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STATE: West Virginia
COUNTY: Pendleton County
LOCATION DETAILS: Occurred in the Dolly Sods Wilderness, which is north of Seneca Rocks on Hwy 55. Nearest road to our camp was Forest Road 75 (?)
NEAREST TOWN: Seneca Rocks, WVA
NEAREST ROAD: Hwy 55
OBSERVED: A buddy of mine and I had wanted to hike and camp in the Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia, in the Monongahela forest. Basically, it was a weekend camp, hoping to spot game and look for trout water. Any thoughts of Bigfoot, (there had been previous reports) were largely in the back of my mind, although the prospect of possibly encountering or seeing evidence was exciting to consider.
The area is quite remote, and the terrain fairly rugged. We had parked the truck on a forest service road, and hauled our gear into the woods. We spent the early afternoon scouting about, after pitching our tent in a small glen surrounded by pine trees. We spotted some deer and raccoon tracks along an adjacent small stream, and looked for whatever sign we could find, then headed back to camp. As we sat there, the atmosphere of such wilderness led my thoughts to Bigfoot. To amuse myself, I got up and started to peruse the woods a bit. About that time, I heard footsteps behind me and turned to see a couple of men walking down a trail carrying garbage bags on their backs. They stopped at our camp and my buddy and I talked with them a few minutes. They had been collecting ramps. Ramps are like wild onions. And they had a good haul, about 40 lbs worth between them. Half jokingly and half serious I asked them if they had heard tales of Bigfoot in the area. Their eyes kind of flew open for a second, then they gave me a look like I was crazy. They didn't say anything for a few seconds, then looked down at the ground, kind of averting their eyes. I quickly told them about the reports I'd read, but they seemed like they didn't want to discuss anything. We talked a bit more about ramp selling and Appalachian festivals and such; and I asked them where the ramp patch was and they told us it was on the backside of the hill fronting our tent. Soon they had to leave, but curiously enough, as they were walking away, one of the men turned and said, "Y'all watch fer them Bigfoot now!" in a matter-of-fact kind of way. Well, after awhile, my buddy and I decided to take a little foray up one of the trails, and had an enjoyable time--spotting hawks, many birds, bobcat sign, squirrels, and even a Great Horned Owl. We also heard a Barred Owl. We sat in the woods and talked, and planned to do some predator calling after nightfall. I think it was about six o'clock by this time, so we headed back to camp get something to eat. We rustled up some food without cooking anything and the sun was lowering, the night was soon to be coming on. We were debating where we should go try to predator call. Not long after, I head what I can only describe as howls and chatter-like sounds emanating from behind a hill. My buddy had gone back to the truck to get a flashlight we had left behind. As I listened, I could differentiate three separate sources for the sounds. It seemed like they were near each other, not calling to each other from a distance. I also noted that hound dogs were barking off to my right and in behind me from maybe a half-mile away. The howl-like sounds lasted only 30 seconds or so. I just sat there astounded. My buddy soon showed up, and I asked him if he had heard anything. "Hound dogs" he replied. I didn't say anything more to him about it, because I thought he might think I was gettin'nervy. Anyhow, I was primed for excitement that night. After supper, we sat up until late listening to the sounds of the night. Nothing unusual happened. Finally, went to sleep, but I'll admit I was catnapping most of the night. The next day passed much as the previous one, spotted wildlife and nice hike up to the "plains", and then back to camp. We milled about the camp area, and planned to predator call that night....After predator calling, without much response except for two owls, we cooked up some ramps and potatos and talked 'til about midnight. We never bothered to make a fire. After the day's hiking, a good sleep was welcome. About 2:30 a.m. I was awakened by the sound of our cookware being rattled. I lay there listening, and heard a buck snort. Then he stamped several times. The buck was after the ramps we had leftover from supper. Alright, I thought, back to sleep. I lay there waiting to drift off, listening to the buck mill about the camp. Then, I heard the buck snort loudly. Suddenly, I got an innate sense that something sizable was peering at the tent...I felt a presence there in the pines, which were about 15 feet away. The buck, after slowly moving away, finally bounded away from the glen. I fumbled around for the flashlight, not wanting to awaken my buddy. I couldn't locate it. Of course, I was still listening intently for whatever was there in the pines. I heard no movement. But that feeling of being scrutinized was raising the hair on my neck. I deliberated what to do. I had no weapon, except a machete. No means of startling what I felt had to be Bigfoot. It was just standing there, there was no discernable movement. I was 'paralyzed' as to what to do. Finally, I decided to do nothing, just lay there. I've had bears sniffing my tent and checking out my campsites before, and found that not confronting them is a good policy. I lay there waiting to see what would happen next. Maybe five minutes later, I heard tree branches moving and a few twigs snap. Then, nothing...I drifted off to sleep. Next morning, I awoke eager to check out the pine stand and campsite. I told my buddy about the buck visit, and decided to tell him about the strange presence lurking in the pines. He listened without saying anything. I wanted to look around, and evidently my buddy's curiosity got the best of him, and he joined the search. After a few minutes, I found a footprint. It was about 16 inches long and maybe 5-6 inches wide. The big toe was quite clear, and the other ones just slightly less defined. The big toe was maybe two inches wide. The soil where the footprint was dry, kind of grainy not loamy. It was hard-packed and there were pine needles surrounding. The footprint was visible but not deep in the soil. My buddy was quite intrigued by the footprint. We talked about what I had experienced, and dawdled over the footprint. But, it became evident my buddy didn't believe tht Bigfoot had made the footprint. Or better stated he wouldn't accept what he was looking at. He even smudged the toes to make it undiscernable. Of course, I was caught off guard by that and made somewhat peeved.
Further thoughts: In retrospect, I feel kind of stupid for not having tried to look at the creature. At the time, I thought I was doing the right thing, it could have precipitated an attack. However, I could sense the largeness of what had to be Bigfoot. *I noticed the breathing,the inhalations of the creature as well, which further informed me of its size.
ALSO NOTICED: Nothing that I'm aware of.
OTHER WITNESSES: Myself and a buddy witnessed the footprint; I alone heard the vocalizations--my buddy had returned to our vehicle.
OTHER STORIES: Other reports to the BFRO have been sent in from this area. I also suspect that local folk have had strange incidents which they chose not to report.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Vocalizations heard around 7:00 p.m. Footprint sighted about 6:45 a.m. the next morning. Weather was basically mild, a bit cool in the early mornings. Partly cloud part of the days, but generally sunny.
ENVIRONMENT: Mixed pine and deciduous forest in surrounding area. We camped in a glen surrounded by pine trees near a couple of trailheads; a small stream nearby.
Follow-up investigation report:
I spoke with the witness at length. No further details can be added to the report.