Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Oregon Expedition Journal (7/13-19/2015)

Oregon Expedition Journal
July 13-19, 2015
Skye Evans
*Disclaimer: What’s written is from my own experiences. Roughly 30 people attended and their stories are their own. This is mine.


(photo by Cindy Caddell)

            Every expedition I’ve been on has made me anxious; did I pack everything? Do I have enough money? Did I put enough air in my tires? Endless questions run through my mind the night before I leave and I always make a plan to leave as early as humanly possible to avoid traffic. This trip killed that.
My friends, Lost Dog Street Band, had just spent the weekend with me to play a concert together and hang out and after they left on Sunday, I had still been so happy to spend time with them that I didn’t end up falling asleep until midnight. I woke up for my 2:30am alarm but there was no way I would risk driving with that much sleep deprivation; even I’m not that crazy. I decided to go back to sleep, maybe for a few hours, but ended up waking up at 7am and rushing out the door.
(My favorite people)
The drive was quite uneventful. I was mainly stuck in endless lines of traffic and luckily didn’t have to make any stops for the restroom. On my way to the site, I wasn’t able to find the landmarks from the directions that Barbara had sent out so I followed my “trusty” (semi-sarcastic) Google Maps. I drove around a popular lake that looked more than appealing after 10+ hours on the road but I had to press on up the mountain. I followed a red Jetta and sped through the dirt enjoying my Outback’s off-road freedom and almost collided with a small pickup truck that I hadn’t seen coming head on through the Jetta’s dirt cloud.
I hadn’t seen much animal life on my way through the hills but at 5:10pm, a deer stepped out almost directly in front of my car and would’ve been Bigfoot’s free meal, a sacrifice or offering if you will, had I not slammed on my brakes. This may be a sign that I need to slow down but hey, nothing’s happened so far.
Eventually at 5:30pm, my Google Maps informed me that I had arrived at my destination. I thought, “Huh. This is quite the basecamp.” I was in the middle of a dirt road with no spots to park, let alone pitch a tent, so I checked my real trusty GPS map, BackCountry Navigator, and saw that I indeed had been close to basecamp; it was just directly up the mountain a couple hundred feet. So, I followed the road, over the river and through the woods, and eventually made it to what had in fact been basecamp at 6pm. Not bad timing.
Arriving at basecamp early affords me the luxury of picking the best spot and a small inlet with a pre-made fire pit called my name and I called it home. Well, because the spot also had two bars of 4G cell service, I called it “Camp LaQuinta.” My bigfooting buddy Wayne mailed me an 8-person tent that he no longer used so with my new cot, devices, and chair inside, this was actually better than the motel chain itself. I may open my own chain one day so watch out, LaQuinta.



Since no one else was around, I listened to some music (Mustered Courage, among others) and took my time setting up. Wayne’s tent was quite a puzzle to assemble but not as difficult as setting up the big canopy by myself. Once my motel was up and running, I played a little guitar and bummed around until succumbing to sleep at 11:30pm.
I woke up at 8am Tuesday morning and took the obligatory pictures of my surroundings. The ants weren’t as vicious as in Washington but the horse flies and mosquitos did nothing less than massacre me. I explored the area a little bit and found a nice enclosed camp bordering the creek where someone built a rock fireplace.
I didn’t wander too far because my back has been having problems, as usual, so I stuck close to basecamp for most of the day playing guitar and a game called Spelunky. Mike Collier arrived at 3:30pm and we talked a little bit about his trips between this and when I saw him in June on the CA expedition.
At 7:45pm, my back could no longer take the anguish so I went to bed. I know, I know; “Skye, you’re such a mountain man. So handsome and fit.” Well let me tell ya, sculpting perfection is a process, right Michelangelo? Top arrived around 9pm that night but I couldn’t move so I stayed inside while he talked to Mike.
The next morning, Wednesday, I woke up at 8:30am and caught up with Top and his two weeks of adventuring since I last saw him in Washington. We decided to go look for a meadow that was nearby and headed up to the end of the road from basecamp and bushwhacked in.

On the map, the meadow looked so accessible that it had to be right off the overgrown road. Nope. We crossed logs and trees, slapped by every bush and stuck my every thorn and the meadow had to have been further down the hill than we could get to. We were scouting it for night hike potential and the only certainty was that at night, this would’ve spelled “death.”
As we climbed trees that lay up to our necks, I made my way to jump up one and as I swung my leg over, my shorts ripped. Classic squatching. My shorts didn’t rip at the butt though, it was all crotch. Top and I had a great laugh about it, me informing him that this was an up-and-coming fashion in the Bigfooting world and he said it was innovative in its aerodynamics and keeping me cool. We made it back to basecamp a little while later and Barbara had arrived followed a few hours later by Cindy and her husband Jerod.
I had felt well enough after our exploring to lead a small night hike that evening so at 10pm, I set out with Ron and his son Brett to find a lake that Mike said was close by on one of the trails. Ron and Brett were attending as their first expedition from Indiana and I really liked them a lot. We followed my map and were out there for about an hour and couldn’t find any way to a pond that said was close to us on the map so we sat for a bit and listened.
I made two knocks at 10:28pm and 30 seconds later, heard a faint response from the direction of the small pond that we thought we were trying to get to. It was Brett’s first time really out in the woods and after a while decided we should pack it in. Other than the knocks, we didn’t hear much. We made it back to basecamp at 12:30am and I talked to Barbara, Top, and Vern for about an hour on Top’s tailgate before deciding to go to bed.
I woke up Thursday morning at 9:30am and hung out with Andy, Cindy, and Lisa. Lisa is a fellow BFRO Investigator from New York and had just appeared in an episode of Finding Bigfoot and she recounted her sighting that happened while on a BFRO expedition in the Adirondacks. I highly recommend watching the episode for her story. She came all the way from the Michigan expedition to attend this one since she has her summers off thanks to her job. I’m quite jealous.
After last night’s failure of finding the lake Mike had talked about, I went with Top and Ben to track down the lake. It was about a 40-minute leisurely walk from Tony’s camp (the enclosed one) to the lake. It was beautiful and much bigger than I expected. The lake seemed shallow around the shore but there was a drop off further out where fish were jumping. Ben fished a little bit with no success.
The OR Hunter’s Association made a site with a fire pit, wood benches, docks, and a line to hang fish off of. This was the perfect place to remote camp. We hung out for about an hour exploring around and eventually made our way back to basecamp. Thinking of the immense amount of info attendees seem to require on these expeditions, I noted that it took 30-minutes to briskly walk back to Tony’s camp and that you step over exactly 16 logs. How’s that for information?
 (photo by Cindy Caddell)

