Date: , 1977
Tehama county, CA
Nearest town: Chester
Nearest road: Hwy. 36 to Lost Creek Rd.
Location: Willow Springs Campground in the Mt. Lassen National Forest
Description of event: My Grandpa, my uncle and I had been working in the area picking up sugarpine and digger pine cones for about 3 days or so and had planned on being there for around a week. We were camped in a lower campsite in this campground, just off the main cinder road coming by the camping area. I remember the camp was right next to a creek and each night we would hear the deer coming to the creek to water and would occasionally shine our flashlights and see them drinking. This particular night, we had been sitting around relaxing and I commented that it was strange that we didn't hear any deer in the creek. In fact, I don't recall even hearing any crickets or any of the usual nighttime noises. There was a group of people camped above us about 100 yards or so up the hill and they hadn't been there camping as long as we had. The three of us could hear the people in the camp talking and such, then it was quiet. Then, someone in the upper camp shouted, "Hey!", then some loud talking, and then this growl/scream noise. It was very loud and sounded as if it came from a fairly large animal. My Uncle and I looked at each other, asking each other what the heck that noise was, and we looked at my Grandpa, who was smiling and chuckling, which I found to be very odd, unless it was to cover up being frightened himself! My Grandpa was a retired logger from Oregon, my Uncle had also spent considerable time in the woods working as well as hunting most of his life. I had spent alot of time in the woods, also hunting and working for my Uncle, but had never heard a sound like that, nor had the rest of us. My Grandpa said he thought it was probably a bobcat or cougar, but my Uncle and I had never heard any animal make that kind of sound, not to mention the fact that those animals will most likely stay away from a loud camp and may venture closer when it is dark and quiet. Anyway, while we were wondering what that first noise was, there began alot of hollering and another loud growl/scream from the upper camp, vehicle doors slamming and then the vehicle took off down the road, tires throwing cinders. They were out of there but fast! We (my Uncle and I) were shaken up, but too proud to admit to to my Grandpa. We didn't hear anything else from the upper camp. Nothing. I don't know if they left anything up there, how they were camped or anything, but I do know that they didn't come back. We went to bed as it was getting quite late, and I was so afraid to make any sound, fearful that "it" would hear me breathing and come into camp to investigate. We left a couple of days later, but I don't recall hearing the deer in the creek in the evenings after that night. All of the information given here is to the best of my recollection. As for the terrain, it was heavily wooded pine forest, quite a bit of brush around the creek area. The weather was warm during the day and cool at night. No unusual smells noted.
record updated:2002-10-24 00:00:00