Of all the Finding Bigfoot episodes we have filmed, I probably had more fun on this one than on any other expedition. For once, I would be bigfooting in my own bigfoot spots that I normally work when not filming the show. This is important to me personally because the show puts me on the road for eight or more months a year. Sure, I love seeing great bigfoot habitat in all the locations we travel to, but there’s no place like home. I encourage bigfooters to work one or two locations near their home as often as possible, yet I am unable to follow my own advice because of my work schedule. Finally, my work and personal bigfooting combined! Knowing that the weeks ahead would be filled with my witnesses and my bigfoot spots, I was thrilled.
The fact that Bobo would be my partner for this episode just added to my excitement. Bobo and I have been friends a long time, and we have spent many many weeks together in the field. Much of our time was spent in Northern California where he lives exploring his bigfoot spots or locations that I wanted to spend time in. Since moving to Portland in 2008, Bobo has not been able to visit me to go bigfooting, so this would be my first opportunity to share my spots with him.
This episode is based upon the premise that there is a rivalry between bigfooters in Oregon and Washington as to which state is “squatchier.” I know better than to think one is “better” than the other, but I am always up for a little friendly competition, especially when I can represent the state in which I live. However, there are some facts that play into this controversy of which state is better for bigfoots. As far as habitable land, Oregon wins, hands down. Of all the fifty states, Oregon is second only to Alaska with 28,836,000 acres of forested land. Washington places way down at number nine on the list with 21,300,000 acres of forested land trailing other states such as Georgia (#3), Idaho (#5), and Alabama (#6).
Looking at the BFRO database, it seems that Washington would be the “squatchier” state because there are 427 reported sightings available on the website for the public verses Oregon’s 239 reports. However, population must be taken into account, and they differ substantially. Washington is the 13th most populous state with about 7 million inhabitants (mostly in the Seattle area), while Oregon is number 27 on the list with just under 4 million people living there, most of which live in the Portland area. If one divides the number of reports by the number of people for both states, they are virtually identical: 0.000061 encounters per capita for both states (Oregon actually has 0.00006128 which gives it a very, very slight edge, but who’s counting?). This should be expected since the two states have very similar habitats.
(It should be noted that the numbers on the BFRO database are dramatically affected by the number of researchers that Matt has in an area, and how active they are. When I left the BFRO a number of years ago, there were only about four or five active investigators in all of Oregon including myself. There were more than a dozen active investigators in Washington, though, so one would expect a higher number of reports from that state. I do not have any information on how many investigators Matt has in either state at this time.)
Indeed, one state is not better than the other. It’s just a matter of preference. Still, a little friendly competition never hurt anyone.
We started the expedition by having the team split up on Sand Island near Rooster Rock State Park in the middle of the Columbia River which forms the boundary between Oregon and Washington. The weather was perfect, the water was warm, and much to our surprise, the location was directly adjacent to a nude beach a little to the east. You gotta love Portland!
The first stop for Team Oregon was a secret spot named “Will Call Hill.” Back in July of 2010, Will Robinson, Craig Flipy, and I went on a bigfoot expedition to the east side of Mount Hood. We camped in a clearing on the east side of a small hill overlooking an expansive meadow nestled into a valley on the edge of a roadless area. After doing calls periodically for an hour or so, a sasquatch responded to one of Will’s moaning howls. This gave rise to the name of the location, “Will Call Hill.” Click this link to hear a recording of the vocalization.
The night investigation was just a ton of fun. Will, who is one of the most accomplished outdoorsmen I know, would be coming along with us. We were to walk the logging roads around the base of Will Call Hill and those adjacent to the roadless area and see if we could get some noises. Will has had success at this location on other occasions, so it was very possible that bigfoots frequent this spot. As it turned out, both teams got knocks that night, though no bigfoot was seen in the thermal imagers.
Our first witness interview was to be with Jay Somers, co-owner of J. Christopher Wines in Newberg, OR. Jay grows grapes at his winery, so he is constantly removing boulders from his grape fields as he plows the soil. Over the years, he has piled these boulders, some of which are over two feet in diameter, in one pile near the field.
