About a year ago I received some pictures of footprints found in a remote area near Lake Tahoe. After interviewing the witness (a parent of a child I had in my wilderness class), I was convinced that it was highly unlikely the tracks could have been a hoax. I submitted the pictures to several researchers who could not disprove the evidence.

I have been a tracker for years myself and I have no idea what made those prints. All I know is that they were big, showed five distinct toes and had a long stride. The hill they descended was incredibly steep and continued into a very thick, dark drainage. No one in their right mind would go down there, especially in a snowstorm.

Of the 50-plus years I’ve lived in the Sierras, I’ve seen and heard some things I cannot explain. I’ve hunted the mountains for decades but have never seen the elusive creature known as Bigfoot. So why won’t this myth go away?

Every month someone comes up with another video and most of them are laughable at best. But there still seems to be a fascination that keeps die hard Bigfoot hunters searching. I’ll have to admit that every time I go into the woods I look for evidence — I just can’t stop looking and I don’t think I will ever quit.

I think the thing that has me most perplexed is that this myth has been around for thousands of years with sightings of similar creatures all around the world. It seems pretty odd to me that Native Americans in North America described the same giant, hairy, ape-like creature that was seen in the Himalayan mountains. Petroglyphs on cave walls show similar features to ones found on the other side of the earth. Something was going on that we may never know the truth about.

Frustratingly though, we see these cheesy reality shows depicting overweight hillbillies fumbling through the swamps of Louisiana with shotguns looking for a “Squatch.” Then we have the crew of overdramatic gear heads dawning the latest cammo patterns and equipment I’ve never even heard of. Suddenly a rock files into camp and they all break the sound barrier as they “narrowly escape certain death.” Oh please!

And people have us convinced that they know the sounds these creatures make. “Hang on fellows, I’m gonna do a whoop and a tree knock.” Really? Now we have a bunch of people knocking on trees and whooping when they go into the woods. Who came up with this stuff? 

So, we can be assured that the hoaxes will get more and more elaborate as technology continues to advance, and that’s gonna make it difficult to gather actual evidence (if there really is any).

Since the famous Patterson film (considered the best Bigfoot evidence ever), sightings have increased exponentially. Is this just a result of a strange and creepy collective consciousness that makes us believe what we think we are seeing, or is it more than that? I sometimes wonder how influential that film was. It seems like we humans are drawn to dark mysterious myths.

Then there are those who absolutely swear they saw the creature. I’ve heard stories of big, strong men that will never go back in the woods again. I gotta admit, I’ve been really freaked out before and it wasn’t a bear I was sensing. I’ve been around many bears and this was a very different experience. It was almost like something very intelligent was watching me. It was a helpless feeling, one I can’t put my finger on.

It was as if my .45 Ruger loaded with Buffalo Bore ammo offered no sense of security whatsoever. When the hair stands up on the back of your neck and you have no idea why—that kind of a feeling. That’s the feeling that keeps me searching for whatever’s been eluding us in the woods for so long. I’m not alone . . .

Photo credit: Youtube