Benton county, OR
Nearest town: Philomath Oregon
Nearest road: Hwy 34
Conditions: Dry, cold fall day
Time: early morning
Location: About a mile to maybe two miles in from the entrance of the East Ridge Trailhead on Mary's peak. It was at a location on the trail where to our left, the hill went upwards, and of course down to our right.
Description of event: While going out early to hunt deer with my little brother, we started hiking up the East Ridge Trail about an hour or so before sunrise. I took the lead and had a rifle and very dim flashlight...it was very underpowered, I could only see a few feet ahead on the trail. Since we were just going to walk in on the trail, I figured it was good enough to find our way. A mile or so into our hike we could hear something walking through the brush very loudly to our left...which is the uphill side of the trail. There were dry leaves on the ground, so it was definitely very loud and a distinct sound of footsteps, like a man walking through brush. We stopped and listened...of course the light wouldn't light it up, so it was in the shadows, but close enough that if I had a modern headlamp sold today, I could have seen it easily. Anyway, when we stopped, so did it. We started moving again. I could clearly hear it because the trail was extremely dry and our footsteps were quiet compared to the brush. It eventually walked in front of us and came down to the trail. Again, we stopped and crouched to listen. I aimed my gun that direction in case it charged. Then it went to our right very slowly, which was below us and stopped. My brother was scared and I tried to calm him by telling him it was a deer...but I knew better...no deer walks like that and stays that close. We started walking again, paying attention to the low side of the hill. We moved slowly and again, this thing started walking again this time it paralled us on the low side. Again we stopped and it stopped. When we moved, it started moving again, and came back up to the trail. Very freaky for sure. We stopped again, and turned around, and it did not move. Then we started walking again...away from it obviously and it headed up the hill behind us. We walked a little faster and it started to walk above us in the brush parallel to us again until it passed us. In other words, it circled us. Eventually it was up the hill in front of us and came back down to the trail. Again, we crouched and listened carefully...it stopped again, but I could hear its feet on the trail. For a moment I thought it was coming toward us so I decided to yell out "I have a gun, if you are another hunter and you are walking toward us, let us know you are there or you are going to get shot, I'm warning you". I could hear it walking down the trail slowly toward us, and then it stopped, turned downhill again quickly and walked again, very loudly down the hill until we couldn't hear it anymore. We started walking again very quickly now and got out of that area toward where we wanted to hunt until the light of day. On the way back in broad daylight, we searched for tracks, but it was so dry and warm, that the ground was rock hard. I just don't think it was on four legs...the sound was just too bipedal as if a man was hiking quickly with intention through the brush. The sound was schwoosh, schwoosh, schwoosh...typically deer either hop, or step carefully. I've never heard a cougar, but I would think the sound of its footsteps would have been less singular in sound...plus, it was very heavy footed. I'm not saying it was Bigfoot, I just don't know. Unless another man, with the ability to see in the dark was messing with us, I just don't know what else it could have been.
record updated:2011-09-03 22:49:19