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
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.
Sent: Monday, January 21, 2002 12:24 PM
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