Posted by: Rick Noll on November 5th, 2005
Washington, January 25, 2004…
I now use a small Sony digital MD recorder to interview people. The quality is really amazing! You can be sitting almost anywhere and get sound like it was professionally made in a studio…I’m sure that some of that is due to the microphone too… can you tell I am kind of a geek when it comes to technology?
Rick Noll – This one’s…
John Green – Oh… North Bend.
Rick Noll – Yeah… North Bend. Starts off with North Bend and goes into the others… OK! Go!
John Green – Well, I don’t claim to be any expert on track identification, but in a lot of cases these tracks are simply unmistakable, I mean they’re, they’re so deep in the ground and so big they couldn’t be anything else, and the weight is so great that you…that there’s no way that humans…no way that anyone has ever been able to demonstrate anyway that humans could make them. Ah, but one thing you… you can look for is that if… if a person is wearing rigid feet, rigid big feet to make footprints and they try to make long strides or to run…the toes not being able to bend is just… like a bunch of little trowels… digging into the dirt and throwing… dirt or sand up, up… in a ridge up behind the toe marks. We got great deep toe marks with a ridge of dirt behind… So the first tracks like that…I saw were at North Bend in Washington and at the time we were…they didn’t look right but…anyway, we were wondering about them.
Sometime after that… when I… was trying out a pair of wooden feet and well there were two of us and…found that I could run in those days with another man on my back and we made tracks that looked so much like the North Bend tracks that…was obvious that’s how those, how that effect comes about.
You know… most of the things that people… will call you to look at… are either obviously something else or not obviously anything. And then of course there are some things where you scratch your head and think maybe that’s a track and maybe it isn’t and then there, once in a while there’ll turn up a really unmistakable set of tracks that leaves you in the position of, well there you know, something made that track! What was it? And ahh…that’s what were all trying to find out.
Rick Noll – OK.
(The Who – Don’t Get Fooled Again)
North Bend, Washington, February 28, 1976…
I woke up, climbed out of my sleeping bag and lit the fire in the pit. It was cold and slightly foggy. I pulled the hood of my bear coat up a little more around my neck. My actions created a disturbance and woke Peter. He pushed his head out of his own sleeping bag. He had slept with his knit cap on next to a tree, Celia stirred beside him. He looked at me and said good morning. I nodded.
I continued with the makings for coffee…
Dave Smith and I had been camped along the south fork of the Snoqualmie River since the night before…Ok, so one of those nights was in the local garbage dump. Our theory had been that a Bigfoot might just visit these dumps to look for small mammals to eat. We had stayed there long enough to watch the local entertainment start up… that of shooting rats.
Sitting in Dave’s puke green Rambler station wagon I thought – How many times is that kid going to shoot that thing anyway? – The small animal I took to be a rodent wasn’t moving but the kid kept shooting it with his 22 rifle, standing right over it. – Ok enough is enough! He’s going to catch a ricochet pretty soon.
A Bigfoot isn’t going to come around here, I thought, not with all this shooting going on. Time to move on. Thus we began camping on the river’s edge, right where the four-toed Bigfoot tracks had been found, on the other end of town.
After our first night there, Peter and Celia showed up.
In the 1970’s, the Bigfoot community wasn’t really connected, it didn’t have the Internet, everything was done by telephone or through the U.S. Mail. Shoot, GPS was the stuff of Buck Rogers still. Reports came to us through newspaper articles and radio news announcements. A lot of reports had to be just follow-ups because of this fact. Word traveled pretty slowly between the various research groups. The main issue, as I have stated before was the Kill or Not to Kill a Sasquatch one. Dave and I found ourselves aligned on the Not To side. We kind of thought this ostracized us from many others… but there was a lot more going on under the surface than WPD’s (weapons of primate destruction).
From the very beginning my main operating procedure was to try and follow-up on reports such as this one. I gave up in the mid 80’s. With the advent of the Internet, in late 1999, I decided to try chasing the reports again but gave up once again a few years later. Following-up on sightings, but not so much on track finds, uses up a lot of energy and resources that could otherwise be used for more productive tasks. I will still follow-up on something if there is suppose to be some physical evidence on hand but if it is just a sighting… there are plenty of others out there who enjoy that part more and I leave it all to them.
North Bend, Washington, February 26, 1976…
Dave had been listening to a local radio station in Seattle and heard about Bigfoot tracks being found in North Bend. This was Sunday afternoon, 1/25/76. Apparently two local men were looking for old coins and the like on the sand bars of the Snoqualmie River. Here they discovered a track way that even crossed the river, a note we should remember later. The tracks stretched for miles they said.
We waited for Peter to call us with the details from his Dalles Oregon headquarters. At 7:00pm, he finally did. Jim French and Joe Langston were the people who found the four-toed tracks. He told us that it would be helpful if we could get up there and to meet up with another member of his team, Lynn McKenney. We were to try and secure any evidence found of course. Peter then wanted to make sure we were all on the same page about four-toed tracks… either there should be a fifth toe or they weren’t real. He didn’t want anybody thinking otherwise later on. I thought this kind of strange. He hadn’t even seen the tracks yet. Asking about it he said that Lynn had filled him in enough to make these assertions.
We got directions from a reporter at the Valley Record, Dave Workman. He told us that about f
our inches of rain had fallen on the area but there were some people there probably preserving things by covering up tracks. We headed out shortly after…
Our 50-mile trip up ended at North Bend’s garbage dump.
North Bend, Washington, February 27, 1976…
When we finally got to the river where the tracks were found we found Lynn camped nearby. A quick guided tour got us to the tracks in question, covered with cardboard. I looked real hard to see if there was a hint of a big toe. No luck there but man were they wide.
We met up with two men (Greg Martin and Don Johnson), packing side-arms, who just drove to the site to have a look see. They told us that they have been checking the brush nearby and haven’t found anything else yet but would let us know if they do. We spy a small beat-up cabin nearby and they tell us the owners have been in California for awhile… No one’s home. They finally got back in their car and left us three there next to the tracks.
Then Lynn excused himself, said he had to go into town, he was going to call Peter. He just found out that John Green was on his way here and wanted to let him know.
Something felt odd with these other two who drove up. Like we were being probed about what we knew so far. We never did really figure them out.
Another pair of men showed up in a car a short time later… Dave and I had started taking pictures of the tracks, moving cardboard out of the way just for a quick picture. We picked out one we wanted to cast when they drove up and stormed out towards us. It was Dick Grover and Dennis Gates. I knew Dick but this was the first time I had met Dennis.
Dick’s claim to fame in all of this Bigfoot stuff was in obtaining a WSDOT Curves Ahead metal sign that a couple of teenagers said was hit by the swinging arms of a giant hairy manlike thing they saw crossing a road at Fife-Heights… actually quite close to where I currently lived. The sign had some scratches on the back of it, like claw marks might have made if dragged across it.
Dennis was a colorful character. Squat and bulldoggish. He wore a red baseball like hunting cap and plaid shirt. He too was armed, spoke with a stutter, mocking any conversation to the point you couldn’t help but try and finish as soon as possible. This upset him even more, producing spittle, which flew towards Dave and I. We knew when to back away and for the life of me I wonder to this day why we didn’t do so right then and there.
Don’t believe what everyone say’s when it comes to photographing tracks. A straight on shot, overhead is not always the best, showing none of the depth or sections that rise.
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.