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Bigfoot Encounters

Butte County, California
Sierra Nevada Range
Sly Creek Reservoir, Strawberry Valley in the Plumas National Forest

LOCATION.-Lat 39°35'01", long 121°06'59", in NE 1/4 NE 1/4 sec.19, T.20 N., R.8 E
Memorial Day weekend, 1997 4-8 p.m.

My friends and I are from Kansas.

We were camping about 20 miles up in the forest from Sly Creek Dam, - the only road that leads over the dam up to our area. We went past Devil's Gap, that's all I can remember. Anyway, we were in our tent, smoking some of California's best, when we heard fast moving thump thump sounds, - like someone running or walking. All of a sudden it stopped, and a shadow appeared over our tent, covering most of the tent.

My 40 lb Norwegian elkhound (who was outside) will normally bark at intruders or animals; he was looking up, craning his neck and not making a move, but was intently staring at something. We heard a whistle, and it repeated several times. The entrance to our tent was facing away from the shadow, and our windows were zipped shut, so we could not see in that general direction. My friend, who is a big man of 350 lbs, made several loud grunts and huffed loudly, which did not deter the shadow from moving, we (the three of us) held our breath to hear what was going on, and we could hear something breathing heavily.

My big friend decided to shoot one shot out the front of the tent, with his 22 rifle, we had bigger guns, but why deafen ourselves, right? Footsteps immediately began running away from us, with the same sound described by a hiker and his family on this website (that sent chills up and down my spine to read that).

We immediately rushed outside to see if we could see anything, all we saw were branches taller than we could reach swaying back and forth. A very strong odor was heavy in the air. We looked at each other, not knowing for sure what had happened, we though maybe it was a wild animal, but my dog should have barked like he normally does. We didn't think to look for tracks, as we didn't even think about this being a Bigfoot encounter at the time.

As the evening progressed, it seemed we heard the same sounds again and footsteps every time we lit up a bowl of marijuana. I know you think it was the drug making us think we heard sounds, but when three of us and a dog all turn our head in the same direction when we heard the sounds, it kind of makes it seem irrelevant. It seemed to us whatever it was, seemed to like the scent of marijuana.

The next day, being the white boys from Kansas that we were, decided to hike the hill to the south of us. Which coincidentally is the direction the apparition first ran to, and where all the sounds came from.

The hill had been logged many years ago, we found cedar and redwood stumps averaging 15-20 paces from end to end, with pine trees averaging 150-250 feet tall, pine cones littered the ground that were in excess of 12 inches long.

We got near the summit, which did not look to be touched, as the canopy thickened considerably, it was high noon, and we could barely see, it looked like it was about nightfall. The hackles on the back of our neck rose, as we smelled the same putrid smell we smelled earlier the last day. Our dog, did not want to advance any further, and stayed behind us with his tail stuck between his legs. This was strange, as he was in the lead the whole trip up the hill. I being the dog's owner knew this to be strange behavior for him. It had taken us about two hours to hike this far, and we were sober. I peered through the binoculars up into the crest of the hill, and what I saw made my balls leap into my throat.

I saw two eyes, looking straight back at me, the eyes looked menacing. All I saw was a hairy head with a human looking set of eyes. I muttered something to effect that there was someone watching us. I froze immediately, and my friend took the binoculars from me, and I pointed to the direction I saw the eyes. All my friend saw was a shadow moving away from us, and then we heard a loud growl/scream, sounding something like Chewbacca from star wars; that low guttural nasally growl (I'm getting Goosebumps just writing this). My friend said "lets get the f*ck outta here." We headed back down the hill, with my dog leading the way.

We reached camp in about 30 minutes; we packed all but the essentials, and decided to leave the next day. We didn't get that much sleep that night and we kept the big guns out. I'm just glad that a Ranger didn't come up to the tent that night. On the way back down the mountain passes, we came around this switchback, and there was a cow in the middle of the road with a bell tied around its neck. We wondered what this cow was doing out here in the middle of nowhere.

When we got back to the Sly Creek Dam, being Memorial Day weekend, it was packed. We saw a Ranger's vehicle, and decided to stop and get some things straight. I don't remember his name, but we asked him if there were any bears in the area. He told us that since the dam was put in, and it was tourist sight, there had not been any bears sighted in the last ten years in the area. When we asked him about the cow with the bell on it's neck, he just looked at us funny, then said they have to feed the local wildlife, so they don't come looking for food from the tourists. I then asked him if anything like a Bigfoot had been spotted, and he just looked at us, said, "Boy, what have you been smoking", and laughed. We decided not to tell anyone else for the fear that we would be laughed at and ridiculed, but being the fifth anniversary of seeing it, I decided to look into the phenomena, and found your website to be credible, and willing to listen.

I only saw the head, as the rest of the body was hidden behind a very large tree, I only saw it through 10x25 Bushnell binoculars. The head features looked like a gorilla, but the face was hairier, not having the bald features of a gorilla, but the eyes seemed like they glared right through me, they were looking right into the binoculars. Because of the immense size of the tree it was hiding behind, I estimate the head was at least 6 feet off the ground; generally anyone hiding behind a tree is bent over, so I assume the head was much taller. My friend only saw a moving shadow, but it was dark in that part of the forest. I have seen nothing like it before, except that it resembled a hairy man, or hairy-faced gorilla, and while cleaning out my grandmother's house, we found a deepfreeze that had been unplugged, when we opened it, it vaguely resembled the smell I smelled when I saw the creature. I assume the smell we smelled up in the mountains was probably rotting meat or it's breath.

The area is mountainous, with large ponderosa pines, cedars, and redwoods, which had been logged years ago, with new growth emerging, wild strawberry fields, old growth forest atop hilltops and crests. Sly Creek Dam was very high, as compared to the fall, when we returned to clean up our campsite; it was at least 20 feet lower. Pinecones littered the floor, measuring in excess of 12-15 inches long. There are small streams coming out of the mountainside, cold crystal clear water with pyrite in it (thought I was rich at first). We talked to the Sly Creek Ranger, but he scoffed it off. My friend's email is xxxx, the other friend who was with us, we broke ties with him due to legal reasons a few months later.

Russell Hawkins,
Sunday, May 26, 2002 8:32 AM