy timber on the other side of the field on the trail. I turned and looked back and noticed a large black bump sitting where I waited just moments ago. Then it stood up and walked right at me. Then I said “Hey you” in a loud voice. Then it turned and it walked or ran very fast directly to the north into the timber. No noise, but it looked to be like a bear due to the heavy coat. But when do bears walk like humans? And it had a large swinging motion on the torso area. Very weird. So I'm afraid really to tell this story because I do not want my friends or family to know about this. It's such a weird thing to tell people.
ALSO NOTICED: I was followed for approximately 400 yards.
OTHER WITNESSES: I was hunting with my brother and another friend. However I did not tell them what I had wittnessed due to the fact they might think I'm crazy!
OTHER STORIES: Not sure.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 9 p.m. The weather conditions were warm, maybe mid-50s to 60 degrees.
ENVIRONMENT: On the northeast side of a bald knob near a spring and a few elk wallows. Directly off the field known as bald knob, maybe 200 yards down the hill.
A & G References: Colorado Atlas and Gazeteer, map 47, C-4
Follow-up investigation report:
The witness, 44, was born in the area and hunts there "religiously." The incident occurred during the second day of Colorado's muzzleloading season inside a wilderness area in the White River National Forest.
"Basically what happened was, I was in on top of Hunter Creek. There's a big bald knob up there, a big giant field. I had gone down the north side, well more the northeast side of the mountain. There's a small little park about halfway down before you get closer to bottom of the hill. I was sitting out there. Nothing eventful happened. I waited until it got dark. I stood up and started walking back to the pines to go back to the big park."
"It was very, very quiet. The ground was saturated, but I could hear something behind me about 30 - 40 yards. I would hear a snap, crack, hear walking, then it would stop. I thought it was probably a bear behind me."
"I had to go through a little marsh with like wallows all through there. It was dark and I could only see them from the reflection on the water. But they were hard to see. I almost fell in one coming back. I went around it then went uphill through deadfall to get towards top."
"When I got there, I waited for a minute and I heard this splash into the water and then some rustling around down there. I thought, It has got to be bear or something following me."
"I walked up into field and sat there for probably 15 minutes thinking something was going to come out. I went pretty much to the top of bald spot, right out in the open so I could see something coming out. It was dark but the moon was out, so it was almost light."
"I didn’t see anything so turned around started walking down trail on other side, the south side. Our camp was at the bottom of a little trail about 400 yards from the top of the bald. So I’m walking down, and I get into the pines, where pines and field meet on other side, and I turned around and looked to see this bump sitting out where I had been sitting."
"I’m looking at it for a couple of minutes and all of a sudden it stood up and started walking right at me. It was pitch black in the trees and it probably couldn’t see me. I thought it would have walked right over me so I kind of freaked and I said something like “Hey you." Right when I said that it froze and went right off to the northwest into the trees. It sounded like a football player was running through those trees."
"It was definitely not a bear. When it stood up, I could see a swaying motion. You would swear it was a person but it was big, say 7 to 8 feet tall. It almost looked, with the moon behind it, like things were hanging off it - like someone put on one of those ghillie suits. At that point I was probably 100 - 110 yards from it."
(A ghillie suit is a camoflage suit developed by Scottish game wardens and first used by military snipers in World War I. Ghillie suits are loose-fitting full body suits festooned with fabric strips up to 18 inches long. They are designed to eliminate the human form, mimic natural foliage, and provide three-dimensional camoflage.
In Colorado, hunters using muzzleloaders are required to wear blaze orange, but archers are not.)
The witness said he was sure the creature he saw was not a man in a ghillie suit because of its size, the forceful way it ran through the dark woods, and because of tracks he found the next day.
"That next morning, I went back to the spot I found what appeared to be big footprints, like big like if I was to have a big giant boot on. But it wasn’t a boot mark. The detail wasn’t there but there were definitely prints. What I did then was, I went down to the water where I heard the splash and sure enough I found prints in there. It was like a marsh, and you could tell something big went through there. That kind of shook me up a little bit."