Posted by: Rick Noll on February 9th, 2006
(Nine Inch Nails – Into The Void)
Cliff and Betty invited us to spend the night with them. This is their winter home… 500 feet or so away is their summer home. This one takes less energy to heat so they move over here when the snow comes. We accepted and they took us over to the other place.
Cliff let us in and told us to make ourselves at home and that he would be in after a bit… he had a quick chore or two outside. We walked in on a porch like structure with a hanging horse blanket as the actual room door. Moving it slightly to the side and walking in both Dave and I were taken aback at what confronted us. If we had any question as to Cliff’s ability to identify and differentiate between animals this room answered them all. I had no doubt that Cliff knew what animals were running around his neck of the woods… now he knew something about Bigfoot too.
There was a wood stove in the kitchen area we just passed through (what we thought was the porch) and one in this room for heating. There were spurs on the walls and we could hear mice in the cabinets. On one wall were the mounted heads of black-tail and mule deer, a mountain goat, black bear with paws mounted below and to the sides. There was also bobcat, cougar, antelope and elk. On the end tables to either side of a dusty looking couch were two stuffed bald eagles, the coffee table had a coyote skin draped over it with a horned owl and falcon as the center piece.
We started backing up after looking down at our feet and realizing that we were standing on a horsehide rug, complete with a mane still attached. Turning around to leave we then made out the mounted ‘other’ ends of the heads from the opposite wall. I had to ask… “Dave? Are those the butts of the heads behind us and are we standing on a horse skin?”
“Yeah… think so. Must have been called ‘Paint”… skinned and kept it here cause it served him well…” Dave answered back. It was an appaloosa. I laughed a bit.
Neither one of us knew what to do. Could we sleep in here? Just then the porch door creaked and shuddered as it opened, blowing the horse blanket and letting in some even more frigid air then was currently in the room. Cliff came in and asked what we thought of his trophies… his arms full with wood bolts.
Dave answered… “You got all of these animals yourself?” “Yeap”, was the short answer. Cliff lit the stove, then stood up and looked down. “This is ol’e Paint… served me well so I had him skinned and put him in here. You boy’s can have supper with us at 6 if you want… nothing special but it will stick to your sides.” With that and a smile he was gone.
We made ourselves as comfortable as possible. I didn’t want to put out my sleeping bag till it was actually time to sleep… didn’t want to think about what might crawl in there if I left it out till then. So I just sat down on a chair.
We went over the days events and decided that we could think better walking so outside we went… we ended up at the neighbors. We couldn’t think of a reason not to go up and knock, asking if they had heard anything the night the tracks were discovered. We were greeted by Wendy and Gary G.. They told us that they in fact did hear heavy crunching footsteps on their driveway the same night the Cliff and Betty did. Their dogs also started barking furiously right afterwards and they could hear other dogs off in the distance start up a little later. They had first thought that it was just Cliff’s dog – Chainsaw – running free. Chainsaw was tied up that night.
(Nirvana – Very Ape)
The tracks supported the story. The creature was on the covered porch. It walked to and from the compacted snow covered driveway. We didn’t think to look at the two vehicles there to see if the animal had touched one of them as it passed them by, but Betty told us the tracks continued out to the vehicles and disappeared there, on the hard pack driveway.
It had left the porch after raising the washtub, grabbing the cellophane wrapped poor-boy sandwich, bacon and beef. The wrappered sandwich was dropped near the tracks that led us to the spring on the Libby’s back property. Animals have almost a six-sense in finding open fresh water… either it is the smell or the sound that must attract them. Was it thirsty or just investigating?
This was a pivotal investigation for me. Everything fit into place as to this being a real animal roaming the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. The tracks looked real and fit logically into the story wove by the couple. The area habitat could easily support a Bigfoot with shelter, food, water and a small population for procreation without being seen too often.
I had now seen first hand good Bigfoot tracks; saw how they indicated behavior of a new species of giant ape, talked with eyewitnesses who had the evidence to support their claims.
When I first started all of this I think I really could not bring myself to believe that such a creature actually existed, going undocumented in one of the more industrialized, monitored and populated areas of the world. But now… damn… those tracks made the hair on my neck rise up, made me look towards the surrounding snow-covered hillsides and forested clumps. ‘Are you really out there’, I thought?
The pictures here really do an injustice to the tracks. They measured 16” – 17” x 7” – 8”. They were punched through a crusty top snow layer 1.5’ – 2.5’ in depth. The tracks had a slight arch to them and the toes showed independent movement between tracks, some with the toes pushed back while others were long and digging in as if to grip.
I wondered about casting tracks in snow. How should it have been done? And why couldn’t Peter have instructed them.
Rick Noll has been actively searching for the Sasquatch since 1969 and continues his pursuit with extended field trips into the Pacific Northwest's most remote regions. Rick has worked with Peter Byrne, René Dahinden, Grover Krantz, John Green, Jeff Meldrum and the BFRO during all this. He helped with many documentaries on the subject including Animal X: The Skookum Expedition and Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science.