Bigfoot Encounters

Be More Observant

by Joe Beelart, West Linn, Oregon March 2010

This is the story about an unreported Bigfoot sighting which occurred about 20 air miles SSE of Estacada, Oregon in the Mt. Hood National Forest South Ranger District.  The major landmark in the area is Mt. Lowe which lies about 1 air mile SSW of the sighting in Clackamas County, Oregon.

{Driving from downtown Portland to Estacada takes about an hour.  It takes about two hours to drive to the site from Estacada.  Be very cautious about on-coming traffic, especially in curves.  Do not speed on Forest Service roads.}

The men involved don't want to be named.  I don't think names are especially important anyway since I am going to provide the exact GPS location of the incident.  Photographs of the creature were not taken.  The approximate date of the incident was late July 2005  

{My notebook from back then is packed in one of the storage boxes so I can't give the exact date.  Since this incident was imprinted in my mind I can type most details about it from memory.  Plus, I have been back to the site several times.} 

Two men were with me on the outing.  One is a tenured Ph.D. in a highly technical and statistically oriented field of science.  He works and teaches at a university which is highly respected in his specialty.  This was his second time up the hill with me.  For convenience, let's call this Ph.D. scientist “Man Number One” {MN1}. 

MN1's first time up the hill with me/us was a summer previous.  That venture was into southern Washington State in the vicinity of the Skookum cast site.  That summer, he had an inexperienced computer whiz along with him who created quite a humorous and serious story in his own right. 

MN1 has had a long interest in Bigfoot, but with vigor, avoids public association with the subject.  As I remember, his interest in our area was originally based on his finding the website George McAdams put up about our 1999 “adventures.” 

{ See: } 

{The “bfjournal” web location may soon change, but the Bigfoot Sasquatch Field Notes / bfjournal designations will remain the same.} 

The second man was close to obtaining his Ph.D. degree in a biological science from a prestigious university.  He has since succeeded and is well into his early career.  Please let me label him “Man Number Two” {MN2}.  MN2 seemed to have accompanied MN1 for a summer vacation with an accomplished person of science.  MN2 had extensive outdoor experience, unlike the computer genius of the earlier year. 

The Location 

The location of the incident is vitally important, at least to me.  It basically happened at the base of a very steep cliff which is about 600' below Glen Thomas' sighting of three Bigfoots in October 1967.  It happened at the switch back approximately one mile SW of Tarzan Springs on Forest Service Road 4670. 

We camped in the road maintenance gravel pit on the west side of the road.  Behind it about 200 yards is the spring source of Lowe Creek.  Lowe Creek flows past the site on the north running alongside the road.   

GPS coordinates from Google Earth follow.  I strongly encourage anyone who has the capability to use Google Earth to do so. 

Thomas site about 600' up a very steep slope to NE:  44 58 49 40 N

el: 4832'                                                                       121 57 48 97 W 

Tarzan Springs:          44 58 44 68 N

el: 4229'                     121 57 37 14 W 

Site of the observations within about 100 yards:      44 58 04 53 N

el. 4230'                                                                      121 58 11 69 W 

Site of the maintenance gravel site:  44 57 58 34 N

el. 4264'                                              121 58 14 32 W 

Approximate location of Lowe springs:        44 57 53 40 N

el. 4366'                                                          121 58 16 26 W 

The site of the “high rock quarry:”    44 58 13 73 N

el. 4439'                                              121 58 14 32 W 

Approximate location of intersection to go up hill:  44 57 59 26 N

el. 2319'                                                                      121 53 15 70 W 

Beware; this is not an area for casual tourist driving.  Over the last ten years I have had telephone calls from: {1} a person with a stick through a radiator, {2} a person with a hole knocked in an oil pan, {3} personally helped to get out a very well maintained pickup truck with a broken suspension, {4} an idiot who ran out of gas and actually had to walk 10 miles until he found a good soul with a jerry can and some time to get him up to his car -- as if that was my fault, {5} a woman who became very lost and had to spend a night and part of day finding her way out, and {6} another party who became lost and took most of a day to get back down to a “main” road. 

This is also a lawless area.  Vandalism, theft from parked vehicles, and gas siphoning is not rare; it is frequent.  Many people you may meet up there are armed and unpleasant.  There is no cell phone service.  To get in cell phone range requires about an hour drive, and that is only if you know where to go to get reception.  

