Mt. Shasta, California Encounter


I was an Assistant Caretaker with the Sierra Club Foundation at Horse Camp on Mount Shasta during the early 1990s.

During the Summer months the regular caretaker (RW) and I used to take turns staying at Horse Camp during the weekdays so as to police the place and offer assistance to potential climbers on their way up to the summit. During these "off" days we usually saw very few people at Horse Camp who would stay the night and climb the mountain the following morning, normally day hikers came up to visit and look around, but then went back down before sunset.

It was a Thursday and I was waiting for (RW) to come and relieve me so that I could go down to Shasta City to take a breather, get some food, and find a shower. RW was typically late so I decided to retire once I realized he wasn't going to show up.

I don't remember what stage the moon was in but a faint glow of light was present so that I didn't need to rely on my flashlight to get around.

It was shortly before midnight and I was in my tent which I had set up less than 100' NE of the Horse Camp hut. The area is a mix of stones and paths leading to other campsites and other trails to explore the mountain. After settling down for the night I heard someone walk around the hut as stones 'clanked' against one another. Knowing that RW was a big prankster I yelled out his name a couple of time, but no response. (Keep in mind I spent a lot of time/nights alone on Shasta, so I never had anything to worry about, which means that I was rarely fearful of anything.)

When I got no response I started to go off of pure instinct and the chain of events became vivid. The walking sounds were getting closer to the left side of my tent and thinking about how vulnerable I was I grabbed my ice axe in my right hand and slipped out of my sleeping bag poised to open the mosquito flap if anything was going to "go down". My heart raced and the adrenaline was pumping through me. Out of the left hand side of the mosquito mesh door I saw a huge outline of what I believe to be Big Foot. The outline walked about 30 feet in front of my tent, stopped, turned and stood facing me.

At the time, I didn't think "Big Foot", but rather someone was up here to cause trouble, so I ripped open the door of the tent and jumped out with my ice axe in hand. I'm 6'3" tall and this being was much much bigger than I. We stood there for a few seconds and the "Big Foot" turned away and slowly walked into the trees. Needless to say I didn't get much sleep that night, but just because of the spiritual and peaceful nature of Mount Shasta I didn't question my safety and life went on as usual with my only regret being that I showed this entity such hostility by brandishing my ice axe.

In hindsight I believe the being was just passing through and meant no harm. I looked for footprints the following morning, but only found an area where it looked like something had a difficult time getting up a steep incline. I didn't smell anything since a small breeze was coming from behind me as we stood there face to face. I finished out the caretaking season without further incident except for a group of thieving boyscouts from Sacramento.

© "Michael Card"
Sent: Monday, January 21, 2002 12:24 PM

Back to What's New?
Back to Stories
Back to Newspaper & Magazine Articles

Portions of this website are reprinted under the Fair Use Doctrine of International Copyright Law as educational material without benefit of financial gain. This proviso is applicable throughout the entire website at