(photo by Cindy Caddell)

(Ben making his way to the docks)

(The benches and fire pit already set up)

Barbara had gone out of her way to Canada to pick up the R2 thermal unit, the same from the WA expedition, and I rode with Top, her, and her niece Kristen, to scout areas for night R2 drives. After securing some promising routes, we dropped off Barbara and Kristen at basecamp and Top and I went to Estacada to eat at Subway.
Subway just sounded so good that entire day and when I mentioned to Top that it sounded good for lunch, he told me that he had actually picked some up before arriving and forgot about it and it got ruined so this was the perfect opportunity to go. I played some of my favorite bands for Top and he told me on the way that some people call Estacada “Incestacada” and I could half-believe the reason why. Just kidding. But it’s a small town where most folks picture something like Deliverance going on.

We successfully got our foot-long sandwiches, chips, and drinks and we headed back to the highway bound for basecamp to further prove that this was a luxury trip. Top showed me some of his favorite country artists like Earl Thomas Conley and Don Williams. Browsing through his tablet’s music, I recognized a Don Williams song “I’m Just A Country Boy” and we both sang our hearts out. I played some Randy Travis, Jim Croce, and Conway Twitty and we belted those sad cowboy songs too.
Driving down the road with this new friend from Texas was surreal enough but singing country songs with him and spending another week together was something really special to me. It’s trips like this that finding Bigfoot is the purpose but everything happening around it makes it more worthwhile. Just two new friends, decades in age difference but of the same cloth, bonding was just one of the most memorable things that I’ve taken away from this trip. All the people I meet on these trips are special friends of mine and I just love you guys.
Anyways, we made it back just in time for the 7pm meeting that was full of attendees. There were around 30 people total. Many of us were returning folks and there were quite a few of us BFRO Investigators: Brian, Russ, Su, Lisa, Megan, and myself. It was great seeing the people from Washington but I also saw Linda and Jane from the Redwoods expedition, Tony from June’s CA expedition, and meeting some great first-time folks. Barbara divided up the hikes and Lisa and I were going to lead a group to the lake at 10pm.


We ended up having the biggest group that night so Lisa led the way in and I held up the rear to half-keep us spread out and the other half-avoid all the noise and lights going in. I’m not a big light person and I understand that many are, I just like keeping things spread out and objectively listening. I don’t do this as a stealth tactic, I do it for my own listening and to not get distracted my 20 headlamp shadows bouncing through the trees looking around. If you go on Bigfoot expeditions, by all means be safe but also be conscious of the other senses at your disposal and how to wield them.
Megan, Paul, and I hung back from the rest of the group a little bit and when the group stopped for a breather, Megan and Paul heard a knock at their 1-2 o’clock looking further down the trail.
We didn’t hear anything at the lake despite our calls and knocks. I tried to cross some small logs to make it on the docks and almost fell in. What a tradition that would be to fall in on every expedition crossing logs over water like in Washington. My headlamp also fell out around the time that I almost fell in and it took me 20 minutes to find it. Guess where it was? Safe on shore in a bush.
After an hour or so we all decided to go back to basecamp. We had the biggest group and just by sheer number of people walking around, I couldn’t hear or see anything during the hike. That’s not to say we were doing anything wrong, its just luck and we did all we could. I made it to bed at 1:42am.
I woke up Friday morning and had breakfast next door with Top, Lisa, Jerod, Megan, and Cindy outside their trailer. They brought an abundance of food so we had a small feast. I was still in a bit of a delirious sleep state but we headed to the morning meeting where other groups reported some anomalies. The groups all had note-takers and radio people so after recording the times of every sound made and heard, there were some knocks, whoops, and rustling in the forest that couldn’t be attributed to the other groups. 
This is the best way to discern who’s doing what and narrowing it all down to noises made by something other than us: one person with a watch recording every noise, their direction, and the time and another person on the radio to announce other groups and their own. People who believe everything is Bigfoot are in for a rude awakening when they get out with other people who are observant note-takers and can back everything up. If you go out on expeditions of your own, try this. It’ll be a lifesaver.
When our meeting was over, I announced to people that I had four trail cams that I wanted to go set up and people were welcome to come along and explore. Turns out, more people wanted to come than I expected so I went out with: Jane, Lisa, Megan, Melissa and Gary, Ron and Brett, Mark, and Greg. The journey went from 12:40-4:40pm.
On the trail to the lake, there’s a hidden path to the left to what looked like the small pond that I tried to get to with Ron and Brett on Wednesday night. Unsure if there was water in it or not, we first set out toward that. It ended up being a big meadow surrounded by delicious blueberries and huckleberries. There were some tiny frogs in a few of the open dirt patches despite there not being any water nearby. One thing that was interesting was that there was a 16.5’ dry log that was tipped or moved over 24” away where you could see it’s depression and parts of the log were still embedded in the ground. We couldn’t lift it. It was just something interesting that Ron had found.
We explored around and found some great spots to hide down in at night to make calls. I set up a camera looking out over the meadow and it didn’t get anything that night or the following morning.




We turned our efforts back towards the lake and on the way found a small pond that had about 7 very detailed bear tracks that were about 9” from claw to heel. I eventually came back Saturday to cast one. Further up the trail, we came to another small pond with lots of frogs and deer tracks. I placed a camera there that also got nothing.

We made it to the lake where Gary, Melissa, and Mark went ahead to meet up with Top and Ben. I set up a camera a little ways past the camp and that got nothing as well other than Mark and Andy goofing off when they remote camped there. Haha.