The nearest “main” road is over seven miles away.  There is no cell phone service there.  Police and ambulance are an absolute minimum of 2 hours away after being called. 

During weekdays – not in hunting season – it is usual to spend over a day in this area without seeing another vehicle or person.  Local rednecks seem to enjoy slashing out-of-state tire valve stems, especially on California vehicles.  One fellow bitched at me about a $350 tow job because of cut tires.  Again, I didn't tell him to go up there.  So, beware. 

Back to the story … mid-morning we met near the road intersection of Hwy 46 and Forest Service road 4670 in Big Bottom.  I'd spent the night up the hill at one of my favorite haunts, “the high rock quarry.”  We drove back up the hill, had sandwiches in a nice wind quiet warm sunwashed place and then wandered around until about 4 PM. 

I encouraged camping in the high rock quarry, but they wanted to be a little lower, in a more sheltered place, so we settled on the maintenance gravel pit about ½ mile SW of Tarzan Springs. 

It's a good spot.  To the west is the cliff climbing toward Burnt Granite and the Thomas site.  To the south is an area logged some 20 years ago that's full of regrowth.  To the east, directly across the road is the area of interest in this paper.  The elbow was logged maybe ten years ago and beyond it, the forest was logged probably 30 years ago, so there was the gravel pit, then a gravel road, then some low regrowth and beyond that, perhaps 30'-40' regrowth.  To the left of the regrowth was Lowe Creek.  Beyond that was the cliff up to Burnt Granite. 

Behind us, some hundreds of yards back { west } was Saddle Springs.  Just to the east and SE was a patch of old growth fir, but at that altitude, the trees weren't huge, just big and wonderful.  It is a place one of my tree-hugger friends loves to visit. 

At Camp 

We set up camp in the gravel pit.  Think of an oblong balloon partly full of air: at the base was the way in and as the balloon slightly raised, was a good place on the gravel to settle in for the night.  The old growth is on the right going in.  I parked my truck there, next to a game trail and as normal, quickly made my camp bed in the open truck bed. 

At the top center of the gravel balloon, we set up the table, chairs, camp stove, and set out the ice chests.  They parked their little RV next to the camp set.  My friend from the year previous and I basically just occupied ourselves talking, drank some scotch, etc.  The Ph.D. candidate took his notebook and walked around observing; also taking some libation … I think it might have been designer beer. 

He seemed very interested in the low regrowth across from our camp.  He took a director's chair, a pair of small binoculars and situated himself, occasionally coming back for another beer from the cooler.  He watched and watched until the intensity of his observations became noticeable to my acquaintance and me, but we really paid little attention, what with having to wander in the old growth, etc. 

MN1 showed me how to operate the exceptional thermal imager he'd check out from the university science laboratory.  I got the fire ready.  After a while longer, I { we } had supper ready.  Whatever had kept MN2's interest apparently subsided.  But, MN2 had become very quiet.  He was thinking about something.

Yet, he was ready to eat and drink.  We all were.  Food and drink tastes especially good at altitude after a pleasant day.  We talked.  Just after sunset the cool set in.  I had the fire ready and lit it, but for me to take a short nap so I could spend most of the night awake.  After a couple of hours I woke up.  It was really dark.  We couldn't see stars to the north because of the cliff.  To the south, they burst from the night sky. 

I always try to get people with me to go for a night walk.  If campmates won't go, I do.  But my friends were ready.  It was easy going on the gravel road.  We had no moon.  No matter, at that altitude the Zodiac glow is enough for a gravel road.  We walked well past Tarzan Springs and then back.  There is little more comforting than the sound of boot soles slightly crunching gravel.  When we stopped, there was no sound.  None. 

Since we walked by the elbow with the low regrowth twice in the dark, without using flashlights, and were quietly talking, it is possible we attracted the attention of some creature in the trees.  By the next morning, we thought this highly probable for several reasons.   

{This was not the first, and I doubt the last time I've probably been trailed or watched by one of Our Barefoot Friends while walking a long ways on forest roads in the dark.  Another remarkable incident of this kind happened near Lemiti Butte in the summer of 2008 when I was out with well-traveled Bigfooter David Mann.  My only real worry is stepping in a pot hole and twisting an ankle, or perhaps having a run-in with a cougar.  For both, I use a hiking staff – not a stick or one of the aluminum poles, it's a staff.} 

It took us well over an hour to make the walk.  How do I know?  The fire still had embers, but was about out.  We sat and talked.  MN1 said he'd been on hikes like that where people would have seen fifteen Bigfoots.  I avoid people like that. 

