Bigfoot Encounters

Cowlitz County, Washington
A story from a Kalama Resident


Cowlitz County, Washington
(A Story about town)

I live in the town of Kalama, which is located on I-5 in Cowlitz County, Washington between Kelso and Woodland. Kalama is named after a Hawaiian man who came here and married the daughter of a Nisqually chief, or so the story goes in these parts. Small towns always have "stories." As a lad, I worked at the local fish hatchery, but am retired and on disability now and would appreciate my name not being used. I want to relate a second-hand story that was told to me, probably not factual but persistent.

The story goes there was a man present in a Kalama Saloon (I won't name the Bar) when suddenly a wild eyed, and scared Washington State Fisheries employee rushed in and asked for "a double shot on the rocks"

This WA State Fisheries employee (not me, but someone I know in this town) said the man in the bar worked at the Kalama River Fish Hatchery, that I would know his name. For the sake of the story, I'll call him "Joe." (Not his real name)

Joe had been enjoying his days off by camping alone on the Upper Kalama River, which is beautiful country, pristine in places. On his first night, Joe built a campfire and gathered firewood in preparation for spending several days the area. Not long after the sun went down he heard movement in the nearby underbrush, just outside the ring of light provided by his campfire.

According to the story, this man we refer to as "Joe" said he could hear--grunting--heavy breathing and the sounds of tree limbs being broken off or snapped off. He could also hear heavy footsteps but never saw anything. He kept feeding his campfire more wood. He told folk that he was firmly convinced that keeping the fire going all night had saved him. He stayed awake through the night; with the intruder leaving just before dawn.

At first light, he got on his trail bike and left for Kalama, leaving behind his tent, sleeping bag, his tackle and other top-notch gear. They asked him if he was going back for his camping equipment, said to have been some expensive gear but Joe replied, "no they could have it."

Now I would believe this to be a bear or elk story were it not for a number of huge barefooted footprints that were found, 12 to 14 inches long, half as wide, and very human-like.

Two Kalama men went to the area to retrieve Joe's camping gear for him say they found these tracks, which left them troubled. In addition, they found broken-off tree branches, some 2-inches in diameter that was some distance above the ground, which could have been done by bear cubs up a tree were it not for so many of them broken.

They returned Joe's gear to him and to this day, he's never been back. Odd for a fellow known to be a woodsman. That's it, probably just a "bar" story.

Nobody knows for sure when this occurred; the story has been around for years.

Just a story to me but maybe someone else has more details than we do; my wife thought if you published the story the real story might be told. E. & H. H. Kalama Washington.

Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2002 10:27:30 -0800
Remote user:
Remote IP: Kalama Telephone Company
Box 1067 290 N First Street Kalama, WA 98625

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