Field Notes – Washington Cascades
The Washington episode of Finding Bigfoot was filmed in the middle of March, 2011. It was the last of five episodes we filmed during February and March, so we were well polished and comfortable with the gig by that time. I believe it shows on screen.
The centerpiece of our investigations in southwest Washington was the Silver Star Mountain photographs. Avid hiker, and friend of the ‘squatch, Randee Chase took three pictures of what might very well be a sasquatch sitting on the top of Silver Star Mountain, just east of Vancouver, WA. He didn’t know what he photographed at the time, and honestly still doesn’t. Randee and I have become friends over the last couple years, and I have had the opportunity to go to the top of Silver Star with him on at least three occasions. The more I look into his photographs, the more I am convinced that they indeed show a bigfoot. These same photos where the subject of my presentation at the 2010 Oregon Sasquatch Symposium, and that presentation can be seen on the DVDs. It should be noted that I have since taken more accurate measurements and have slightly reduced, but I still firmly hold that these photographs show a sasquatch.
The trip to Silver Star on the 1962 huey helicopter was one of the most spectacular experiences of my life. The helicopter had been restored to near-mint condition. I have to say “near-mint” because there were still bullet holes visible in the interior from its service in the Vietnam War. The top of Silver Star that day had epic seeing conditions, but a nasty wind that brought the temperatures down to below freezing with the wind chill factor. Though I had four or five layers of clothing on, they did little to shield my face from the biting cold. Having a second helicopter there to take heroic shots didn’t help keep me warm, either. More than once, the second helicopter zoomed up to us and almost knocked us off our feet with its prop wash.
Landing on the saddle of Silver Star was sketchy, to say the least, but not nearly as much as taking off. When it was time to leave, we hovered about five feet off the ground, moved fifteen feet forward, and plunged downwards 500 feet until we circumnavigated the two peaks of Silver Star and flew back to the airport on the Lewis River.
As usual, we filmed so much more than could ever be shown in the 44 minute episodes. We spent several hours filming the two hunters’ encounter, including where they finally had had enough of being stalked by this loud, growling creature and turned tail back to the vehicles. James’ fishing encounter itself took three or more hours to film, but he received little screen time. Such is television, though.
Our adventures on the lake were interesting, to say the least. The remote controlled goose cam idea was fun, but technical problems nearly stopped us from being able to deploy it at all. I also found the electric motor to be too loud for my taste. I keep joking that perhaps for season two we can get crayfish cams, since a fully submerged motor would be harder to hear.
The canoe blind was also a good idea in premise. It turned out to be a little to bulky to easily navigate. Though the thing had two stabilizers and would be fairly difficult to capsize, that didn’t alleviate much of the fear Ranae and I felt. The water was bitterly cold, and with all the blind and camouflage material ready to entangle us if we went in, we knew we were floating in a death trap. It helped our nagging fears to have my regular field partner, Will Robinson, a minute or two away in his jet boat monitoring us on a thermal imager, ready to save our lives if needed.
Overall, I don’t have any real complaints about this episode. What you see is what you get, and all of it pretty much happened the way it was shown. The howls were real. The mumbling voices at the base of Silver Star really were heard by Matt and Bobo, but time didn’t allow us to investigate the area for two nights. Southwest Washington still has bigfoots in it, and not far at all from Vancouver, WA. That’s why I live a stone’s throw away.