Bigfoot Encounters

On the trail – Journal of a researcher…

by the late Vance Orchard
Walla Walla, WA.

The bigfoot issues continues apace - - although the reported sightings around here have diminished somewhat from the past decade.  A June 20th find of several tracks in the vicinity of Deduct Springs in the nearby Blue Mountains has been investigated and plaster casts made.  

Doing the investigating were Brian Smith and Jason Neilson, both of Walla Walla.

Nielsen, the finder of the tracks, has joined with Smith who has been the leadoff person for bigfoot investigations here in recent years.  Smith has positioned several sensory cameras, triggers by motion and has some interesting film.  

This defines itself down to film which is hazy where is seems to have been tripped by a bigfoot in the vicinity but picture of bears, deer and wild turkeys come out fairly clear.  Is it possible this weird creature, which has so successfully eluded mankind for centures can mess up the camera's workings?  Wondering about this capability was fueled when a camera was found by Smith to have had the lid torn off.  By a bear? Or?  

The camera was near an elk wallow but an elk packer friend of Smith maintains “no elk could ever do that.”  And besides that, two huge footprints were found right at the base of the tree in which the camera had been placed.  

Tracks check out by Smith and Nielsen were found in the vicinity of Deduct but on a nearby game trail, Smith reported. Nielsen, reportedly somewhat skeptical of the bigfoot in the past has been having some second thoughts since seeing this huge footprint.  “it was walking this game trail and we found four tracks there and some more on an embankment, plus several more as it traveled in and out of the Mill Creek Watershed area,” Smith told me.   

Smith added a twister to the bigfoot puzzle when he said he had determined the tracks were “mostly pretty identical to the tracks that had been cast by the late Wes Sumerlin several years ago up on Indian Ridge.”  This area is adjoining the Watershed on its western side.  

The Mill Creek Watershed, by the way, has long been held by the bigfoot enthusiasts to be the “base camp” of the bigfoots. A huge area which is patrolled to keep out humans and cattle, it adjoins an even bigger chunk of read estate, the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness area which runs easterly to Pomeroy.  The two areas make a near perfect haven for the bigfoot, say those who support the idea that several of the creatures are in the nearby Blue Mountains. 

While Nielsen is fairly new to this bigfoot thing, Brian Smith has spent several years of serious investigation of the creature, both here and elsewhere in the Northwest. He has gone from simple checking out reports of sightings and making plaster casts of feet in many cases, he has taken the lead in the field for use of hi-tech electronic gear, including the motion-sensing cameras.  

Of the local bigfoot investigators, Smith not ony goes to the site when tracks or other material are reported, he makes routing trips into the areas of the Blues most likely to produce sightings. Others who do this when they can are pack goat breeders, Mark and Dar Addington of Walla Walla, Bill Laughery of West Richland and Mike and Sheryl Jenkins of St. John, Washington.  

Adding some spice is the fact most of these named have seen one or more bigfoots in the Blue Mountains.  Most recent was a sighting of one by Smith, as it dashed across the road in front of his vehicle one night a few months ago near Kooskooskie.  This was the second bigfoot Smith has observed. Laughery has seen one on two occasions and Jenkins has seen three, two at one time while riding her horse on the Intake Trail along the Mill Creek Watershed.  

By the way, if any readers wish to report something akin to the bigfoot thing, call Brian Smith (phone # in the files).  

Vance Orchard, August 2002

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