Jay walks his dogs nearly every day along the fields in the morning and evening. One morning, he found a number of boulders strewn about downhill from the boulder pile. Many of these boulders were too large to be reasonably lifted by workers, and they were in the path blocking the way of the tractor that the workers needed to drive. Some of the boulders had been thrown, as was evident by the impact marks on the ground nearby, but others might have been rolled. The rocks had been removed from the larger pile, and the hole it left was a crater over seven feet in diameter. Additionally, the boulders were not there the night before when Jay walked his dog in the same spot. Whatever moved these numerous large boulders did so under the cover of darkness the previous night.
This boulder pile is inhabited by a large number of rodents. Monkey, Bobo’s dog, immediately clued in to this fact and started digging into the soil to try to catch them, as any good terrier would. The situation is strongly parallel to the famous Glen Thomas sighting back in 1967. Glen Thomas saw a family group of sasquatches moving large boulders aside and stacking them in a talus slope apparently searching for hibernating rodents, probably pikas from my on-site investigation, though it is written that they were golden mantled ground squirrels. These holes the bigfoots dug, as well as the rock stacks they made, are still visible today. It could reasonably be hypothesized that a bigfoot was digging in Jay’s boulder pile to get at rodents to eat.
What didn’t make the episode was some bigfoot history in the area. Just a few years before, one of Jay’s neighbors saw a huge upright figure walking early one morning before light on dirt road on his farm. The location is less than a mile away. There have been several other reports over the last couple decades to the north, south, west, and east of this location as well.
The Sandy River flows into the Columbia just east of Portland (actually, Troutdale, but that’s a suburb of Portland) and forms sort of a dividing line between the city and the woods on Mount Hood. While there are a small number of homes east of the Sandy River, it’s basically all bigfoot habitat, and a ton of sightings come out of this area. My friend, Rob Holbrook saw a sasquatch on the way home one July evening just to the east of the Sandy River while driving on Gordon Creek Road. He was slowly turning on a sharp switchback when he saw a sasquatch from about 60 feet way at about 7 pm. It was slightly above him on a slope in broad daylight, though in the shade. Rob and the sasquatch met eyes, and a moment later the sasquatch bolted up the hill behind it. Rob told me that it ran uphill faster than he had ever seen a human run across level ground. You can read about my initial investigation by clicking this link.
After Rob’s sighting, I have continued to receive reports from this area. The most recent report as of this writing (summer of 2014), was in February of 2014 when steelhead fishermen had rocks thrown at them. However, there have been other rock throwing events nearby, and even a footprint find just a few years ago.
I arranged a kayak trip down the Sandy River for Bobo and I, mostly because it’s a lot of fun to float rivers. We packed the cooler with a few beers, donned our old-timey bathing suits, and plunged in. It’s one of the many favorite pastimes for local Oregonians, and I wanted Bobo to experience all he could while in town. Along the way, we say ospreys, a bald eagle, and a six-foot sturgeon. It was a lot of fun, which to me is the main point of going bigfooting in the first place.
Our final night investigation was at my best bigfoot spot, the Blueberry Bog, near Timothy Lake in the Mount Hood National Forest. This spot has produced more consistent bigfoot action than any other location I’ve ever worked, and continues to do so to this day. We enlisted the help of our friends at FLIR and obtained a roof-mounted, high-resolution, zoomable unit. Bobo would be driving the logging roads therming side to side while I would be on foot working my way through the woods off-trail.
Shortly after Bobo drove away in the SUV, I heard a short, yet clear, yell from the woods in Bobo’s direction. It couldn’t have been more than a quarter mile away. I think that one of the local sasquatches gave a warning yell that Bobo was driving in that direction. The recorder did not get the call above the noise of changing out batteries, but it was there. This was only the second vocalization I have heard at the Blueberry Bog. Most of the activity has come in the form of knocks.
When I watch the episode, I see it as a clear win for Oregon, but I’m obviously biased. Either way, though, the Pacific Northwest is the undisputed capitol of bigfooting. It was great to hit my spots for the show, and to go bigfooting with some of my best friends. At the end of the day, that is the real pleasure of bigfooting anyway. It’s not about proving this or that, making one’s name, or anything else. It’s about going out to beautiful places with great friends and enjoying your time searching for the big guys.