By the time we made it back to the road after I set up the three cameras, everyone was pretty tired and headed back to basecamp. Megan and Paul decided to continue on my quest with me though and we headed up the road to where Top and I had gone exploring on Wednesday. We came to the Rimrock Trailhead where there was a fire pit and small, unused camp and I set up my camera low to the ground looking out over the camp and into the trees. As you may have guessed, it too got no photos.
Throughout the final stretch of my camera quest, Paul told us about his time in the forestry service and told us about all the plants we passed. On the way back to basecamp, he told us about the mushroom club he’s a part of and about how lucrative the mushroom business can be. I was astounded that such a thing even existed where people get together and share mushroom recipes, snack on them, and go on trips to pick them. It’s no weirder than what we were doing but I didn’t know that there was such a thing as a mushroom sub-culture. Paul told us about how some are like gangs or drug cartels in defending their crops and areas. So, now you know; mushroom clubs are a thing.
I was, without a doubt, exhausted by the time the three of us made it back to basecamp. The walk was easily 4-5 miles but the heat and carrying all the gear is what took its toll on me. Since the Washington trip, Cindy and I had made tentative plans to play some music together and she brought her songbook from when she sang in a band years ago. We sat under my canopy, Megan poured us sangria, and jammed out for an hour or so. Megan was getting our setlist together of songs I only had vague knowledge of but we sang our buzzed hearts out to Linda Ronstadt, Allison Krauss, Def Leppard, and P!nk. It was awesome.
After our encore for our millions of fans, Cindy made us delicious lasagna with salad and this cheese that I’d never heard of before. It’s called Blue Bell, wrapped up in a tire shape, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t fall in love with it then and there. It was the cherry on top of the delectable meal.
We sat around trading stories, Bigfoot theories, and Cindy mentioned that she and Jerod had been working on a screenplay for a loosely Bigfoot-based movie. It sounded really compelling and with a subject that has been countlessly iterated on, an idea like their's is absolutely original and hasn’t been done. I can’t give it away but if it ever comes to fruition, you’ll want to see it.
As our meal and conversation went on, I’ll admit it, I had more than one cup of sangria and I may or may not have begun my career of Bigfoot standup comedy. I heckled Cindy’s future anthropology class, called out the big names in the Bigfoot world, and made Cindy and Lisa cry with laughter. If anyone ever wants a performance, know that this first one was something truly…. special? But, I will definitely do it again. “Pithecus!”
At the 8pm meeting, Barbara gave her Bigfoot Manifesto class. Kevin Llewyn followed it up with an excellent presentation on eye glow and eye shine. He’s a veterinarian with extensive experience in the subject. The biggest takeaway I had from his presentation was that scientists discovered last year that dogs actually do see colors except red and that their vision is just blurry. It was very informative and worthwhile.
I decided to lead a night hike to the Rimrock trail at 10:20pm since it was an area that no one had explored at night yet. It was the ideal group for the night, just Ron and Megan. The three of us had spent a lot of time in the woods so we were all on the same page about listening and going about our efforts scientifically. It was perfect and a night I will never forget.
(View from where I made "woo" and where Portland can be seen at night. Photo: Lisa)

We headed out at 10:20pm and at 11:06pm, I made a “woo” call over the ridge of the road with no response. From the point at the fork in the road where we turned right, Portland could be seen off in the distance. Megan’s first wood knock got no response. At the first place we sat at by what we thought was either a meadow or a pond (daylight revealed a little of both), there was a tapping at our 11 o’clock at 11:25pm (we looked out towards the clearing). A creaking noise was heard at our 1-2 o’clock at the same time. Megan tapped back and got no response. The tapping was light but discernable and rhythmic. Ron noted to patterns in our notebook.
At 11:30pm, there was a very distant call in the direction of the creaking sound. It sounded human but no one made a call at that time and we were so far away from everyone else. At 11:41pm, there was another call made but at our 10-11 o’clock that was distant but also human sounding. This one was most likely Cindy and Russ’s group who continued up the road where we went off to the right.
At 11:43pm, I made a small whistle and there was a water-dripping-faucet sound to our 11 o’clock. It was like a “bloop.” Could’ve been a frog but it had also been occurring while we were making our little noises and didn’t happen when we were silent. At 11:47pm, I heard some rustling behind us up the hill where the other side was a ridge that sloped straight down. At 11:58pm, Megan left her apple on a log and we continued further down the trail.
Now what happened next happened really quickly and Ron took down as many notes as he could while we were getting very nervous. We made it to a great spot to sit and listen at about 12:20am. At 12:29am, this is where the weird noises started happening; I heard two simultaneous voices make open-mouthed “ah-oo-eh-vowels” sounds like a deaf person learning to talk or the initial sound you hear of kids coming off the bus home from school. I was closest to it and it sounded like they were crossing the trail not 25-50 yards up my 3 o’clock. They came from the ridge and headed straight across the trail. It lasted about six seconds and stopped at about the time I estimate that they reached the trail and crossed it. We were almost sitting on the trail and were visible.
-                    The next day when all of us investigators, except Russ, went up to investigate it further, Megan walked as far away as I heard the noise and at the spot she replicated it, the trail turned down towards the woods to the left where I believed they had crossed the trail had I not known that the trail actually turned in that direction.
(Me showing the direction of vowel sounds. Photo: Cindy)

Megan and I had decided to make a series of whoops back and forth and at 12:34am, there were three separate noises that took place one after the other. The first (1 o’clock) sounded like an elk squeak sound, the second (12 o’clock) was a creaking sound, and the third (11 o’clock) was another squeak sound.  There was also rustling on the ground heard that followed it but the distance between the three lead me to believe that it wasn’t an owl even though it vaguely reminded me of their sounds. I thought it may have been an elk since we could hear it moving 30-50 yards down in that direction and I didn’t want to be near anything of the sort so I got uneasy and that's about when I began to pull out my audio recorder. The distance needed to cover to make these sounds is more than an elk can do without more ruckus and happened too fast for an owl to make these minutely differing vocalizations.
-                    Investigating the site the next day, since we couldn’t discern that night what we were experiencing, there were tons of trees that lay all over the place out there but it was still thick enough to barely make any people out. The ground was level despite the trees and you couldn’t hear much of the movement. Lisa found two separate indistinct tracks that measured 13.5”. It was also easy to move on the dead trees and between them on the ground.
(Where we sat. Photo: Cindy)

(Going over notes. Photo: Cindy)

(Megan recounting story. Photo: Cindy)

(Photo time)

(More photo time)

(Showing where the chatter came from)

