Man and his son hear loud vocalizations while camping near Greyback Shelter file# 04496


Date:August 22, 2006
Josephine county, OR
Nearest town:
Nearest road:
FR 1005
warm clear and dry
early morning
Driving from Medford, OR on Hwy 238, follow 238 to the town of Applegate. Cross the Applegate river, the first road to the left is Thompson Creek Rd, follow Thompson Creek Rd to a four way junction of roads Forest 10, 1010, 1020, and 1005. Take a right on road 1005, follow road bearing left stay on main road (1005)follow to the end until Obrien Creek Trail #900 begins at trailhead. There is a lower Obrien Crk Trail head, do not take this one. Stay on road 1005, it will dead end at the trailhead #900. Follow trail 900 approx. 1-2 miles to junction of two trails. The lower trail is 900, the upper trail is 1207 (The Rouge Siskiyou Div. Trail). Follow the 900 trail to the snow shelter called Greyback shelter. Follow a small foot path in front of the shelter to the meadow directly to the left of the cabin. This is the location of the sounds.


Description of event: I was on a hiking trip with my son on the dates that follow: August 20, 21, 22 of 2006. We were hiking to a snow shelter( cabin)in the Rogue/Siskiyou division trail; it is known as Greyback Shelter named after the mountain that shadows the meadow. There used to be two cabins in the area, less than a 1/8 to a 1/4 mile apart. The other cabin was called Krause cabin - it was named after the family that used to run cattle through there in the 40's. It has long since burned down, but the other cabin is still there and is used quite often.

The trail we took to the shelter is O'brien Crk Tr #900, It leads to a juction, the lower trail leads you to the shelter and the upper or other part leads to a Division Tr. #1207. It is about two miles to the meadow and the cabins from the trailhead parking lot, but don't let that trick you, you are in the woods. Other than the road to the trailheads in the area that all lead to the same location, there are no roads in this wilderness area.

The first couple of days were very relaxing and peaceful. On the morning of the last day we were at the cabin, I woke up around 7 -7:30am and woke my son and told him I was going over to the outhouse at the other cabin, and that I would be back in a little bit. So I proceeded to the outhouse and well... Shortly, after I had finished, I walked out to the meadow, which has a little foot path that runs between the two cabins. The meadow is simply beautiful, it is your normal high mountain natural meadow that rolls and rises with spot of trees and shrubs that continue up the mountains crest, it is a pretty big meadow. So, I decided to stop and enjoy it a little while before going back to the cabin. My son was 16 at the time so I figured he would be okay for a little bit.

I probably stood there for about 10-15 minutes, just enjoying the morning sun, beautiful clear day. It was about 8 -8:15am when I heard what I thought to be a fox or coyote kind of yipping and howling low, it sounded like it was just above me about 50-60 yrds or so, as I was looking for it the howl suddenly stopped, not like a fox or coyote theirs tend to slowly drop to a quiet drawed out howl, this didn't, and then I heard what sounded like a real low deep gutteral sound, then the creature would repeat the same type call, each ending the same way with the gutteral grunt type sound and then end and it would begin again.

This went on for a couple of minutes, I carry a 45 pistol for protection while I'm in the woods,
(had some bad experience with predators and people in the past). I also make my son carry a little .22 pistol for the same reason. I didn't really feel threatend but I was very concerned about my son, so I drew my weapon, I will not fire unless there is no other choice, and I will make sure of what it is that I am firing at, I just don't shoot at sound, that's stupid. But, was concerned about my son big time, so I quickly walked half ran back to my son at the other cabin. I told my son that I was coming around the cabin so I would not startle him. And, I found my son white as a sheet and his pistol drew and looking in the same direction the sound had come.

He said, "Dad! what the hell was that?!" My son at the time didn't cuss around me, so for him to say that was understandable and surprising. We then ate a quick breakfast and packed our gear and headed out shortly after that. I made my son walk in front of me, all the way down to the truck.

As we hiked down the trail we both would constantly check our back trail, it is only about 1 1/2 - 2 miles back down to where we parked, but on that day it was the longest 1 1/2 - 2 miles I think I have walked to date. And, we have not been back to the area since, which is weird to us, because we have made that trip many times as my son has grown up. We started hiking the trail together we he was 4 years old and I have hiked the trail many times by myself before that day in August.

The witness stands in the field where the encounter took place.

record updated:2008-10-22 22:59:11