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COUNTY: Inyo County
LOCATION DETAILS: Near Green Lake in the Inyo National Forest.
NEAREST TOWN: Bishop, CA
OBSERVED: BFRO Investigator Charles Lamica transcribed the following initial report from a voice mail left on the BFRO phone system. Confidential information such as last name and phone number have been edited out...
"Hi, my name is Ron ------, and I'm calling from San Diego California. I'm a middle school math teacher or math and special education teacher. I was recently over the three-day weekend up in the eastern Sierras hiking at about twelve thousand feet, and something happened that I can't explain and I just thought I would call you guys and tell you about it if you're interested. I really can't explain it. It was bizarre. But anyway, (phone number). Thank you very much. Bye.
OTHER WITNESSES: 2- The reporting party and his girlfriend.
ENVIRONMENT: Tall pine trees and steep terrain.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Charles Lamica:
I became aware of this case when the reporting partyís voice mail was posted on the BFRO Investigatorís Facebook Page, I volunteered to return the call.
I made telephone contact with Ron on the evening of 18 November 2018, one week after the incident occurred. Ron is a middle school math teacher and avid fly fisherman. He described himself as the type of guy who doesnít believe in things like ghosts or bigfoot. He said, ďIím skeptical of things I canít see or touch.Ē The incident that happened near Green Lake, however, has forced him to reassess his skepticism. His comments to me are synopsized belowÖ
ďMy girlfriend and I had a three-day weekend so we decided to do some fly fishing up at Green Lake. I live in southern California, so it is a 7-hour drive for us to reach South Lake in the Inyo National Forest, then we hiked about three miles up to Green Lake. Iíve been to Green Lake many times in the past. The elevation at South Lake is about 9000 feet and the trail to Green Lake takes you up past 11000 feet, so itís pretty steep in places and there are a lot of switchbacks on the trail.
ďWe hiked up to Green Lake only to find it was totally frozen over. We decided to hike back down towards another lake in the area. At one point in our hike we stopped to rest and eat some snacks. While we were there I had a very eerie feeling. It caused me to feel cold and shaky and nervous. As we were sitting there, we suddenly heard a noise of something flying through the air. I looked up and saw a huge rock, which probably weighed at least 45 pounds, coming from above us. The rock landed on the trail about 25 yards away from us. It wasnít rolling down the hillside. Itís trajectory indicated to me it had been thrown down the hillside.
ďAt about that same instant we heard a very distinct animal-like grunting noise, but it was far louder than any animal grunt Iíve ever heard. We also detected a really foul smell. I particularly remember the foul smell because one moment we were breathing really fresh mountain air and the next moment there was this awful smell.
ďAbout that time, we could hear heavy footsteps coming down the hillside towards us. The terrain in this area is steep with many tall pine trees. We couldnít see very far above us, but we could hear something was coming towards us.
ďIíve encountered many bears in that area in the past and I immediately grew concerned a bear was approaching us. I yelled something like, ďItís a (expletive) bear!Ē The whole thing was so frightening and unexpected that we both started running! We left my girlfriendís jacket, my sunglasses, and our food there and just started running down the switchbacked trail. (The jacket and sunglasses each cost over $100. We never went back to get them.)
ďAs we kept running down the switchbacks we could hear the heavy footsteps following us. Whatever it was, it didnít stay on the trail and follow the switchbacks like we did. Instead, it cut straight down the hillside, and its movements were loud enough for us to hear it. We ran for about five minutes before realizing the thing was no longer following us. We went back to the trailhead, got in our car, and left.
ďThis was the scariest thing Iíve ever experienced in my life. Iím confused and puzzled by the whole thing. Iím not the kind of guy who believes in things like ghosts or bigfoots. But, I canít explain what happened to us. Thatís why I reached out to you guys (the BFRO).Ē
In my follow-up questions, I asked Ron about the rock he saw flying through the air. He said he guessed it was at least 45 pounds. He felt it was definitely too big for a human to have thrown. It wasnít smooth and round, but was more angular with sharp edges, which he assumes is why he heard it flying through the air before he actually saw it. Ron also stated that in hindsight, although he initially was afraid they were being stalked by a bear, he felt the whole thing was unlike any normal bear behavior heís ever experienced. He now believes it was not a bear.
During my conversation, I found Ronís story to be believable and compelling. I got the impression this is a person with an analytical mind-set. He experienced something unusual and now wants to understand the why and how of what happened. He didnít seem to be looking for attention, but wanted information, instead.
I explained to Ron that sasquatches will sometimes engage in territorial displays such as rock throwing, tree shaking, or angry vocalizations. Bluff charges have also been reported in which sasquatches seem to be intent on chasing people away from an area. Based on Ronís description of the moving noises he heard, I suspect he and his girlfriend were on the receiving end of a bluff charge. After seeing a rock thrown in their direction, they heard a loud grunting noise, smelled a foul odor, and heard heavy footsteps coming their way. I find it interesting that as they ran down the switchbacks, the maker of all this commotion ran straight down the hill side, cutting across the switchbacks. This is what makes me believe this was a bluff charge, rather than some type of predatory behavior. If a sasquatch or any other large animal was running straight downhill it would have easily caught up to the humans who were sticking to the switchbacked trail. Since it never did catch up to Ron and his girlfriend, I can only assume the suspected sasquatch was merely trying to scare them away rather than wanting to actually catch them.
This incident has caused Ron to give more thought to the sasquatch mystery. I suggested to him one of the best ways to learn more about sasquatches was to attend a BFRO expedition. I wouldnít be surprised if he signs up for one of the 2019 expeditions.
About BFRO Investigator Charles Lamica:
Chuck Lamica's interest in sasquatch started at the age of 8, when his family discovered large footprints near their home in rural Oregon. He was an Alaska State Trooper for 22 years and later worked as a Forest Warden for the Washington Department of Natural Resources. He now lives in northeast Washington state.