From 12:43-12:45am, we heard very distinct monkey chatter. These did not sound like owls at all. The only way I could describe it while we were experiencing it was like something akin to being at a carnival with “zingers” and that abrupt, high-pitched clown laughter. I called them clown carnival sounds because they were so sporadic and they came out of nowhere from our 10-11 o’clock. It’s worth noting that I am rarely one to use any light when I’m sitting and listening; if anything, it’s a red light. Ron scanned the area with his iPhone Seek thermal camera and his Gen I night vision binoculars and didn’t see a thing. We scanned high and low all over, to no avail.
After two minutes of this going on in the direction where the previous three sounds culminated to, we were all pretty nervous. The noises sounded like they would be close with some also not much farther away. It was not a single sound, there were 3-4 other vocalizers making these noises. The audio I recorded only picked up about 3 seconds of the sounds and the three of us trying to rationalize the situation and talk ourselves down muddles the rest it. It was extremely unnerving and we aren’t people to overreact or get scared. We turned on our white lights and scanned the area for a good few minutes and the sounds stopped.
At 12:48am I made a hillbilly call with no reply and did a howl two minutes later. After my howl, there was that tapping sound close by at our 10-11 o’clock and a distant tapping at 9 o’clock. Megan tried tapping three minutes later and got no reply. Three minutes after that, we walked very briskly out of that trail with our white lights lighting up that forest like a Kiss concert.
Our walk back to camp was filled with rapid discussions of what it could’ve been and if we did the right thing by leaving. It was overwhelming to have that much action so close to us and the noises were unsettling to the extreme. As we were walking back, just about the area where you walk over rocks that are covered by foliage, I turned back and said, “Man, I feel so much better now.” and Megan almost immediately answered that she was just going to say the same thing. Once we reached this certain point, we felt a relief like a weight being lifted off our shoulders.
Our enthusiasm was obvious when we ran into Chris Fosnight as we made it to Tim’s camp (which was a little ways up from Tony’s). I got a well-deserved scolding for not running my audio the entire time. Lesson learned: don’t headache about reviewing all the useless audio leading up to the event, just do it. Chris thinks it was a Barred Owl, which is the common Bigfoot vocals misconception, but I don’t believe it was and when I played the audio for him, he agreed that it was no Barred Owl.
After talking with Chris and heading back to basecamp, Paul scares the shit out of us almost jumping out of his car along the road. He told us that not ten minutes before us walking by, a big stick or rock was thrown and hit the side of his car from the woods across the road from him. He was sleeping inside and it was a loud noise hitting the side of his car. We looked around for any scratches or possible sticks but found none. He followed us in his car and spent the rest of the night at basecamp.
Saturday morning, I woke up and we told the story of our encounter last and I played the sounds for everyone on Chris’s laptop. At 12:30pm, all of the Investigators, except Russ since he was hanging out with Joe Beelart (of Oregon Bigfoot Highway), went to the sites and recounted everything that happened. The apple Megan left remained untouched. Luckily, there were enough of us to scour the area and look around for tracks and signs of movement. At the spot of the main encounter at 12 o’clock, Barbara and Lisa found two separate and indistinct tracks measuring 13.5”. To the 10-11 o’clock, Ron and Brian found two tracks as well.
We spent a few hours combing the area but it turns out that there aren’t any elk in this area. We walked up to the ridge behind our encounter and took photos with the beautiful scenery and Cindy got some great shots of the recreations. After our thorough investigation that resulted in footprints being found, we weren’t 100% validated that it wasn’t something other than Bigfoot, but this is one encounter I know, at the very least, began with a pair of Bigfoot making the vowel sounds up the trail. I believe the chatter was sasquatches as well but I know the vowel sounds were a pair of them.

(Ron sitting and showing where we heard sounds)

(Further up the trail, I believe)

(The view from where I sat)

(The notes Ron took with my recreation notes at bottom)

(After coming out)


When we hiked back to camp, I was pretty tired but had to go right back out to grab my trail cams. I passed by one couple a few times, as they were in the creek by Tony’s camp, later along the trail, and at the Hunter’s Camp. At the small swampy pond, I made a cast of one of the bear tracks. After collecting the three cameras that were out there and carrying out the bear cast, a pair of men hiking asked what the cast was and I told them about the bears in the area.


Upon returning to camp, I had reached my limits and I was pooped. I knew I had to get out of camp early in the morning to make the drive to Portland to attend my first HopSquatch event so I broke down my canopy and packed up all the essential items. Joe Beelart had been invited to attend and he told us some good stories that took place in the surrounding areas. That was a pretty neat talk because I bought his book but hadn’t had a chance to read it yet and now I’d like to even more.




The plan for night hikes that evening was to have three groups go together to the Rimrock trail and the group in the rear would drop off and certain spots. We left at 10pm and Lisa had a group with Ron and Melissa. They stopped and sat at the pond meadow where we left the apple. They had some ground movement, tapping, bloops, faint monkey chatter, a rock thrown that landed 30ft away, and something bumped the log that Melissa and Lisa sat on.
Brian and Mark dropped off second, in the middle of the trail. They heard knocks, significant tapping, and movement.
My group with Gary and Brett at the encounter site didn’t hear very much at all other than some small movement and knocks. I made some small sounds with no responses.
We were out there for a couple of hours and the plan was that the groups would only head back if something major happened or the other group came to meet up. Since my group didn’t have much action and people were growing restless, we decided to walk back first.
Lisa’s group had the most unusual encounters and when we got back, they were totally shaken up almost to the point that we had been the night before. That’s really awesome that the three of them had the encounters that they did. The rock throwing and log bumping are especially peculiar.
When we all made it back to the trailhead around 1am, I suggested that we compare notes now, that way we could eliminate all of the things that had been man-made and wouldn’t have to do it at the morning meeting. After we were left with everything that our three groups couldn’t account for, we went back to basecamp together. I went to bed at 2am and crashed hard.
On Sunday morning, I woke up at 7am, fighting the urge to go back to sleep, and packed up the rest of my gear before the early 8am meeting. There wasn’t much activity that night from any of the other groups. The only thing the R2 unit picked up on the whole trip was heat-signatures from ants on a tree.
After saying goodbyes, I left basecamp following Tom and Megan at 9:08am. I stopped at a Burger King to change out of my pajamas and eat a light breakfast. I’ll tell ya, I may have looked like I’d been in the woods all week but I even more so smelled like it. I made it to the Lucky Labrador in Portland at 11:40am and saved a table for the big group of us that were showing up from the expedition.
This was my first HopSquatch event, this one being hosted by Monster X Radio, and I was pretty excited because it’s an event where every month, Guy Edwards gets great speakers to come and talk. This one was a town hall meeting where people shared their stories and I saw some people I’d seen on Finding Bigfoot. I also saw Craig Flipy and Tyler Bounds. I almost got up to tell the story of what I’d just encountered in their neck of the woods but some of the people just went on and on for 20+ minutes and I ended up just saving my story for this blog. The pizza and prices were fantastic.
There were 11 of us from the expedition and John H. from the Washington expedition showed up as well. It was great to meet up with Barbara, Cindy, Top, John H., Garrett, Russ, Mark, Brian, and Lisa after our long trip in the woods and further unwind eating pizza and drinking cider. Though some of the people telling their stories went on a bit longer than I’d have liked, the event was awesome and it was great to go to one of the things I had only heard about; especially with these new friends of mine. It’s something Reno will probably never have and to be a part of that special community was fun.
(Monster X Radio hosting)

