Mason county, WA
Nearest town: Matlock
Nearest road: Middle Satsop Rd.
Conditions: sunny but cool
Time: early afternoon
Location: It has been so many years ago...the best that I can remember is that after going through Matlock, we ended up just outside of the Southern boundary of the Olympic National Park along the upper reaches of the Satsop River.As with all things, I'm sure this area has changed over the years and I have not been back there since my friend and I graduated from high school in 1971.
Description of event: I do not think this information will have much value to you because of how long ago this occurred. It's just that I have often thought about what my friend and I saw and smelled that day and finally decided to tell someone about it. The parents of one of my closest Jr. High and High school friends purchased a piece of property just on the southern boundary of the Olympic National Park, along the upper reaches of the Satsop River, and put a small trailer on it. My friend and I loved to fish and hunt, and having both taken our "hunter safety" course and passed it, we took our new hunting licenses, a couple of .22 rifles, and took off on a long day of exploring and hunting for grouse.
Following the Satsop River, on up into the Park for about 5 or 6 miles, we found an old abandoned homestead in a large open meadow. The house was made of, what appeared to be, river rocks and only a couple feet of the walls were still standing. There were also several broken down wooden out-buildings as I recall. It seemed a strange find for where we were and apparently whatever road or trail leading in to the homestead was long grown over. We continued on up-stream for about an hour, getting into very dark, thick forest with moss draping from some of the branches. At this point we were probably 10 miles or more from the nearest paved road. I remember how both of us were a little spooked because of how dark it was under the canopy of trees in that area.
Finally, we broke out of the darkness into a fairly large, sunny opening along the river (just a small stream at this point) with a long sand and gravel bar. We relaxed and enjoyed the sunshine as we walked along the bar, talking and laughing as teen-age boys do when, almost as an after-thought, I noticed a set of foot prints on the bar going in the same direction we were. I told my friend that someone was through this area ahead of us. We thought it was strange because of how far from civilization we were, plus the fact that we had not seen anyone else since leaving the trailer.
We had just been busting brush and following game trails....there were no hiking paths or forest service roads around. After a minute of walking, it struck me that there was something strange about those foot prints. I called my friend over and showed him. Whom-ever (or what-ever) had made those tracks, was barefoot and those barefoot tracks were about 3 inches longer than my friends' size 11 hiking boot...and wider! And whatever was making those tracks had a very long stride. My friend was about 5'10" at the time and he could not match its stride no matter how hard he tried.
At that time of year the temps were usually in the mid to upper 40's in the day time and could easily go below freezing at night...not a good time of year to go barefoot! Now we were really spooked. We followed the tracks a little farther along the bar to a point where the prints crossed a very shallow ribbon of water, about an inch deep (a very shallow side-channel where the river had split on the sandbar). Where the prints came out of the water, we saw...much to our dismay...that water was still swirling and running into the emerging footprints! All of a sudden we were hit with a very raunchy smell. We were both familiar with the stories about Sasquatch but I don't think either of us had taken them very seriously.
We had both spent lots of time in the woods along rivers and streams fishing and now hunting, and had never seen anything to even remotely make us think about Bigfoot. Now we were REALLY spooked and as paranoia took over, we were carefully scanning the surrounding woods and holding onto those puny .22's as we began to retreat the way we had come. We never saw or heard anything and maybe it was our sense of fear that had taken over our thinking, but we both had an over-powering feeling of being watched. After backing off of the sandbar, we both felt that the better part of valor was to do our level-best not to run over the other one on the way back to the trailer. It was probably a record time for 14 to 16 year old teen-age boys!
We told my friend's parents about our experience and while they didn't openly ridicule us, you could tell that they just thought we had turned our imaginations on "high" to make up for our lack of grouse. My friend and I talked over what we had seen and smelled. We concluded that the smell COULD have been rotting salmon carcases on the river bank, but we never saw any and don't know if salmon even come up that far in that river system, and we had not encountered that smell anywhere else along the river except right there on that sandbar. The area WAS hunted...mostly by bow hunters for elk and deer and black bear, but not in great numbers because of how thick and dense the forest is and the lack of roads or trails in the area. It would be extremely difficult to pack a large animal out. But this still doesn't explain why anyone would be running around barefoot at that time of year, 10+ miles from the nearest paved road with extemely large feet!
While we could not prove it, my friend and I both felt that we had been very close to a Sasquatch that day many years ago. I wish we had known more about the Sasquatch encounters others have had and had been looking for twisted saplings or branches as further evidence. On second thought, at the speed we were traveling on the way back to the trailer, we would have never seen that kind of evidence anyway!
After college, my friend went on to Penn St. for post grad. work and now lives on the East coast. I have not seen or talked to him for many years. However, I'm sure he still remembers that Fall day near the headwaters of the Satsop river as I do! Thanks for letting me tell of our experience.
record updated:2005-05-02 00:00:00