I would like to share an experience we had last month in northern California. My brother Zachary and I went to do a little gold panning in the rivers and creeks that encircle the Marble Mountain wilderness.
We know that there has been extensive dredging activity there, along the Salmon and Klamath rivers, and some of the surrounding tributaries. We are not looking to get rich, just the sight of a little color in our pans is a great feeling!
I'm kind of guessing at the exact area, but we had started our run from the south, in the hamlet of Etna. We proceeded to encirlcle the Marble Mountain area, planning on going through Happy Camp, and returning north to Oregon after hitting Highway 5 near Yreka, California.
We were wading in the river just outside Forks-of Salmon, looking for paydirt, when we heard a kind of scream coming from across the river. It was probably 80 yards wide there. We thought it might be a bird or mountain lion, but felt safe on our side of the river.We were panning away, and heard a splash,and looked up to see a big stick that had hit the water, and was floating downstream. It could not have fallen off a tree, as none overhung the water at the point of entry. We sat up and observed the other bank. A rock also came flying into the water, and while it was not nearly close enough to threaten our safety, it hit the water about halfway, and from the splash, it was sizeable, I'm guessing 10 inches around. I don't know a human that could throw a rock that big that far.
We decided we were not wanted there, even though it was public access. As we picked up our pans and gear to head back to the truck, we again heard more of the screams.This was about 10 am, and we stopped to eat a bit later, somewhere after Somes Bar, and before Clear Creek. We pulled into a camp area for lunch, and met a couple of Native American gentlemen who were outfitted for fishing. We asked if they had ever fished where we had been panning, and they had. We related our experience, and they said, and quite matter-of-factly, that most likely it was Bigfoot who resented our presence. We had only seen some foliage moving, but even looking through binoculars, could not see any hair or body that would identify our subject as an animal.
Interesting to us, not so much we were run off by something, but that our Bigfoot suspicions were confirmed by locals, to whom such an experience was seemingly so commonplace.
We plan to return later in the year, and will be armed with cameras and tape recorders.It was unnerving, but exciting at the same time.I later learned that these local natives are not generally given to sharing lots of lore or information, but I guess we were visibly agitated by our morning.
We will try to warm up to some of the locals, and see if there might be any other areas where such events occur.
I enjoy your newsletter, and hope to be able to contribute something more concrete in the future,
Alfred "Red" Cody
Wednesday, July 07, 2004 9:53 AM
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