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COUNTY: Fresno County
LOCATION DETAILS: Kaiser Pass Road forks just above Mono Hot Springs. One side heads toward Edison Lake the other towards Florence lake. We were camping right along the road to Florence on a ridge just before the road drops down toward the lake. Maybe 2 - 3 miles from the lake itself.
NEAREST TOWN: Huntington Lake, Ca.
NEAREST ROAD: Kaiser Pass road
OBSERVED: My friend Greg and I had been fishing the San Juaquin river just below Florence Lake until about 6:30 or 7:00 pm. As we live in Clovis Ca. appoximately 70 miles away, we had decided we would just camp up there for the night. Kaiser Pass road is a narrow one lane road that traverses some very rugged area. It takes almost 2 hours to travel the 20 miles back to state highway 168 at Huntington Lake. So it is about a three and a half hour trip home. A trip that niether of us wanted to drive after a long day fishing, especially at night. As the area we were fishing in is notoriously bad for bears, we decided to drive to a camp spot that we were both familiar with just back up the way From Florence Lake. The camp spot is not in a campground, and is just a single spot off to the side of the road. But it is a well used spot by many people. We set up camp, had dinner, and had just sat down next to the campfire. The light of day was almost totally gone. We were sitting across from one another as we had both been taught to do when in the wilderness, so you can see if any animals are coming up from behind the other person. Gregs back was to the car and the road. My back was to a low rising granite out cropping, almost a dome like shaped out cropping that is flat on top. about 50 yards beyond that is a rather steep dirt ledge that goes up maybe another 25 feet above where we were sitting. I heard a noise that sounded like a horn on a train passing somewhere in the distance. I even said to Greg, do you here that train in the distance. he said yes , he heard it. We continued to hear it for a while, when suddenly it dawned on both of us that we were at 9000 feet in elevation, and there are no trains for about 70 miles. Now we were curious about the sound. And that is how I would best describe it, as the horn on a train in the distance. It was not an owl, I have heard many owls. As we continued to listen, it became closer, and became clear that it was over or on the ledge behind me. I moved to the car, and grabbed a 12 guage shotgun. The last time we heard it, it was extremely close to us, but still had that low mono toned almost horn like sound. Not knowing what we were dealing with, and not wanting to shoot someone or something, we called out a warning that we had a gun, just incase it was someone playing a prank. We did not hear the sound again. However, as we were both looking out toward the granite out cropping, and the ledge where the sound was coming from, we both turned and looked at each other at the very same time to ask if the other had just seen the same thing. We had, a pair of eyes glowing in the distance. Almost like cat eyes, but not yellow like cat eyes, they were more silver, or white. We only saw them for a second. Still not wanting to shoot at what I couldn't see, I fired a warning shot in the air. I didn't here or see anything after that, however, Greg insists he saw the eyes again, even after I fired the shot. Not wanting to find out what isn't afraid of a twelve guage, Greg threw all of our camping gear in the car as fast as he could while I stood guard with the gun. We dumped our entire jug of water on the fire, got in the car and drove all the way home. Niether of us said a word until we got back to town. I have been all over the mountains up in that area, and have been camping and four wheeling into the back country since I was a kid. That part of the Sierras is like my backyard to me, and I had never experienced anything like that. Bears, mountain lions, the rare badger sighting, but nothing like that.
ALSO NOTICED: We observed nothing after the incident, as niether of us has camped there since.
OTHER WITNESSES: only two winesses. My friend Greg and I. we were sitting by a campfire.
OTHER STORIES: I heard one story second hand. My aunt used to work for a dentist who would go deer hunting in the area. Supposedly, they were camped just beyond where we were at a place called Jackass Meadow. They had trailerd thier horses in, and had the horses out of the trailer for the night. They were to pack in to the back country the next day. Just as the sun was about to set, the horses, which aparently were tied up, became spooked. When the men looked around to see what was spooking them they noticed a tall figure, some distance away, standing next to a tree. The men were apparently also scared enough to leave, and camp elsewhere for the night. When they returned the next day, they went over to a tree that the figure had been standing by. They judged the height of the figure to be over seven feet tall by the bottom branch on the tree that had been just over the figures head. I didn't really take the story to seriosly at the time. I had heard it many years before my experience.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Sun had just gone down, almost totally dark.
ENVIRONMENT: The ridge is not what I would call very densely wooded. however, as you go farther down the slope, sparse trees, and granite outcroppings give way to more dense stands of pines and manzanita brush.
Follow-up investigation report:
I talked to the witness by phone. The following details can be added to the report.
--The animal was close by, within several feet of the witnesses.
--Neither witness smelled anything or saw anything other than the “eyes”.
--The witness stated that it was hard to tell if the eyes belonged to the sound or not.
--The witness was very uncomfortable that his shotgun blast did not scare the animal away, and was the prime reason why they left the area.
--The witness still goes into the area, but hasn’t camped there since.