From Blanca Peak in
Alamosa County, Colorado to Gallup, New Mexico
You may have seen this before on another site but this is what I/we experienced 4/19/2000...I posted it earlier because I was trying to help...whomever might be researching this creature(s).
Tales from the Road Less Traveled
The following story comes straight from my truth is stranger than fiction archives. Before I get into it though, you must first realize I've been called "crazy" at least 100,000 times during my life. Not surprisingly, that's roughly 12,000 "crazies" short of the total number of miles I've run to date. To make a long story short, when I'm asked about how much I run, which happens fairly often, the typical reaction to my response is a shake of the head coupled with a, "Man, you're crazy!"
The above preface aside, last spring, a good friend of mine invited me to do a fund-raising run which would cover 300 plus miles in ten days and benefit Native American children. The route he'd planned, which had its basis in Navajo mythology, would take us from the foothills of Blanca Peak, just east of Alamosa, Colorado, to Gallup, New Mexico. And, since we've covered crazy already, in addition to being part Cherokee and wanting to do something to benefit Native causes, suffice to say I didn't hesitate a moment in agreeing to join him. After all, running 30 plus mile days for a week and a half at elevations a mile plus above sea level for a good cause just seemed like the right thing to do...
We shared a laugh the first day of the run when a Colorado rancher, who'd pulled over to offer us a lift, couldn't understand why two guys would rather go it afoot than ride shotgun in her big king cab pickup. Following a shake of her head, she sped off no doubt uttering, at the very least a couple of "crazies" before vanishing from sight. Toward the end of that first day however, with 34 miles at 7,000 plus feet having passed underfoot, it dawned on me at least that her offer had been quite generous.
On day two, a frontal system passed through and we found ourselves battling 50mph headwinds while gaining altitude. In order to combat the winds, we began running directly behind one of the two vans driven by members of our support group. The downside to this arrangement, we soon learned, was that positioned thus, running at 8,000 plus feet where there is little oxygen to begin with, the carbon monoxide from the van's exhaust was simply overwhelming. Needless to say, facing the headwinds soon proved far more desirable than inhaling carbon monoxide and the few breaks we took that day, sitting in the van out of the wind were, if not tranquil, at the very least essential in terms of maintaining sanity.
In fact, it was during one of these breaks that, my mind wandering, I asked my friend, a full blooded Navajo, what his people's history mentioned of a creature many Native Americans called Sasquatch but the tabloids call Bigfoot. His answer, which caught me totally off guard was, "Yeah...That's one of the elements of this run." Several moments passed as I waited for him to elaborate. He never did. And, sensing this wasn't the time to press the issue, I stretched out across the van's middle row of seats, nibbling on a Power Bar, my eyes surveying the mountainsides just down the road and tried to rest.
Day three dawned with the temperature around 20 degrees and a light snow falling. By 7:40 am we were climbing, seemingly straight up, toward a 10,000 plus foot mountain pass in a remote part of southern Colorado. During our first break, we stopped at a turnout well over 9,000 feet in elevation and stood, side by side, surveying the Conejos River valley far below. Blame it on fatigue, oxygen deprivation or the fabled runner's high, for me it one of those perfect moments where everything fell into place.
My fellow runner who, perhaps was feeling the same way, glanced at me, smiled and then let out a loud "Whoop!" that echoed down the mountainside in the crisp morning air. The echoes had barely begun to fade when, from within the dense woods JUST below us, came a VERY loud and threatening animalistic roar, seemingly in response to the "whoop". - Before I continue, I'd like to add that I've seen and/or encountered most land mammals living on the North American continent, including a recent close encounter during a run with a black bear in the wild. But this, I assure you, was nothing I know to exist. - Following a brief pause, there was another bone chilling roar, a pause, and then a final roar.
Based on the sheer volume and feeling that registered within me during these roars, the hair on the back of my neck stood on end and the immediate urge to relieve myself became overwhelming. However, being a somewhat rational person, I looked at my friend and in lieu of soiling my running pants, said the most intelligent thing that came to mind. Namely, "What the HELL was that?" He didn't answer but our feet did and in classic fight versus flight mode, despite the elevation and incline, we headed up the mountain at a good clip, both of us very glad, call us crazy if you will, to be runners!
The remaining days of the run passed with many new experiences befalling us but none as interesting as that morning of day three on the mountain. Further, our group, since everyone had heard it, began referring to that moment as "back when we heard Bigfoot". Interestingly enough, however, no one ever argued that point.
Upon returning home
to San Diego, I looked up a couple of Bigfoot websites and found some
that contain recordings of alleged Bigfoot screams, howls or whatever.
Well, you can call me crazy about my running because I'm used to it by
now. However, I can honestly say, whatever it was we heard on that mountain
in southern Colorado last April, sounds very close to the "howl" recorded in 1994 that appears on many Bigfoot sites.
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