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Pacific Crest Trail, Mt. Hood Oregon 1976

In October of 1976 I was living in Portland Oregon. Around the middle of the month I decided to go backpacking in the Cascades. My planned route was to go south on the Pacific Crest Trail starting at Mt. Hood and going south as far as my time would allow.

Passing Mt. Hood, I parked at the trailhead for the PCT a few miles down the road. It was mid-afternoon, time enough to get to my first night camp at Frog Lake some miles South. The afternoon passed uneventfully until dusk when I was drawing near the lake. I was a little anxious as the sun began to set. The trail was wide keeping it visible as it cut across the North Slope of the mountain. Thick forest went up slope on my right and steeply down on my left.

In the growing gloom I soon heard something down the slope that caught my attention. There were some 'wood' sounds, which I supposed were preparations for a campfire. Then I heard some voices but I couldn't make them out. I stopped to keep my pack from creaking and called out, 'Hey how far is the lake?' there followed dead silence for a couple of minutes. As I waited puzzled by the lack of response, the voices started again. This time I listened carefully.

The wood sounds were not of dry wood being broken or snapped, as you would hear at a campfire but a rending, shearing sound as if branches were being torn from trees. The voices themselves spoke some kind of language...a fast silebant (sp.) speech something like pigeon English or the highlander dialect of New Guinea. The pitch of the 2 or 3 voices was at the lowest human range, or even lower. This recognition took a couple of quick seconds and the hair on my neck stood up straight as porcupine quills. I made a fast pace down the trail, looking back every once in a while. I finally I saw the lake with one lonely little campfire flickering in the last shadows of daylight. I made straight for it. I asked the person if he cared if I camped nearby. He said no and asked me if I wanted to come on over for a cup of coffee. Sure. We got talking and soon I mentioned my experience coming down the trail. He went silent as he listed to my tale. His eyes got large as he said, 'You heard it too?' He had been terrified for some time before I arrived. At that moment we both were reduced to a couple of fearful cub scouts shivering and alone in the forest. Byron
Tuesday, May 30, 2000 11:26 AM