(John H. telling his story)


(James or Jonah telling his story)

(Top, John, Barb, and Mark hanging out)

(Garrett, Brian, and Lisa hanging out)

Left at 3:09pm bound for Cottage Grove, OR to see Lost Dog Street Band, Intuitive Compass, and Shannon Jae at the Axe & Fiddle; but that’s not really related, just another great ending to an amazing Bigfoot trip.
I can’t overstate enough to people that while the goal of the expeditions is to gather evidence of sasquatch, don’t underestimate the friendships you can form along the way. The people I’ve met and continue to meet are very near and dear to my heart and they always will be. Doing things like this with like-minded people is something you’ll never experience sitting behind a computer or in daily life. To make things happen and pursue your passions, you have to do it so if this is something you’re interested in, come along. Don’t second guess yourself or make excuses. Come have the time of my life and your story may be similar to mine; or perhaps you’ll have an even better one. You’ll never know unless you make it happen.
If you’ve read all 19 pages of this, thank you. If you've read any of it, thank you too.
Please bookmark this page, add it to your RSS feed, “like” the Facebook page, share this story, and keep up to date with my adventures in Bigfooting.

* All relevant audio will be posted as soon as I can sift through it all. More photos are on the Facebook page.

* As a side note, the Rimrock trail had been an area of activity the night before the encounter I shared with Ron and Megan. Brian’s group had also heard tapping and knocks in the same areas we were in.



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Washington Expedition Journal (6/22-28/15)

Washington Expedition Journal
June 22-28, 2015
Skye Evans

*Disclaimer: What’s written is from my own experiences. Roughly 35 people attended and their stories are their own. This is mine.


Since becoming an investigator for the BFRO in October, many opportunities have been made available to me; one being the ability to attend any and all expeditions that I want. Washington has been on my bucket list for quite awhile so I signed up when the date was posted for the expedition. The expedition was hosted by Barbara Olvera and Cindy Caddell from June 25th-28th, 2015.
 I loaded up on drinks and snacks for the road and left Reno on Monday at 3am after getting a mere 2-3 hours of sleep post-Father’s Day activities. While driving through the Lassen County National Forest, a small bird was flying across the road and as I was passing it, the bird doubled back and kamikaze’d into my tire. When I got close to the Modoc National Forest, a big black and white bird (name unknown) hit the top of my windshield. I don’t know if I’d call it natural selection but this was a sign of things to come.



On trips like these where I drive nonstop, I find myself never having to stop for restroom breaks but it seemed like every hour, at least ten times, I had to pull over. Distractions like this made my 10-hour drive two hours longer.
On my way up to basecamp, I drove past a deer carcass that had been placed over a tree. It was on my left as the road curved right and I had to double back to get a picture. I hadn’t seen anything like that. Bigfoot? Totally. 




I drove past a live deer further down that just stood on the side of the road checking things out. Not even a few minutes later, I came around another turn and on the right side of the road, out pops a family of four coyotes. The adults stood in the road and two little ones ran across the road and up the steep side of the road. I think I managed to get a couple quick pictures while I stopped for them.


(They're kind of hard to see)
I had been following Google Maps and it led me 12 miles through gravelly back forest roads and upon further inspection of Barbara and Cindy’s directions, I could’ve spent those 12 miles on nice paved roads leading to the same place. I finally arrived at 3:20pm and was the first one there. I parked in the rock quarry that I thought was basecamp and poked around for a few minutes before deciding that I needed a nap. I saved my tent with the intention of using it as a dummy camp later that week (which never panned out) so I tried sleeping in my car. It was way too hot.

I sat outside reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe while harvest ants were pillaging my feet. Now these ants weren’t just walking all over me, they were full on crawling into my flip-flops and biting me all over. Fellow attendees Ken and George showed up at about 6pm and set up camp ¼-mile down the road in a nice enclosed area. I went to sleep as soon as the sun had set behind the row of trees and shade finally reached my car.



I was startled awake at 7am when I heard something walking around my car. I hadn’t heard a car pull in and something bipedal was moving nearby. My heart was racing and I looked out and saw... Kourtnie exploring. When she saw me look out, she threw her hands in the air like, “Don’t shoot!” and I finally calmed down and went back to sleep for another hour.
I sat in my mom’s famous fuzzy blue chair and finished by book at 9am. I wore a cutoff shirt to try and get rid of my farmer’s tan but ended up with a wicked bad sunburn that lasted a few days. I went to go talk to George about Bigfoot and his rock n’ roll drumming career.
I found a Restoration Project trail that led to a small meadow with a creek nearby afterwards when I was out exploring. I later walked down the road and a deer with its fawn came out of the forest 20 yards ahead of me. They stopped and looked at me for a minute then walked around the corner and left. All this wildlife coupled with the thick forest convinced me that this was prime habitat for predators like Bigfoot. My hopes for seeing one increased after the coyotes and deer.
The sun in that rock quarry was killer and I knew I wouldn’t get any sleep if I couldn’t get any shade so I decided to bite the bullet and drove an hour back to Hood River, OR and went to a very small Walmart to buy a canopy along with other supplies. I ate at a Subway while in town that really hit the spot. My final stop before returning to basecamp was Rite Aid and I picked up some candy and expensive sunscreen. It wasn’t quality sunscreen either; it was their generic brand for $10.99. It was my own fault for not thinking about it.
Hood River, Oregon is extremely beautiful along the shoreline. It’s a big river with picturesque views of people wave boarding, paragliding, swimming, and kayaking. I wanted to go swim so badly but wanted to return to basecamp before it got dark so I drove across the $1 toll bridge and headed back. The bridge is a death trap. I’m convinced that they built it to test people’s driving skills of looking at the scenery while also driving 25mph in a compact lane where car paint streaked across the railing and every passing car spelled “side swipe.”