With my experience, in the USMC and up the hill, I said I thought we'd seen lots of gently blowing trees and shrubs.  It was pretty late, maybe 12:30 PM.  For some reason, I was again ready for my bedroll.  So were they.  In we went; me to the back of my pickup and they into the little RV. 

A Walk Through 

About 1:30 { I have a solar powered watch I keep at my side, along with a flashlight, my .357, a roll of toilet paper, and some handy-wipes … anyway, I'd checked the time. }  I heard one of my companions making big urine in the gravel.  In fact, I thought it was the biggest urine into gravel I could ever think of, but I was tired and dozed, but didn't go to sleep. 

Well, damn if I didn't hear footsteps across the gravel to below my truck.  “Oh well,” I thought, “one of them is just looking at the stars.” 

Then the footsteps started up the animal trail to my pickup.  Now, I became attentive, very attentive and wide awake.  For some reason, I figured it was for my betterment to not move a muscle. 

The footfalls were definitely much longer, and more purposeful than those a bored Ph.D. or Ph.D. candidate would make.  They stopped by the side of my pickup bed.  I was looking up at the stars, trying to force myself not to move.  “It” was looking down at me, breathing.  I was looking straight up, hardly breathing. 

Whatever it was took deep meaningful breaths.  I knew it was looking at me.  I knew something that tall could reach in and pick me up like a rag doll, which was not a comforting thought.  I knew it was not MN1 or MN2; much too tall for to be one of them.  In fact, I didn't give a damn what it was so long as it would go away. 

I had already felt for my .357; small comfort.  Should I rise up, shine my flashlight on it and get choked and thrown into the woods like an apple core?  Hardly; in fact, I regressed to some of my USMC training and tried to keep my eyes as shut as possible, yet wide open …. nothing.  The beast had the dark of the tall old growth behind it … rotten bastard … SOB knew its terrain and all that. 

Well, after a while it walked off up the trail.  The footfalls were long, it didn't take long before I couldn't hear them.  I carefully rolled out of my bedroll, slipped on my moccasins, and made my way up to the camp table.  MN1 had put the thermal imager on the table under a towel if one of us wanted to use it in the night.  I looked at the little RV.  Dark, quiet.  I looked at the thermal imager in the Zodiac glow.  I felt for the switch … it clicked on. 

The first thing I noticed was the heat signature of the engine of my truck and the brake pads on that side of the truck.  I swung the aperture into the forest.  “There!  An image.  Something tall and thin!”  We'd tried the imager earlier in the night to look for false positives.  This was not a rock, etc.  Maybe it was a late blooming tree stump; but, not likely. 

A quick look showed me a heat line running from just beside the ice chests, running down the quarry slope, to an end about 30' away.  Only later with a spotlight would we see the “drill hole” the beast made beside the ice chests when it urinated. 

“Enough!  I have to get them up!” 

What the hell is with people that they won't wake up in the night when something's going on.  I've always noticed it.  Generally, it's during the first couple of hours after someone goes to sleep.  I shook and shook the side of their little RV.  I beat on the windows; finally, a groggy answer. 

Poot, up came the door and out they came, boxers, tee shirts, bare legs, bare foots and all.  I know they were barefooted because of the “#$%&” as bare feet hit the gravel. 

“Shut Up!” I quietly said.  They obeyed.  “Here.” 

They looked through the night scope.  “Hmm.”  “You want to go out there?”  “No.”  “Hay man, it's dark.”  Even a Ph.D. of quality has common sense.  My thoughts were, “you go, OK?  Not me, no siree, not me.” 

MN1, “should we use the spotlight?”  We quickly, and very quietly decided the power light would only yield a quick glimpse, if that, given the number of trees and bushes.  Besides, the “stick” figure in the thermal imager was moving away from us to the NE.  Soon, the image was gone. 

MN1 and MN2 then appropriated the thermal imager and began a study of the area.  It seemed obvious from the heat signature of its footprints the creature had come out of the low reproduction, crossed the road, walked over the low gravel berm separating the pit from the road and up to the ice chest where it had mightily relieved itself. 

