BFRO's Gifford Pinchot Expedition

Friday, May 19

Harv Zimmel and myself arrived at Eagles Cliff General Store and Campground at 4 PM, Friday afternoon. BFRO volunteer Miles Lawler was already there waiting for us. Shortly thereafter Joe Beelart and Steve Kiley arrived. Joe and Steve had already set up their campsite near Lone Butte in Indian Heaven Wilderness.

The Rush Creek Drainage near Lone Butte, looking northwest towards the Lewis River Valley. Photo by Jeff Lemley.

Other BFRO volunteers began arriving at around 5 PM, and continued to arrive until 9:30 PM. As the they arrived I briefed them on protocol and the areas that they would be covering. They were provided with a tactical map of the area that included the positions of other teams, and assigned them a radio call sign.

CB radios were used for all communications during the operation. Most teams consisted of 2 or 3 people. One team had 4 members, while a couple of other volunteers opted to go it alone. We ended up with a total of 14 teams for the first evening.

Grant McOmie, outdoor reporter from ABC affiliate station KATU from Portland, OR, arrived at around 6:30 PM. He proceeded to various team locations and interviewed several volunteers.

Broadcasting was scheduled to begin at 10 PM. Due to some of the teams arriving later than anticipated, broadcasting did not begin until 10:45 PM. Volunteer Harv Zimmel teamed up with me for the evening.

The first call was broadcast between the Foxtrot team and Golf team positions. We then proceeded to the Hotel team position and broadcast at 11:15 PM. The KATU news team departed after we finished broadcasting from this position.

Next, we drove 11 miles up the valley to the eastern flank of the operation. The Mike, Oscar, and Papa teams were positioned in this area. We played a few calls from the Papa position first, and then went further up to the Oscar position, which was being manned solo by Gunnar Monson. We played 2 howl and 2 scream calls from this location. We were immediately met by a chorus of wolf howls coming from about 2 miles to our east. Unfortunately, they were too far away to capture on tape.

View of Mt. Adams through the clouds from Oscar team position near Steamboat Mountain. Photo by Jeff Lemley.

We left Oscar at 12:30 AM and travelled back down to the Mike team location. At this juncture, we opted to grab a bite to eat, as we had not eaten since 1 PM. Much to our delight, Steven and Heller James had a nice cooking fire going, and we were able to quickly grill up a pair of burgers before continuing with the operation. Rick Noll was with the James' when we arrived. He was in the process of visiting the various team locations and photographing them as they monitored the area for activity.

We departed back down the Lewis River at 1:00 AM to broadcast near the India, Juliet, and Kilo team positions. We got into position near the India team position at 1:35 AM, and broadcast several calls. We then continued approximately 1 mile further, until we had to stop due to snow.

We broadcast from this location at 2 AM. We then drove back to a spot that afforded us an excellent view of the Lewis River Valley directly south of us, so we played 4 calls from this location, before putting the speakers back inside the vehicle. It was now 2:25 AM, and I decided that it was time to call it a night.

Before heading back down to camp we got a radio call from Juliet team. Don Udell thought he saw something. We went to his location and checked it out thoroughly. Nothing of significance was found or heard.

We proceeded to Foxtrot team's location to broadcast one last set of calls. After alerting the everyone via CB the sounds were broadcast again.

Golf team heard a series of 7 or 8 calls that they described as sounding identical to the middle vocalization on the Ohio scream.
Infrared shot of Zimmel & Lemley  
Lemley and Zimmel listening from ridge. Starlight scope image.

They estimated that the vocalizations originated from about 1 mile to our south. This description would have placed the call source on the southern wall of the Lewis River Valley. I thought this area was still inaccessible, due to snow on the roads. I had checked the area the weekend before, and had encountered snow too high to traverse. Now we discovered that the USFS had plowed the road in the interim. The area was now accessible.

At 4:15 AM, I broadcast 2 more screams to see if we could entice another response from our south. We heard nothing in return. Rick Noll and Don Udell joined us and we again decided to retire for the evening. We reached our campsite at 4:35 AM and turned in.


Expedition Report - Day Two


Closing Statements


Expedition Report - Front Page

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