I made it back to basecamp at 6:10pm. Just as I turned my radio on, Chris had called in to say he was pulling in too. I decided to move my camp from the rock quarry to the next area over and set up next to Cindy. Setting the canopy up was easy but staking it down was impossible. The entire area was so rocky that I bent three stakes and had to use two of Cindy’s because they were so heavy-duty but even those only went in about half way. That night, I sat around the campfire until midnight with Cindy, Top (from Texas), Chris, and Kourtnie. Everyone told really good ghost stories, which is something I’ve been dying to discuss for a long time. I tried to watch a movie on my tablet when I snuggled into my sleeping bag but I fell asleep really quickly. My terrible sunburn made sleeping on my side impossible and I tossed and turned all night.
I woke up Wednesday morning with sunburn pains and helped Cindy get her canopy up with the same stake trouble that I had with mine. At 11am, I went on a short hike with Cindy, Jim, and Kourtnie to a small meadow (what I call Kourtnie Meadow) down the road where Kourtnie had a Class A sighting the year before. The road hadn’t been used in a long time because trees were growing over it and plants grew in abundance in the middle of it. The dense forest alleviated the 90-degree heat a bit and the humidity was just below the level of discomfort.


Kourtnie set up her trail camera in the forest opposite the road and meadow into the tree line where she had her sighting and I set mine up to look out across the meadow. The only videos I captured were of a bee that has hovering in the middle of the frame looking directly into the camera lens. It was funny because it would come in and out of the frame like, “What is this doing here? Oh! Here it is!” and taunted it. I should adjust the settings to have it trigger for better heat sources but this was just funny.
Barbara arrived late at 7:30pm after people had been getting worried since she said she would arrive on Tuesday. During the day, 16 out of about 40 people had shown up. The expeditions always formally begin on Thursdays and few people ever arrive the day before so 16 early people was pretty interesting.
Kourtnie and I had wanted to return to the smaller meadow nearby Kourtnie Meadow that evening and I thought we would be the only ones who wanted to go on a night hike but I was wrong. What was supposed to be two of us turned into 13, so we left for the meadow at 10pm. We followed the road to a dead end where it looked like people had been cooking up meth or doing something other than camping.
 I used my baseball bat and made a wood knock at 10:23pm and three minutes later, I heard something like a “bwaaahh.” Cindy and some other people heard sticks breaking nearby. I did another knock a couple minutes later and we immediately heard a bear and what sounded like a woman talking between our position and the road. It was the weirdest thing because it was distinctly voices but we couldn’t make out any words. Turns out, Cathleen and her son Iain had been walking down the road trying to catch up with us but eventually turned back. Kourtnie made two calls 10 minutes apart with no response.
We then decided to walk back up the road to spread out and sit in the smaller meadow. We were there for about 45 minutes and Cindy and Kourtnie decided to walk around and sing a little bit. It was pretty funny hearing them far off trying to get a “setlist” together. Cindy asked, “Do you know Cher?” and Kourtnie replied, “Fuck yeah I know Cher!” They didn’t seem to stir up any sort of response. Bigfoot must not be a Cher fan. 
About the time they were walking back, I thought that I had seen the controversial eye glow everyone talks about but this was white. My night vision is bad enough so I wasn’t sure if it was my eyes and brain trying to connect the dots. Greg walked out to where I had seen it and there wasn’t anything there so that validates my skepticism in my own ability to differentiate between true eye glow and bad vision. Without having seen the “real thing,” it’s tough to know what you’re really seeing. Midnight rolled around and we decided to call it a night and I went to bed at 1:10am.
I woke up Thursday morning wanting to explore and set up another trail camera. I was browsing the area on my GPS and found two small ponds that were a little further down the road and set that as my destination. I asked the people who were awake if they’d like to come with me to scout out the area and Jim, Meighan, and Greg with his son Nathaniel decided to come along. The first pond was small and inaccessible from the road so we walked another 50 yards and came to the bigger one and followed one of the many game trails to reach it. The trails had bear, deer, coyote, and many other tracks.
There wasn’t any shore to walk on so we stayed on the side by a marsh. Opposite where we were was a big game trail that lead upwards to the road but it was too steep to lead a group in. I had an internal debate about whether to leave a camera or not and ended up deciding against it because I don’t think the trigger range was long enough to capture something and finding a spot to place the camera was difficult.
We bushwhacked our way out and back onto the main road to walk down a bit further. When we got to the next crossroad, Ken and George drove by in their car and told us that Little Fish Lake was up ahead. That had been one of the areas I wanted to find but my GPS looked like the only road nearby was about a mile from where we started so I didn’t mention that to anyone earlier and we tried to see if a creek was accessible enough to follow but it was too dense. When Ken told us it wasn’t very far ahead, we decided to go for it and hike up the road.
When we reached the turnout, we found a big log tent structure around a fire pit. Bigfoot stick structure? Of course. We found the trail and walked down into Little Fish Lake. It was the perfect spot to hang out, listen, and set up a trail camera so I put one up in front of some very fresh bear scat and overlooked the shore. The muddy shore at the entrance had some bare footprints where someone had gone in to swim. 


The only videos I got were of Scott looking around the next day and John Hammer picking his nose. What was supposed to be a short and easy trip turned into a 3.5-mile hike and everyone was hot and exhausted so we hiked back to basecamp.



Everyone met at 7pm for our first meeting around the big fire pit. We went around in a circle introducing ourselves with fun facts and I was able to remember everyone’s name, something that is difficult for me to even remember one person’s name. Barbara asked me to help lead a night hike with her and I told her I’d like to go to Little Fish Lake and she wanted to play music so that was where we went for the evening. I was glad that Barbara had taken my suggestions and asked me to help lead for some of the hikes.



