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Alpine County, California
Sierra Nevada Mountains Ebbetts Pass, 1973

In August of 1973, I had a terrible experience on a camping trip. I lived in Oakland, California at the time and my boyfriend, John and I decided to take a long week-end camping trip in the Sierra Nevada Mtn. of CA. We took Hwy 4 until we got to Ebbetts Pass, which is about 8-9000 ft high and close to the Nevada border. At that altitude, the road was very narrow and not well maintained. We were in a very lonely place and encountered no other traffic. The place we chose to camp was on a granite outcrop on a mountain side that had just enough thin soil to put tent stakes in. The granite was bisected by the highway. The mountain sloped away to a meadow beneath us and some sparse forest. On the other side of the road was a single line of young pines and then the mountain rose steeply from there. It was all loose gravel and rocks and boulders because we were right at the timber line.

By the time it was dark, we already had the tent up and a fire going. John took a flashlight and went to the meadow below because he said we needed more wood. I was sitting by the fire, feeling utterly miserable with a raging cold that took over during the trip. After about 10 minutes sitting by myself, I became aware of something circling the campfire, taking care to stay beyond the circle of light so that I could not see what, or who it was. Occasionally I could hear a stealthy foot fall or a twig snapping. Then I could hear very low, soft, gutteral breathing noises. Whatever it was, it kept circling and I got very frightened. I took up a branch with fire on the end and as it circled the fire, I turned, following it's direction, holding the branch out like a weapon. I never did see anything. I yelled for John and there was no answer. It occurred to me that whatever, or whoever was circling the fire had gotten John. A few minutes later, John showed up and I told him what happened. We thought it was bear. I must say here that John was not the type to pull practical jokes.

We had hot dogs for dinner, which I couldn't taste or smell because of my raging cold. After about two hours at our campsite, other travelers arrived. They had one of those vans that had an awning that pulled out for camping. They camped about 40-50 feet away from us, setting up a table and chairs. I think they chose the place because we were already there and it was impossible to find any thing in the dark. At that time, there were no campgrounds in the vicinity, at least to my knowledge. We politely ignored each other. We settled down for the night in our tent. The ground was very hard and uncomfortable. I don't know how long we had been asleep. I was awakened by the most bloodcurdling sound I had ever heard. If you can imagine combining the roars of an elephant and an African lion, you would be close to describing this sound. Then I heard heavy THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! sounds, with it reverberating in the granite beneath us. The roars continued and it was getting closer. I realized the thumping sounds were the foot steps of the creature and then it dawned on me with horror, that the foot steps sounded bipedal. The other campers heard it too and they threw everything into their van and burned rubber getting out of there.

Whatever it was, it was coming closer and closer and it seemed to me to be enraged. I was so frightened that I was shaking uncontrollably and tears were streaming down my face. I tried to get John to start the car, and he wouldn't budge. (it occurred to me later that John was petrified with fear) Rocks were rolling down the mountain slope and we could hear timber snapping. We could also hear low growling noises. It got to the road directly opposite us and we could hear loud cracking noises. And then, mercifully, a lone car appeared on the highway, it's lights scaring off whatever it was. It ran up the mountain, roaring in rage, the ground beneath us vibrating with it's very running step. We stayed up the rest of the night and it never came back. I tried to get John to leave; it was his car we were in., but he refused. The next morning we did see a black bear that went ambling past us, completly indifferent to us.

I had the presence of mind to look for foot prints, but found none. However, a young pine across the road from us, which was about 10-12 feet tall had been broken off at about three feet up from the

Five years later,in 1978, I was persuaded to tell my story to someone introduced to me by the name of George, who lived in Oakland. [the late George Hass?] George told me had been researching Bigfoot for many years. When I told him what happened, he asked if I happened to be having my period at the time of the trip. I replied yes, and he told me that a Bigfoot had been attracted to us because of that. He believed everything I said and told me my experience was a classic Bigfoot encounter, or words to that effect. I did not stay in touch with George and I don't know what happened to him.

This experience was really frightening and I would rarely talk of it. I have seen documentaries about Bigfoot and this had made me recall my experience. Some research has now made me a confirmed
armchair "Bigfooter". I've read alot about the stench of Bigfoot. I think the reason I did not smell anything on that camping trip was because of the severe cold I had. I remember being very disappointed that I could not taste the hot dogs! I live in Modesto, CA and it would not be difficult for me to get to Ebbetts Pass again. I think I may do that soon.

You have my permission to include this account of of my trip in your newsletter. Please do not reveal my e-mail address. Thank you for "listening" and all your hard work.

Mary Brown
Modesto, California
Submitted Sunday, January 06, 2002 12:21 AM