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The Yeti of Lake Iliamna, Alaska
"Fear In Iliamna"
By Dan Bates

The author describes his personal encounter the legend of Yeti that some local fishermen believe inhabit the Katmai National Park / Lake Iliamna region near King Salmon, Alaska.

When in Iliamna, do as the Iliamnian’s do. "Tim," I said incredulously, "you want me to sleep under there?" He was pointing at the console of the flying bridge of his 32-foot Bristol Bay fishing boat. It was either that or on the beach.

As far as I was concerned we were hopelessly lost in one of a myriad of convolutions of Lake Iliamna, Alaska, and I was half spooked by the solitude. We had traveled all day, and the only humans we had encountered was a couple in a kayak.

Now, around the campfire, my old high school buddy, Tim, had told me about the yeti that had climbed aboard his boat one night when he was nosed up to the beach and alone on the lake near this very spot.

He described how he had heard a bump on the hull as he slept, and felt the boat move. Like someone climbing aboard on a perfectly still and windless and deserted lake.

In the morning there were fresh sandy footprints on the deck. "They live," he said, "in the valley just behind us." He stopped talking. "Shhhhh! Listen!" he said. My hair stood up on my neck. I listened.

Earlier in the day we had surprised a moose standing knee deep in the shallows munching water grass. He seemed unconcerned about our presence, and only ambled off into the willows after we had drifted within 100 feet.

Human visitors were rare in this neck of the lake. There could be a band of yeti here, off shoots I figured of the Abominable Snow Men of Siberia that had migrated here with the mastodons when this part of Alaska was connected to Russia by a narrow strip of land.

So when he pointed to the bridge of the boat, I was happy to comply. I squeezed myself in, wrapped in my old down sleeping bag, and watched the clear, starry sky over Lake Iliamna. And relished the fear.

Dan Bates