The sun beat down on my tent viciously. I always seem to forget to set up my sleeping quarters in what will be the morning shade. I guess that’s what I get for setting up tents well after dark. Still, with bedtimes averaging 3 am, the early morning sun seems more like an unwanted guest than the source of all life on Earth. Oh well, up mine.
I brewed a morning cup of joe, and soon found out that where I was camping was really more of a trail than a campsite. The ATV that came rumbling up from behind some downed logs was a little of a surprise. A man, probably in his 30’s (and whose name escapes me), and his 7 or 8 year-old daughter riding in tandem stopped their mechanical mount and turned off the engine in my camp. They greeted me kindly, and asked if I was scouting for elk. Once again, I dropped the “BF bomb” on them and told them I was a bigfooter…and of course this guy had a story too, as so many folks do!
When this man was just a boy, he tagged along on a hunting trip to the bottom of Mill Creek Watershed. The hunting party ran across footprints in the creek that were huge. “If they weren’t bigfoot tracks, I don’t know what else they could have been,” is what the man said to me about the clear impressions. We chatted a bit more before the two rode off into the dusty morning.
My plan for the day was to drive southwards to Tollgate, OR. There is a cafe in Tollgate that reportedly has several bigfoot casts on the wall, including the original Tollgate cast as detailed on my website. Where there are casts, you’ll eventually find me, so I headed off down the lousy, dusty road. I stopped at several springs long the way to look for sasquatch footprints, but found none. There were many footprints of numerous other species, though. Just no bigfoots….
I veered off of the more direct route to Tollgate at one point to stop at two springs that caught my attention on the map. One was Skookum Springs, and the other was Wild Woman Springs. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m a big fan of squatchy geographical names, and your really can’t get names more squatchy than these. Still, the above statement that I found no bigfoot footprints remains true, no matter how squatchy the springs were. I guess the urge to visit these spots comes from the bigfoot tourist inside of me.
My gas level was slightly below a quarter of a tank when I pulled into the Tollgate Store. This was not only the location of the first gas pump I saw, but it was the location of the bigfoot footprint casts too. On the wall the establishment had a number of casts on display. There was the Tollgate cast, Dermals (given to the place by none other than Dr. Grover Krantz), the Marx hand print, and two casts I had not seen before. One was attributed to a man named Kevin Lindley. The cast was taken near Tiger Canyon and Skyline Road (which would put it at a place called “Tiger Saddle,” a site of several other bigfoot cast events) on June 12, 1987. The other, which the store’s owner said was an admitted fabrication by another man, was noted to have been found in the Walla Walla Watershed. Much to my chagrin, all of these casts had been screwed into the walls by the previous owners. It broke my heart to see the original Tollgate cast (one of my favorites) literally screwed into the wall. At least I got to see it.