Barbara let me borrow her guitar and Top had just picked up playing the guitar so I borrowed his tuner and capo for the evening. While I was tuning, Top brought his guitar out to show me his progress on his favorite Vivaldi piece. Lou heard the music and came over while I was messing around with Arlo Guthrie’s “Ring Around A Rosy Rag” and joined in playing lead. It was a fun little jam session. Cindy came out of her trailer and told us about her past as a singer in bands so we tried to find something we could all play. I followed Lou and we played a bit of some Eagles song and Cindy sang. She promised that she’d bring her songbook to the Oregon trip and we could really play.
At 10:30pm, Barbara grabbed her bodhran signed by Bob Gimlin and we drove up to Little Fish Lake. We carried in our chairs, sat down, and the Little Fish Band was formed with Cindy, Cathleen, Brian, and Eric and his daughter Kaitlyn. I played “I Hope You Come Around” and a butchered version of Tom Yamarone’s “Bigfoot – The Living Legend.” Kaitlyn played the bodhran and the echo across the lake was so thundering and cool. Later on, I just played a chord progression and everyone clapped to make noise. We couldn’t hear the calls or knocks from other groups and no one could hear us so we were pretty isolated. At 12:45am, we decided to pack it in and call it a night. I eventually went to bed at 2am. I did have my recorder set up nearby so I expect the Little Fish Band album to go triple platinum this year.
I woke up sweaty and tired, as with every morning since the sun rose where I had no shade, and went to Barbara and Su Sikora’s talk at 9am Friday morning. There wasn’t any shade at the fire pit until the evening so we had the talk and subsequent morning meetings down the road in the shade. Su brought these neat evidence envelopes with all the info people needed to consider when collecting evidence and Barbara talked about the importance of science and going about Bigfoot in a professional manner. I think it was good for the first-timers to learn just how much goes into research and how to go about it the right way.
At the 11am meeting where everyone goes over what happened during the last night’s hikes, no one seemed to have any action except Top. Barbara had attained a $12K “R2-D2” FLIR unit from the BFRO that could be mounted on the hood of a truck and remote controlled inside to have a 360-degree thermal image. Top had volunteered to be the driver and take groups out at night in groups of four. On one of the drives where there were some road construction dividers, a rock had been thrown from the woods to the right that scratched his paint and left a dent on the lower right-hand side of Top’s rear bumper by the taillight. It wasn’t him breaking a branch by driving over it, a rock getting kicked up, or anything like that. Jerry had heard the *Whack!* and they stopped and therm’d around but couldn’t see anything. That was the only interesting thing to happen to anyone from the previous evening.
I needed some ice so luckily Cathleen was going into town and I hitched a ride with her. At the store, I grabbed a bunch of drinks and snacks and almost paid when Cathleen said, “Skye, don’t you need some ice for all of that?” and I’m so glad she spoke up because I would’ve left without having the one thing I really needed. The 30-minute drive back to basecamp was nice because we talked about traveling, careers, and the car was so cold with air conditioning that I almost fell asleep.


At 3:15pm, after drinking some SoBe, I agreed to go along with some people that were going to a creek to look for footprints. I was extremely tired at that point but it’s not every day that you can do things like this with strangers so I went along. There were four vehicles going to the creek and I rode with Cindy and others. We were quite the caravan parking on the side of the road to go explore and we all got out en masse and headed for the creek. 

Cindy’s daughter Megan decided to come on the trip so I hiked with her and Iain ahead of the group and bushwhacked around in exploration. There were three spots where something had walked through the creek but there wasn’t a chance of foot definition for reasons that will become apparent below.



We were crossing logs when Megan fell in the creek. I had to cross a log and the sand looked sturdy enough to hold me jumping across so I took the plunge and the sand gave out. I sunk down to my knees and everyone laughed. When you fall in that deep, you think you can just lift your legs out but I was stuck for a second so I threw my arms up and laughed. It was in that moment of losing control that my tired mood shifted 180-degrees and I was suddenly having the absolute best time of my life. It’s when you stop caring so much and give in to the fact that you can’t control everything that letting it all go means you’re really free. My legs were covered in mud, my boots were soaked, and I couldn’t change any of it so I went with it and was bouncing all over the place happier than I’ve been in a long time.

Iain, Megan, and I continued on ahead of the group and went far off across a frog-filled meadow into the forest where there were a ton of deer and elk tracks everywhere. There were so many trails around that we could’ve explored forever but Cindy was calling out for Megan thinking she had been alone so we turned back to join the group. Following Iain out of the woods, we came across a patch where something had hunkered down and depressed the grass around it. It couldn’t have been a herd of something because this was the only spot like it so I took a photo and we moved on back to the cars where everyone was waiting for us. I took my boots off and smacked a lot of the dirt off and walked around the road in my wet socks. Cindy drove us back and I immediately threw those socks in the trash, put on my flip-flops, and set those boots out to dry.









That evening, Su and I led a small hike to try and find this elk meadow with David and Jim. We had walked almost a mile and my GPS showed what looked like the meadow but we never found it. People had said we’d know it when we saw it but we learned that we didn’t walk far enough and we were only about half way. While walking on the road, we heard what sounded like a knock but was actually an elk scratching its antlers on a tree.
Cutting our losses, Jim and I decided to check out the area my GPS had pointed out and Su and David walked ahead on the road. We bushwhacked through the thick trees and bushes and found a small restoration area that had some small open areas. Jim wanted to follow the path but I thought that it wouldn’t lead anywhere and we were pretty far in so we made our way back to the road. It was like walking through a crowded concert, that’s how dense the trees were. It was a blast.
Barbara was conducting research on eye shine and if humans could do it so when our group reconvened at 12:10am, we tried it. One person stood still, another 10ft and 20ft away shining a flashlight into the others’ eyes, and 1-2 people stood behind the flashlight to see if the eyes shined. None of us reflected the flashlight shine.
David did a knock at 12:02am with no response. I heard definite steps 30 yards away in the woods for 3 minutes but couldn’t see the source of the movement. We walked down the road to where Brian Herzog (Zog) was camped and laid on the road listening for sounds. David did a wicked cougar call, Su made great coyote calls, and I did a Bigfoot call. No responses were made. The group had been talking and I, being comfortable lying on the warm road with my sweatshirt as a pillow, fell asleep. Su, who has a very soft voice, was repeating my name trying to wake me up and I had no idea I had fallen asleep. Jim told me I was out for about 20 minutes. That was the best catnap.
We eventually made it back to basecamp, somehow I made in back in my slumbering stupor, and we sat around the campfire. Theresa and Kelly’s daughters were making s’mores and it was hilarious to watch their fighting and explanations for bizarre techniques. I took another catnap and Top woke me up to ask if I wanted to go for an R2 ride but I was too tired and decided to go to bed at 2:30am.
Saturday morning, I woke up after everyone else at 9:30am and lounged around eating bagels and listening to Cindy and Meighan talk about anthropology since Cindy had her degree and Meighan is in school for it. At the 11am meeting on last night’s events, Cathleen heard a distressed deer and Zog and Megan heard a couple unannounced calls. Su and I didn’t take any notes and Barbara was disappointed when it came around to us to describe events but we didn’t have anything to report other than our eye shine experiment so there were no notes to take.
At noon, Brian tagged along and we went to go collect my two trail cameras at Little Fish Lake and Kourtnie Meadow. We talked the whole way and it was nice talking to a stranger but having similar interests. Brian is big into fly-fishing and I have a friend Jeff who also is so I think Brian is Jeff’s future self. It was quite a hike to go to both spots and on the sign out sheet at basecamp, I approximated our return as 3pm and we made it back at 2:56pm so it was perfect and just in time for Chris’s foot casting class.
Chris had a great handout with formulas and techniques and his class was extremely thorough. He had three methods (bucket, bag, and bottle) and enough supplies for a few groups to go out and try to cast various tracks around the camp. The bottle method is like a Shake Weight and we all had a great time watching Greg and Nathaniel from Texas shaking the stuff together. I helped Jerry find a couple bear tracks so we casted those and he let me keep one of them. It was nice of Chris to prepare all of that and give people something tangible to take home as a memento of the expedition because you can’t really bring Bigfoot home.













