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COUNTY: Sublette County
LOCATION DETAILS: The animal was sighted on the north end of Junction Lake on the hillside. Junction lake can be reached by taking the Scab Creek trail near Boulder, WY in Sublette County.
NEAREST TOWN: Boulder, WY
OBSERVED: At dusk two boy scouts on a backpacking trip in the Wind River range of Wyoming were exploring the shores of Junction Lake. They heard a growl that they attributed to a bear and began to climb a slope at the north end of the lake. The sound was heard a second time and the boys felt that whatever it was was too far away to bother with and started back down the rocky hillside.
As they descended they heard something behind them and turned to see an animal about ten feet away step out from behind a tree. Upon seeing the scouts, the animal vocalized, turned and walked away on two feet swinging its arms. The boys said that the thing was brown with a darker brow area, and that it was on two feet the entire time that they saw it.
They reacted much the same way it did to the encounter. They turned and ran back to camp. It was in camp that I heard the story first hand from the two boys only minutes after the encounter took place.
I am one of three adult leaders that were on the trip. I tried to convince them that they must have seen a bear or some other animal, but they were insistant that it was exactly what they descibed, and walked on two legs swinging it's arms.
I am convinced that they are not making the story up, and did in fact witness some sort of animal on the shores of Junction Lake. They never mentioned the word "bigfoot" -- they just said that they had seen something "freaky". It was one of the other leaders that suggested they had seen a yeti, and I reminded them that it was called sasquatch in this neck of the woods.
OTHER WITNESSES: Two Boy Scouts, both 14 years old.
OTHER STORIES: No. It may be important to note that bigfoot stories were not mentioned prior to the sighting. These boys saw the animal with no preconceived notion provided by anyone on the trip that we were in bigfoot country. We did talk about bears, and had they had any questions about what they saw I would think that they would have concluded that it was a bear before they decided on bigfoot. In fact, as noted above, they never suggested that they had seen a bigfoot. That conclusion was offered by someone else.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Dusk, about 9:00 pm. Clear weather.
ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest close to high mountain lake.
Follow-up investigation report:
Junction Lake is in the Bridger Teton National Forest on the west flank of the Wind River Range, which runs northwest into the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. The 100-acre lake sits at 9,600 feet elevation in an area of small lakes and streams draining the dry 13,000-foot range's moister west flank. The area is part of the Bridger Wilderness.
I interviewed one of the scouts and the scout leader who made the report. He is a professional wildlife biologist for a western state's wildlife agency.
Both said the lighting at the time of the incident was good. The next day they looked for footprints, but the biologist said between the rocky terrain and an evening shower, they were unable to find anything.
Witness, 14, said the creature was within 15 feet when they first saw it.
"First of all, there were three of us on the hike: me, the other kid who saw it, and a third kid who went off by himself fishing. We decided to try to come around behind the third kid and scare him. So we climbed up on these rocks and as we were coming down, and we heard this rattling of leaves in the bushes. I turned to my friend and said "Did you hear that?'' Then we turned around again and saw this thing. It wasn't much bigger than 5' 3''. It had a light -colored brown fur. I saw its face. Around the eyes, it was really dark. Also it had kind of what looked like a beard that covered its neck. It was on two feet the whole time. When we turned around, we were about 15 feet away from it."
The scout said it was "evening, about sunset", but the light was good and the distance so close that he is certain that he saw a "real animal."
"When it walked away, it actually looked like a human being on two feet, the arms were pumping and everything. It almost looked like a human in a costume. But we had to hike in 10 miles to get there and we hadn't seen anyone else."
Did the face look human? "Not really, I didn't see a nose or mouth. The eyes were two black dots; the fur around eyes was black. The tops of the hands, the backs of the feet were covered with fur. "
"We didn't smell anything either. We just turned around and flipped out. It headed upslope and went around a rock and in between trees and weeds. We ran all the way back to camp."
"I didn't really believe in bigfoot and stuff. But this has kind of changed my opinion about them. What I saw was real."
The scout leader is a wildlife biologist who analyzes population and harvest statistics for a state wildlife agency.
"They're both good kids. I think it's a fairly solid sighting.''
"When they came running back into camp, they were both scared and excited. They told us the whole thing right away.
I tried to convice them they'd seen a bear or some other kind of animal. They were adamant: it was on two legs; it clearly walked away swinging its arms.''
"They didn't come into camp calling it bigfoot or sasquatch or yeti or anything. They just said we just saw something 'very freaky.' "
Scout leaders had talked to the kids about how to act around bears, but the biologist reiterated that no one had mentioned bigfoot until the boys came back into camp with their stories.
"One thing I regret is it rained that night. By the time we got up there the next day, there was pretty much nothing to see. It was fairly rocky anyway ... so I'm not sure we would have found anything."
As a wildlife biologist, how could he explain the sighting?
"I'd always been pretty skeptical. I'm a little bit less so now. I can't explain this one."
"In my mind there are only three possibilities. The first one is they saw a bipedal hominid- type animal that science doesn't have any solid physical evidence for. Or they saw some other animal they mistook for that. Or it was some guy in a suit. But we had to hike at least 10 miles in. And the only other people we saw were on horseback the day before and they were headed the other way."
"It's got me stumped.''