A long, long look at a Bigfoot!
By Vance Orchard
WALLA WALLA --- Except for the 1967 filming by Roger Patterson, there is not much to support belief in the existence of a Bigfoot, other than the telling of experiences by persons claiming to have seen one. And, there are thousands of such experiences that would fill a big book on the subject.
A lot of those experiences have come in recent years from the Blue Mountains and especially in the high country just a few miles east of Dixie, a town of a couple hundred people on U.S. Highway 12, some 10 miles east of Walla Walla.
This column has recounted many of those stories, related by the observers and they are a part of the cloth into which is woven the documentation for a Bigfoot in these parts. We have interviewed many who were firm disbelievers before their experience but are now firmly entrenched on the side of the believers in this creature.
A most unique interview was done the other day when Bill Laughery and I met the man who had a long, long look at one and right up close. The distance separating man and beast was close enough that features and expressions on the Bigfoot’s face were plain for the observer. Bill had heard of the man’s encounter and convinced him he should tell it for a reporter to do a story. Convincing the man to meet us on the Blacksnake Ridge road recently was not easy but the story needed telling so he agreed.
“But no name,” the man asked, recounting some of the ridicule he had received when a story of his encounter leaked to his “buddies.” So, we’ve gone along with that and he suggested the nickname of “Jack the Logger.” What Jack had to say about the Bigfoot he met on the mountain road with truckload of logs makes for one of the best Bigfoot stories I’ve yet recorded.
His trip that afternoon off the mountain, headed towards Dixie, was to prove the highlight for Jack of some 45 years of trucking logs. Jack probably knows more about Blacksnake and Biscuit ridges than most people. He said he makes two or three trips per day when he’s hauling logs and this counts a lot of days when he has to put on chains at the top, and take them off when he gets out of snow.
And, Jack could probably give a good count of deer and elk in those parts as well. But, these days … ever since the late November of 1998 … he has been eying the landscape for Bigfoot!
Jack first spotted the Bigfoot when it was seen on an open slope some three fourths of a mile away, but he didn’t realize what the moving object was. Jack says he estimated about where on the road he would likely cross its path.
“All that time, I’m wondering what kind of animal it was,” he said. “It never entered my mind that it was going to be a Bigfoot.” As his rig came into the curve at the end of a long grade in the road, the two met, with only about 40-45 yards separating them!
“As I got there and saw him,” Jack said, “ I stopped my truck and shut off the motor. He was standing there in a heavy, tufted grassy area, just standing and looking at me. We both eyeballed each other real good.
“Pretty soon … I was close enough I could see his facial expressions … he didn’t look like an ape in the face, more like man features but hairy in the face. I would say he had a nose but not much. The skin was black and his hair color was like this (and he pulls a smoky-blue ski hat out of his truck cab). He was about this color and had gray hairs showing like an old dog will get around his nose.
“Anyway, while he was standing there, the expression on his face changed three or four times. That led me to believe that man may not be the only animal that has reasoning. This old boy was thinking and every time he’d go to a different train of thought, his expression would change.” Bill asked if Jack could see its eyes. “I wasn’t really interested in that,” Jack said. “I was looking at the width of his shoulders and his height, wondering what the hell was going to happen!” How wide was the Bigfoot?
“He was a good yard or more through the shoulders and I’ve had people tell how a Bigfoot is about eight foot tall … well, this dude was taller than eight feet and closer to nine feet tall.
“When you’re that close it’s no problem to figure out how big it was. And, he never made any effort to run from me. He never acted like he was scared … I sure know he wasn’t scared of ME … not a bit!”
"Then he turned and walked along this way (Jack simulated a limping gait) like something was wrong with one leg, like he had an old injury or someone had shot him. Then he stopped and turned and looked at me for another full minute before he left … didn’t run … he just walked over to the edge of the brush that dropped off steeply into the Dry Creek north fork.
“There was no getting around it … this was not any man-made object or a man dressed up, there isn’t a man in this county big enough to wear that suit!”
Jack says this sighting was his first Bigfoot encounter although several years ago he “saw something that I thought was a bear standing up. Always thought it was a Bigfoot but could find no sign.
“But this time, it’s different… absolutely no doubt about it. I would pull $50 out of my own pocket though, if one of you guys could have been there with me.”
Jack told us more about his initial reluctance to come forth with a report of what he’d encountered nearly two years ago.
“I didn’t know whether to say anything to anyone about this … you know, if I’d go downtown and tell the guys I saw a Bigfoot they’d laugh me clear out of the place.
“I told my wife about it and she kind of had her doubts about it for awhile, but she knew I wasn’t going to come in with some kind of cock-and-bull story to take a ridiculing over.”
“But, I don’t really care what people think … I just didn’t talk about it, except with someone who has seen a Bigfoot or is a serious believer. They can believe what they want, but I’m the one who knows what I saw … they can say there is no such thing but they don’t have anything to back that up and I do.
“This thing was the closest to a real human than anything I’ve seen on television or real life … his body is proportioned more to a human than anything I’ve ever seen. He’s not like an ape. This dude walked like a man and somehow acts like a man. He walked like he was crippled in the right leg or foot.
“I’ll tell you this much, too: I’ve never seen anything like it, before or since. He’s a one-of-a-kind for me!” So, the interview ended that sunny day on Blacksnake Ridge. Jack climbed into his log truck cab to head into the timbered country for his second trip of the day. As he stepped into the cab, I heard him shout back to us:
“Keep your eyes open, kids! At least there are two of you … you can back up each other’s stories.”
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