We had a potluck at 7pm and I made the mistake of having already eaten a cup of ramen and spaghetti & meatballs so I wasn’t particularly hungry. I ate some of my Chips Ahoy and chips & dip though. I did have a turkey slider though because, well, turkey slider. Cindy’s “The Human Past” anthropology discussion followed right after and her handout was fascinating. George asked some great questions and the discussion went quite well.
I decided that my final evening would be pretty low-key so I sat up on the rock quarry for a little while and then rode with Top to try out the R2 unit. I was the only one for that since everyone else was out at other places so I got the whole cab to myself to control and watch the 19” TV screen for thermal sightings. I got to ride around for the longest, an hour and a half, and saw two deer at separate times and places. Out of all of Top’s previous groups prior to me, they had only seen one deer so I doubled that. Ha! We both got pretty tired, I’m sure I catnapped in classic Skye fashion, and we drove back to basecamp to hang out with Megan and Kourtnie.


We all sat around the fire discussing the finer things in life, Unsolved Mysteries and X-Files, when out of nowhere, the three of them heard three calls that weren’t announced and occurred around 1:15am before Greg called in his three calls from far away so they decided to go sit at the rock quarry, everyone else having gone to bed, and listen for more calls. Jim was at Steamboat Rock and had been announcing that he was making calls but we never heard them. I hung back around the fire and couldn’t hear any of Greg’s aggressive calls. At 1:31am, I heard a definite knock to the left of basecamp. No one else was awake and Mark had already returned from the group that went to a meadow in that direction. That was pretty cool.
The Blue Team, which Greg was a part of, returned at 2:30am. Ken and George were the original people who went to Steamboat Rock and they had come back around 1am and at the time, we had no idea that it was Jim who was alone up there. Jim followed them up there and then hung back to listen. When Blue Team returned and we finally figured out that it was Jim up there and we could barely hear his radio transmissions at basecamp, Greg and Nathaniel drove up as a rescue team and Jim had already been on his way back. He wasn’t responding to any of our messages and I could only hear bits and pieces when he would call in like, “Call. Alone. Scared.”
Jim finally pulled in and the first thing he did was put a dip of tobacco in his mouth, light a cigar, and take sips of rye. It was comical for the rest of us but he had some interesting experiences and it was his first expedition AND he was all alone and out of radio contact for the most part. He heard branches breaking, big thumps, and a whoop in response to one of his own nearby. Jim said that at one point, he raised is arms in surrender and that’s when he’d hear movement and when he put his arms down, the movement stopped. This happened a few times and he started talking to whatever was out there with him. After a while, it stopped and he decided to come back to basecamp. I don’t know if he heard any of our transmissions to him.
After Jim was finally settled down back by the fire, we were hearing movement behind Chris’s camp and it moved along across the path where we walked to cast stuff. It ended up around Kourtnie’s camp and Top, Cindy, Greg, Nathaniel, and I decided to go follow it.
We anxiously walked in and it was brought up that in our fervor, we forgot bear spray so I ran and got some from Jerry. Back on track, we followed it and it sounded so close that we all turned on our white lights and found nothing. Greg grabbed a branch and made a couple of small knocks and I figured basecamp would know it was us but I radioed to them that it was us and after I spoke, my walkie-talkie beeped. Low battery. It died. I told everyone it just died and said, “Uh oh. This is how it all starts…” and we all broke out laughing and walked back to the fire full of glee.
At the fire, Iain mentioned that a lot of the bear growls we heard around camp, and there were a ton of them every evening for a few hours, that they were most likely the tail feathers of a nighthawk. The sun comes out at 4:30am and I went to bed at 4:15am. That’s the latest I stayed up during the entire trip and it was a great way to end the expedition.
Sunday morning, I woke up at 8am and packed up my car ready and anxious to return home to a nice bed. The 9am meeting went well and none of the groups had any action other than what’s already been noted. The goodbyes were bittersweet since we all became great friends during the trip and it was all coming to a close. I left basecamp at 10am and arrived home at 9:08pm. I stopped for gas once and food once; no restroom nonsense like before. It will take awhile for me to review all of my audio and that will be posted at a later time.
I’ll never forget this trip and all the funny memories like John Ray’s trivia where he’d give out Bigfoot trinkets, “Arkansas Bill’s” funny stories, and the in-depth discussions with various people. The expedition was top-notch and the purpose of expeditions is to not only get evidence of Bigfoot but to also teach people how to go about it and apply it to their own personal research. The best part that I get out of it is the networking and building friendships with complete strangers and bonding through a shared interest of Bigfoot. It doesn’t matter who you are or your stance on the subject; we’re brought together for a common cause and we’d never experience anything like this in any other outlet in life.
Seeing Bigfoot is never guaranteed but sometimes it’s more about the journey than the destination. What I take away from these trips is so much more than the unusual sounds and stories. Finding words for these expedition journals is difficult but finding Bigfoot is a whole other story.

If you read this entire 16-page tome, thank you. If you read any of it, thank you too.
I will post any good audio after I review it. All photos are posted on the Facebook page.