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COUNTY: Umatilla County
LOCATION DETAILS: Because I was only 14 at the time, and since I was only there once, I have no recollection of how to get there, and I have long since forgotten the name, although I recall it being a little unusual. However, I lived in SE Washington at the time, and it wasn't that far away, maybe 90 minutes. After reviewing maps of NE Oregon, there is a "river" in that area with an unusual name with several small creeks feeding it: the Wenaha River. I also recall the encampment had a small parade ground, perhaps 1/3 to 1/2 the size of a football field, with a small pond, both of which were elevated from the river by no more than 15 feet. I also seem to recall parallel to the river at this point a forest service road.
If I recall correctly, the sun setting in the west places the ravine/creek at the west end of camp; my campsite was at the northeast end, the river along the southern edge of camp flowed east to west, and the small creek flowed down out of the north.
NEAREST TOWN: Walla Walla, WA
NEAREST ROAD: Mill Creek Road
OBSERVED: I was attending a senior Boy Scout leadership camp, Brownsea II, in NE Oregon in midsummer 1976. The only reason I recall the details of the date was because my birthday fell on the Sunday after camp broke up. The details of the location are fuzzy, the incident is not.
I recall three inexplicable incidents from that week (27.June - 3.July). First, I recall waking up early in the week about 0600. Even in late June in the Blue Mountains, mornings are brisk, and no one was very quick to leave their tents. One of my campmates announced his intention to relieve himself about the same time I was crawling out of the tent. At that moment, I heard a great deal of brush movement in the hillside brush overlooking our camp. Unfortunately, I can't recall whether I heard footfalls or not. Knowing now that even deer are far from quiet when running through underbrush, I can't rule out the possibility of deer grazing immediately above our tents and becoming spooked as we exited our tents. But it WAS extremely noisy.
Third (second is the most significant), the camp was breaking up Saturday morning and we were fixing lunch for our parents who were supposed to be arriving shortly. One of the camp leaders was showing off some footprints he claimed to have found by the river that morning and cast, then obliterated them to prevent distractions. I don't recall the particulars, but they were larger than average, proportionately correct as near as I can recall. I've always looked on the story behind those casts with both skepticism and intrigue.
Most significant was a midweek event, I believe Wednesday night. The exercises was to follow a set of instructions using a compass to find a location, set up camp for the night, then return the next morning. Following our instructions, we made our way along a trail beside the creek up the wooded ravine. If memory serves me, we left somewhere around 1830, and walked some 1000 paces up the ravine ... roughly between a half and three-quarter mile distance. We were greeted by a camp staff who had placed himself unobtrusively off to the side to make sure we arrived safely, then headed back down the trail. The trail was not overly steep, but on the opposite side of the creek, the hill came right down to the creek and was reasonably thick with trees and vegetation. I no longer recall, but I believe I wouldn't be incorrect if I said we arrived between 1900 and 1930. Because of the ravine setting and the tall trees around us, darkness settled in quickly. I seem to recall the sun setting more or less on our left as we hiked up the trail
After taking a few minutes to set up camp and start evening preparations, I, being a fisherman, decided to dip into my emergency gear and try my hand in the creek immediately downstream from the camp. It was probably about 1945 at this point ... still light, but darkness was closing in and fine details are harder to see. Using a small safety pin with a worm (I'm usually a fly fisherman), some monofilament and a piece of wood, I made a crude rig to test a couple of holes. One of the scouts watched me for five, maybe 10 minutes before returning to the camp between 30 and 50 yards away.
Shortly after he left me, I had the distinctly uncomfortable feeling of being watched. Many times since then, I have been in the woods alone, frequently fishing, and have felt similar sensations, only to find deer hoof prints in the streamside mud filling with water, but this sensation was ... unique, as it made the hair on my neck stand up. The creek was not very wide, and I was standing more or less in the middle of it, straddling the stream with each foot on a rock and facing upstream, with the trail to my left (more or less west) and the wooded hillside on my immediate right. I recall very little standing room on my right. I hesitated for a moment or two, then turned around to my right. I have no explanation or recollection why I turned in that direction.
Because this was a small ravine which was thorougly wooded on both sides, light was fading, but there was sufficient light to see by. Maybe 35 yards downstream, I didn't see much ... only what I can describe as a long leg and foot disappearing up the hillside into the trees and brush. It was much darker than the foliage, moving and so it stood out. As the leg disappeared from view, I vividly recall turning around shaking my head--a habit I still have--perhaps in disbelief at what I saw ... kind of like, tree stumps don't usually get up and move like that. Recently, while watching a nature program, I saw a similar angle of a bear disappearing into the brush in a similar direction. The bear's legs being shorter, the knees bent much closer to the ground and not much above the foot; what I saw was a foot bending at the ankle, but no bend above that. Also, the leg was lifted, unlike a bear's which is, at best, shuffled forward. Best estimates: I saw perhaps 2', 2.5' of leg, but no knee. Finally, I don't recall any odor or unusual silence at the time.
One other lighter note: I learned later that night that eyelashes on the nylon inner lining of a down mummy bag sound a lot like cruching leaves but without the footfalls! Needless to say, it took a while to fall asleep that night.
I am not aware of any further incidents from this camp at this time.
ALSO NOTICED: Noted in the main body of the report.
OTHER WITNESSES: No other witnesses that I'm aware of. As usual, this isn't the kind of event that is openly discussed. I mentioned nothing to anybody at that time.
OTHER STORIES: Only what I have read; I am well aware of the local Sasquatch/Bigfoot activity history in the Blue Mountain region.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Evening/dusk, probably around 2000. Local lighting was dim, but sufficient to easily see gross details. The weather was clear, the day had been sunny.
ENVIRONMENT: The weather had been good all week, late spring in the Blue Mountains, warm and sunny days, cool nights and mornings.
The encampment was alongside a medium-sized stream, inconceivably called a river. At one end of camp, flowing out of a hillside ravine was a small creek. Most of the streamside vegetation was decidious, the hillsides mostly coniferous.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Dr. Wolf H. Fahrenbach:
The initially undefined location has been pinpointed by the efforts of the singularly cooperative eyewitness, numerous calls to regional headquarters of Boy Scout Chapters and the gratifying detail of Topozone.com.
The camp where this Boy Scout Leadership exercise was held still exists as a Kiwanis camp near the small community of Kooskooskie, which lies along Mill Creek in the short loop that that stream makes through the northern part of Oregon. This is the identical Mill Creek that provided many reports of activity by Paul Freeman, Wes Sumerlin and Bill Laughery in closer proximity to Walla Walla, WA. The stream in question is a small contributory of Mill Creek. The site is approximately 8 miles west of the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness Area.