Newlyweds have encounter while hiking the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness file# 13164


Date:June 15, 1985
Marion county, OR
Nearest town:
Nearest road:
NF-2243 (off Oregon Highyway 22)
Camped a few feet from trail 3429 in the NW section of the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area. The precise location was as the trail turns north between an unnamed peak 5293 and the Sentinel Hills. At approximately 5300 the terrain levels out and made an excellent campsite.


Description of event: While on our honeymoon in June of 1985, my wife and I were backpacking overnight in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area. We were camped about three miles from the trailhead (I think it was called the Whitewater Trailhead). We were camped just off the trail at around 5300 feet and there were no other campers around for miles. Sometime during the middle of the night, we were both awakened by very heavy footsteps coming down the trail. I was an experienced backpacker and had encountered deer, elk, and bear before (including having my camp raided by a black bear in the Adirondack mountains). This creature was definitely bipedal. It took two steps, stopped, took two more steps, stopped, etc. With each set of steps the creature was clearly much closer to our camp. After the third or fourth set of steps I let out the loudest scream I could muster. The creature immediately lept, took two steps away from camp and was gone. Its actions gave the impression that it was attempting to be stealthy and investigate our camp.

After a few minutes we left the tent (we did not actually see the creature because the tent flap was zipped closed), built up the fire, and made lots of noise. Once there was sufficient light (after several long hours), we examined the trail for footprints (the footsteps appeared to be coming from the trail) but as conditions had been dry, we found no prints. There were also no other signs of the creature around the area. As an experiment, my wife went into the tent, laid down, and I stomped down the trail as loudly as possible in my lug boots (I am 6' 3" and weighed around 220 at that time). She heard my stomping but it was nothing compared to the night before where we could actually feel the ground shake. Also, despite my best efforts, I was unable to leave any prints on the trail. After thoroughly extinguishing the fire, we packed up and went back to our car. We did not report the incident to the Marion County Sheriff.

record updated:2012-12-29 12:07:23