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COUNTY: Sonoma County
LOCATION DETAILS: Bennett Peak behind Bennett Valley Golf Course
NEAREST TOWN: Santa Rosa
NEAREST ROAD: Bennett Valley Rd
OBSERVED: It was in the summer of 1986 when myself, my friend and his brother set off to climb Bennett Peak in Santa Rosa. Back then there was only a golf course separating the rural area from Annadel State Park. The way we climbed took us over a series of smaller hills before we got to the base of the peak. On our descent off the last hill we took a break knowing the large climb ahead of us. Just then we heard the loud snapping and cracking of tree limbs directly across the valley that separated ourselves from Bennett Peak. It was then I spied a huge brown/black hairy back trucking up the peak at a very fast pace. As this creature moved up the hill it basically was clearing all of the foliage, mainly oak tree branches, out of its way. When we reached the spot where we saw this thing, we noticed that the tree branches that were damaged were four to five feet off the ground. Bear? Maybe but we don't get much bear in Santa Rosa.
ALSO NOTICED: It is an area close to many residences yet rarely explored
OTHER WITNESSES: 3 witnesses
OTHER STORIES: None since
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Afternoon
Perfect blue skies
ENVIRONMENT: Oak tree covered Mountain
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Tom Yamarone:
I spoke with the witness by phone on May 24, 2004 at 9:00 pm.
The witness saw the back of the animal as it barreled up the hillside and heard the noise of breaking branches as it went straight through bushes and trees. It was moving at a very fast pace. The witness noted that he saw a “brown hairy back” and it did not look like a bear's back.
At the time of the sighting, the witness was 14 years old and was accompanied by his friend (14 years) and the friend’s brother (20 years). They hiked often and they considered the older sibling to be an outdoorsman. All were frightened at the time by the noise of the breaking branches as the animal broke through the brush and trees.
The animal did not stop to look at them and they made no noise or comments during the incident. They were loud and playful just prior to hearing the noise and sighting the animal. (e.g., throwing rocks, yelling, etc.) No other features besides the animal's back were visible through the brush and trees. The witness did not see arms, legs or the head.
Upon reaching the site, the foliage was broken to a height of 5 feet above the ground. The distance across the ravine to the sighting was 100 – 150 yards. The sighting occurred between the hours of noon and 2 pm and lasted for 1 and ˝ minutes. There is a history of sightings in this county.