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Trinity, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, the mid 1990's

You may call me V. L. I was introduced to your website by my friend Mike. I am in his office today at the end of my vacation, and because of your website, promise to get myself a computer next week. I was the last to get a color TV, a microwave, an automatic transmission, and CD player. I will be among the last to get with it and get online.

I worked in Northern California from 1986 through 1997. I was a botanist, and was categorizing plant migration, disease, density of growth, etc. By profession, I am an entomologist and botanist. I teach at a Junior College. I did some work for a firm contracted by the U.S. forest service before getting my degrees. The work was essentially testing soil erosion, and the effect on forest floor growth after tree canopies had opened up...(the effect of the sudden influx of sunlight, rain, etc. on previously sheltered flora) I am the last of the bow-tie wearing, conservative, dare I say quirky folk up here. I have never used the net for anything other than research, preferring the dusty, leather-bound texts of my predecessors. This is great. I will show your site to friends who have had encounters of their own, but are too removed from the high-tech world to know of this wonderful forum for sharing our experiences.

I spent many nights in the woods, usually traveling on horseback, or, when possible, by 4-wheel drive. The following are the stories of two encounters I had in the '90's.

I was hiking on this particular morning in September of 1990, along a creek, and checking growth of certain plants along the high-water mark.

I found some footprints just off the creek which made my skin crawl. They were human in appearance, but much larger.

I measured the 5 prints that were the best, and found them to be 19" in length, and nearly 7" across.

I have heard all of the woodsmen's stories and Indian legends about a Bigfoot type creature, but having spent 20 plus years in the north woods, and never had even a sniff, I dismissed them all as folklore, or tales born of drinking by the fire. This, however, was not dismissible.

I had been about 20 miles east and south of Eureka for 2 days and had not seen a soul. Something was here, and left evidence. I looked around, and saw nothing out of place...birds were all over and nothing seemed amiss. I cursed myself for leaving my camera at my office. I made a mental note of the prints, and proceeded downstream for about 1/4 mile to where the creek I was on flowed into another.

As I came to the confluence, I looked to the spit of land between the creeks, and saw what I thought was a huge tree stump in the bushes. It MOVED! I was probably 100 yards from it, and it was a creature...a human/gorilla/giant. I guessed it to be 7 feet tall, and it was facing away from me. It appeared to be watching something on the other side of the creek.

I crouched down behind a tree and watched it for 4 or 5 minutes. It moved to it's left, and went forward into the brush. After about 5 minutes, I crossed the creek to my left, and went to where it was. It was gone, and had to cross the creek to get past me. I could see where it came out of the creek on the other side, but the creek bed was gravel, and prints were impossible to see. The terrain on the other was steep and wooded, certainly difficult for a human to climb, but there was no other route but up, and the creature seemed to negotiate it quickly and quietly. I sat for about an hour, and absorbed it all, before hiking the 2 hours back to my truck.

The second encounter: It was only about 5 miles further east from encounter # 1, a total of approx 35 miles s/se of Eureka, and was the day after my daughter's 3rd B-day 11-17-95.

I was camping with my 2 hunting hounds about 30 miles s/se of Eureka, California. The dogs were the pick of my "herd" of hunting dogs, the 2 smartest and best behaved.

I had pitched a tent about 50 paces off a creek, which was running pretty well after 2 days of rain. The date was Nov 11, 1995, just after my daughter's birthday. My dogs were trained to the point where they would not randomly run off after a bird or animal, and were not leashed. One of them, Zeke, would occasionally sit up, listen, and sniff, when there was apparently nothing to see or hear. After dinner, and a fire, I packed it in, probably 9 pm. I was awakened by a scream of some kind...a deep, screeching, growling scream. It seemed to be close, within 100 yards.

The dogs were sitting up and alert, but not nearly as scared as I was. I had a 9 mil pistol at the ready, hoping that I would never have to use it in self-defense. Funny about that...that's exactly what I bought it for, and here I am hoping not to have to draw it. The scream had my heart racing, but there was no more noise. I know there was no more noise, because I didn't sleep after that.

I thought I heard another scream about 7 am, but it was hard to tell; I was standing over a good-sized fire. The dogs were not themselves, pacing, pointing, out of sorts. I got the feeling that something was up but couldn't put my finger on it. I tethered them to a tree, and set off down to the creek to wash my coffee mug out. I got the feeling that I was being watched, and as I came up out of my crouch at the creek, I saw, big-as-life, across the creek was a creature standing in some brush, looking at me. I had seen one 5 years earlier, but never saw the front. This guy was at least 7 feet tall, with a huge torso, little or no neck, and arms like Yule logs. It couldn't have been more than 75 yards from me. It was upwind, and I smelled a stink unlike any other. I never got a whiff of the first creature I saw, but this thing smelled like rotting meat wrapped in an old, wet, moldy carpet.

I stepped back, and never took my eyes off him. He stepped back into the low growth, we looked at each other for about a minute then he disappeared. I remember the dark hair, with little around the eyes and mouth. I remember the extremely powerful build, and the absolute silence in which he disappeared. I was going to ford the creek and check out where he had been, but the water was really moving, and I didn't risk it. They DO exist. They ARE there.

I will never again camp or hike without a camera on my belt or in my hand. I had a camera with me, but it was with my gear, not accessible. Since then, I have had 4 or 5 vocal encounters, in Trinity, Del Norte, and Humboldt Counties. I spend most of my time up here, and will always be ready for another encounter.

Signed by V.L. (witness information withheld)
Wednesday, January 02, 2002 9:52 AM