Just when I thought my summer bigfooting excursions were over, I received a call from bigfooting colleague and friend of the ‘squatch, Matt Moneymaker of the BFRO. Matt had recently returned from scouting an area in Western Pennsylvania near the Allegheny River where some very recent bigfoot activity had been reported. He asked if I would be able to accompany him and try to obtain video of the local sasquatches. Facing my last week of freedom before teaching obligations will fill my time, how could I refuse?
Only three weeks ago, fishermen reported seeing a sasquatch casually walk across a shallow tributary of the Allegheny a short distance upstream from their fishing hole in broad daylight. The fishermen did not report the sighting to the BFRO, but rather to a local police officer who had himself encountered sasquatches on a warm afternoon last August less than a half mile from this location. The sighting report quickly made its way to Matt’s ears through mutual friends.
a sasquatch crossing the creek in August, 2010.
During Matt’s initial trip he met the police officer, scouted the immediate area, and picked up a few more stories from locals. Thinking that this was an excellent opportunity to possibly obtain daylight footage, he quickly planned a return trip to the area for the following week. He recruited me for assistance with this endeavor.
My plane left Portland, OR at 6 am on August 20th. A long day of travel took me through Huston, TX, and eventually to Pittsburgh, PA, arriving in the late afternoon. I was excited for the opportunity to go bigfooting back east, having only done so twice before (in Ohio and Florida). It is valuable to note what the various habitats for the these animals have in common throughout the United States. Since I would be bigfooting with Matt, I would be sure to pick his brain about this. Through his bigfoot expeditions, Matt has successfully gone bigfooting in more parts of North American than anyone else, and has unique insights into these animals’ needs and wants.
After meeting up with Matt in the Pittsburgh Airport, we got our rental car and took the hour (or so) drive to a small town not far from the area of interest. (The location will not be divulged due to Matt’s ongoing efforts in the region.)
Our first trips to the field were largely for scouting purposes. We walked the creek beds by day, closely examining locations where the creatures could observe strategic choke points and stay hidden from view. There were many spots where the limestone bedrock was exposed, and many of these locations were sheer cliffs overlooking the stream. It is our opinion that sasquatches often prefer rocky substrate so as to not leave obvious tracks, and thus would seek these sorts of outposts.
vantage point overlooking a creek.
We explored a tributary of this tributary and found it to have many shallow pools and hidden viewpoints. The police officer’s encounter from the previous summer was where this creek flowed into the larger tributary. We eventually found out that farther upstream, perhaps four miles, was a homestead where the owner was afraid to hang out on his porch after dark due to creatures in the woods. (Knocking on this man’s door later in the week gave no results because he was not at home.)
While walking up this small tributary creek on Sunday (8/22/10), we heard knocking noises from the north east. There were few, if any, homes along the hilltops in the area, and none were close enough to produce such loud noises, so the chances that these noises were human in origin is slim. My recorder was not running because we were trudging through the bottoms of the creek bed, and when our feet weren’t wet, we were pushing through thick brush. All recorded noises would have been of my own making, so it is of little or no use to record in such conditions.
One of our days of scouting uncovered abandoned limestone mines from a passed industrial age. The mine openings were large enough to drive trucks through, and we explored the labyrinth of passages for several hundred yards deep into the earth. A bizarre and highly serendipitous discovery came from deep in one of these passages. The local kids had spray painted various things on the walls of these caves, but one such piece of graffiti took us both by surprise.
spray painted on the walls of a cavern deep underground.
Though we heard knocking on several occasions over the week, we heard what could have been a sasquatch vocalizations on two nights. The first night we heard the noise was Sunday the 22nd. Matt and I were walking along a paved road shortly before midnight when two high pitched scream/whines pierced the night, unsolicited by our own calls. The following night, we heard several more of these noises, but they seemed to emanate from near a homestead where a dog was incessantly barking. Not recognizing the sounds as any animal we were familiar with, we thought that they might be sasquatch. However, hearing the sounds coming from the same general direction of the barking dog made us both wonder about our assessment. Could it have been some whiny breed of canine, or possibly even some eastern species of owl? Possibly. We did note that we never heard the call during the day, even when we heard the other dog barking.
Our best day was Thursday, August 26. In the middle of the day, the police officer, his friend, Matt, and I were walking the tiny tributary that feeds the larger one when we discovered a natural choke point with sheer cliff walls covered in thick brush. A distance up the walls was a natural bench with a rocky overhang which would be an obvious spot to escape rain or snow while still being able to observe anything traveling in the narrow canyon. Three of us climbed the cliff walls to inspect the bench area. Upon our arrival, we started hearing loud, single knocks from three directions. Two of the sources were close, perhaps 50 or so yards away, while one was much farther away downstream. The knocking continued for nearly 15 minutes until we decided to take action.
heard many knocks from three sources.
Our plan was to send three of us out of the canyon from the direction we came, while I would remain behind to try to film the sasquatches. I sent my two companions down the precipice to Matt, who was waiting and observing from the creek below. As they reached the floor of the canyon, a quiet, yet distinct whistle came from one of the knocking locations. The three men below me then walked noisily to the north, leaving the area and making sure that the sasquatches knew it.
I stayed behind for perhaps twenty more minutes, just listening to the forest noises. The most significant thing I heard was the lack of knocking. Since there was a slight breeze during this time, it occurred to me that perhaps the knocking was a natural noise made by the wind. Hearing nothing after the men had left the canyon made me realize that the clear knocks that had been occurring frequently during our stay were most likely bigfoots. The whistle was just icing on the cake…
On my walk out, I went up the slope to intersect a long-unused logging road. Of interest was my find of a log that had been moved three feet to the right of where it had been. Was this a find of bigfooty significance? I don’t know, but it was interesting.
right of its obvious resting place.
My trip to Pennsylvania was a great opportunity to not only hang out with a good friend in a different part of the country, but also to pick the brain of one of the most experienced bigfooters alive today. Matt holds many strong opinions regarding these animals, but he is always quick to listen to my thoughts and experiences. When I disagree with him, he always respectfully listens and considers my opinion. Just like back in the day when I ran expeditions for the BFRO, working with Matt was easy and fun, the both of us making an excellent team. We didn’t manage to obtain that elusive piece of video footage, but perhaps one of the many trail cameras we left behind will do the job for us. I will be sure to keep you posted on any results of our efforts.
Two last thoughts… I dislike hiking through wild roses, and the effects of poison ivy feels just like poison oak… Go figure.
Here are some more photographs from my PA adventure…
yet was completely hidden from view while only a few yards away.