Then it strode below my pickup, and using shorter steps, walked up along side my pickup bed.  There was a large heat sink from the creature's footprints where it stopped to look me over as I was “sleeping” in the back of the truck. 

Then, it walked 50'-60' up the trail and veered right into the old growth along the creek.  That is where we saw the tall thermal image. 

Since there wasn't a heat image in the forest, we walked down to the road and scanned from the road with no luck.  The creature had vanished. 

By now, it was about 3:30 AM and the silver sheen of very early light was just edging into the sky.  We all went back to our bedrolls and by all accounts slept well.  I got up about 7 and started the coffee in my first-class, wonderful, magnificent Cabela's percolator coffee pot.  {Have I ever mentioned how highly I think of my Cabela's coffee pot?} 


Since it was the last morning for me up the hill, I got out the fry pan and cooked up a bunch of bacon, opened a jar of canned peaches, and some other stuff, but cooked no eggs.  I don't fry eggs up the hill, even in fresh hot, spackling bacon grease; I bring hard boiled eggs in the Dahinden tradition, but that's a story for another time.  My campmates seemed to respond to the scent of frying bacon.  They were soon up and at the coffee pot. 

We marveled at the drill hole in the gravel where the creature relieved itself.  We roughly measured how far down the slope the urine traveled under the gravel.  We walked the creature's route.  I laughed at my scare.  If I'd jumped up, shined my flashlight on the beast, it probably would have simply walked off, maybe. 

In the forest duff, there were plenty of 16”-17” imprints, but nothing to cast.  A few years before, in the early summer, Steve found an old but distinct track way of tracks approaching 17” long near Tarzan Springs.  Could it be the same creature? 

Just after we had packed up camp, which doesn't take long, MN2 came over to my pickup with his notebook.  He said he wasn't going to give me something but after the “excitement” of last night, he decided he should. 

He carefully separated a page.  “I drew this yesterday afternoon.”  It was a detailed sketch of a Sasquatch standing beside a tree.  He pointed to the far edge of the regrowth area, next to the bigger trees.  “It was watching us from over there,” he said. 

He gently chided me, “You should be more observant.” 

I asked him why he didn't call us over for a look.  He said he wasn't sure why, maybe it was because if the creature felt it was an attraction it would go away.  Besides, he said he only got glimpses of it, the creature was very shy. 

“Why didn't you photograph it?”  His reply was succinct, “Because I didn't want my career to end before it started.”  From his quiet, firm tone, it was clear MN2 had thought about photography. 

“Has MN1 seen this sketch?”  “No.  It's just for you and me.  Now it's yours.” 

I was perplexed by MN2's secrecy, but he seemed comfortable with it, so that was that.  Whether he told MN1 about his sighting later during their travels, I don't know. 

After I lead them down into Big Bottom to meet Thom Powell, I drove back up the hill to walk the edge of the regrowth.  Due to thick forest duff, all I saw were indistinct imprints made by something heavy. 


One: since 1998 I have often walked the Tarzan Springs area and camped in what I call “the high rock quarry.”  The high rock quarry is about ½ mile SE of the gravel pit central to this story.  It is higher on the hill and has an expansive view.  Plus it is protected on two sides so creatures can easily watch what's happening in the quarry. 

Two: once I decided to find out how “Tarzan Springs” was named.  I started with a letter to the USFS, which led to a long list of telephone calls and letters that culminated almost a year later in a call to me by a woman who worked with USGS in Colorado. 

She said that while it was not official, there is a notation in an old notebook made in the early 1920's when surveyors went through the area to cruise timber and layout logging roads.  Apparently when they neared the springs, they found an old prospector living with a band of ape-men.  Edgar Rice Burroughs's book “Tarzan” had been out for several years by then, so they named the place “Tarzan Springs.”

© Joe Beelart, 2010

Back to Biology?

Back to Stories?
Back to Bigfoot Encounters Main page
Back to Newspaper & Magazine Articles
Back to Bigfoot Encounters "What's New" page

Portions of this website are reprinted and sometimes edited to fit the standards
of this website under the Fair Use Doctrine of International Copyright Law
as educational material without benefit of financial gain.
This proviso is applicable throughout the entire Bigfoot Encounters Website