Hiking: Myth versus reality of Sasquatch in the Ossipee Range
Carroll County, New Hampshire
Coordinates: 43°41′05″N, 71°07′02″W
by Ed Parsons for the Conway Daily Sun, Conway New Hampshire
His many stories about the mountains — a few of which I have taken part in — have been part of my own mythology of the White Mountains. Recently, with my interest in helping to save the Ossipee Range from the burden of a private racetrack on its fragile slopes, he approached me to remind me of his Sasquatch story in the Ossipees, and lightheartedly suggested I write a third column on the Ossipee Range, which might include his story.
At first I found the idea amusing and certainly possible. But, then I realized he had honestly told me the story of what he and his friend Holly saw that day in the mountains — there is no reason to think otherwise — and an interpretation of the events should be left up to the reader. Even Samuelson himself isn’t sure at all what actually happened.
A story about the myth versus reality of the Sasquatch certainly emphasizes the wildness of the Ossipee Range, a place that should be preserved for future generations instead of irresponsibly exploited in the name of a temporary addiction to oil.
It was mid-summer, 1979.
“We drove in the Gilman Valley Road, parked at the gate and continued up the old road past the Tamworth/Ossipee town line,” he said. “Then we cut into the woods on the right and headed west up Bald Mountain.”
The ledgey Bald Mountain is taller than Mount Whittier and is located just south of it. From its open ledges, you can look directly below to Connor Pond, located in the center of the range.
As the trees opened up before them, and Connor Pond became visible far below to their left, they saw a strange sight about 100 yards ahead on the ledges.
“It was a small structure, yet made of big stones, stacked on each other,” he said. “The roof was flat and made of thatched hemlock bows. There was an opening, like a rustic doorway. We saw a giant man-like creature inside, about seven feet high, and back to us. It was totally covered with tangled gray hair about three inches long.”
In the same instant that this all became visible to them, Kat began growling intensely and the creature started to make loud noises indicating it was upset.
They had both carried cameras, but in the urgency to leave never thought to take a picture.
A few months later, Holly excitedly called him and said she had been to the Wolfeboro Library and found a fascinating story. During a midwinter thaw in the 1890s, a person in a cabin on the shore of Connor Pond, located in the center of the Ossipee Range, saw an alarming thing. A dog had wandered out on the thawing pond. It fell through the ice and was floundering vainly for a long time to get out. Suddenly a large hairy human-like creature came out of the woods from the direction of Bald Mountain, reached out long arms and rescued the dog, then immediately disappeared back in the woods from the direction it first appeared.
That old story added a little continuity to their own experience, no matter how unbelievable. Still, it took Samuelson a year to get his courage and curiosity up enough to return alone to the site of their mysterious and alarming encounter on Bald Mountain.
Columnist Ed Parsons © Mount Washington Valley
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