[Article by North Bend resident and owner of Miss Lola’s Academy for Wayward Dogs, Melissa Grant.]
Most cultures have stories of a giant, hairy creature that appears to be half man and half ape. In the Himalayans it’s the Yeti. In the south the creature is known as the Skunk Ape, but here in the Pacific Northwest we call him Sasquatch or simply Bigfoot.
The legend of Bigfoot can be traced back to native coastal tribes. The Lummi called it Ts’emekwes, the Chinook Skookums, still others named it Kwi-kwyai or Stiyaha and told tales of cannibalism. Children were told not to utter their names or they would be kidnapped. Some tales were less menacing, such as the giant who reportedly lived in the mountains near Spokane and stole salmon from nets or the creature in British Columbia whose name translates to “benign faced one.”
Those old tales and locations correlate with the modern stories and sightings we hear about now. In fact, according to the BFRO (Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization), this beast has been seen in every single state, except for Hawaii, with the most sightings in WASHINGTON STATE!
According to the BFRO, Washington State has had 635 reported sightings. Many of these sightings were in King County and more than a few have been in the Snoqualmie Valley. In August 2000 three people saw one beyond a clearing, pacing back and forth just inside the tree line by one of the mud parking areas (must have forgotten where he left his car.) He was described as 7+ feet tall with dark fur covering his body. Other sightings have been reported on logging trails by horseback riders, campers near Snow Lake and one at a campsite near Tinkham Road.
I had a sighting myself once coming home from a dental procedure. Slightly sedated, I looked up to see a giant Bigfoot standing in the back of a pickup truck on the freeway. After shaking the cobwebs away, I realized it was a giant statue on his way to some place either in or over the mountains. Perhaps a themed restaurant or maybe some slightly eccentric persons front yard. I snapped a photo but will never know where he ended up.
So why is all this coming up now? Well recently a picture showed up on the Snoqualmie Ridge Facebook page of…something. It was on the Snoqualmie River near the Salish Lodge and looked big and kind of, well, odd Some said it was a uprooted tree. Others said it was a bear, Elk, Slender Man. A river monster, alien and giraffe all were also floated as possibilities, but the most popular opinion seemed to be that it was distinctly Squatchy.
So, after deciding to look it, I began researching who to talk to about the picture. That first led me to Roxanne, the original poster, and Tina who works at the Snoqualmie Falls gift shop. They led me to a man who works in the area, lives nearby and whose son took the picture. But while waiting to hear back from him, I discovered Joey, a local who is also a Bigfoot researcher.
Joey, a Washington native, became fascinated with Bigfoot 20 years ago as a child in Poulsbo when he and his brother had a close encounter. One night around 10:30 he and his brother were playing basketball and heard what they thought was a woman shrieking. Whatever it was sounded like it was about 150-200 yards from their backyard sport court and soon turned more manly guttural and sinister. Louder than any human utterance, it went on for 4 to 5 seconds, paused and then repeated 3 more times. The brothers were scared and confused. Joey recalls telling his parents only to have them chalk it up to coyotes. That event started a life long hobby “Squatching” or actively going into the wild to look for evidence of the creature’s existence.
By the time I got around to the tale it was a couple weeks old and Joey had been busy. He had talked to everyone involved and called me to give me the whole story. He said the teen who took the photo was out on his scooter, saw the black area, thought it looked odd and took a picture. Later after viewing it, he posted it on social media and sent it to a few friends kicking off the frenzy of questions I saw later. He never claimed it to be Bigfoot, only thought it was strange. However, when Joey questioned, he found he had seen other things in the area. Again, he never definitively said what it was, but did say he and some friends were in the woods and saw something else. About 150 feet away and approximately 7 feet up a tree, two of the boys saw what appeared to be the head and shoulder of something peeking around a tree. They froze, but the other two boys came upon them talking and in the time it took to turn and shush them, whatever it was had gone.
Later the teen went back and found very large tracks on the ground in some new snowfall. He also reported hearing “wood knocking.” Joey tells me it’s a way, in addition to the scary vocalizations, that Sasquatches communicate with each other. Other long-time locals have similar tales. I have my own tale of being spooked way up Teneriffe. I was out with a couple of dogs when they suddenly all froze. At the same time all the hair on my body stood up. I never heard or saw anything, but it certainly was creepy. It probably was nothing, but after talking to Joey, who knows?
So, in the end the black spot by the river turned out to not be Bigfoot. Joey went back and took a second photo and although the second photograph still looks weird – like the trunk of the tree is the portal to another dimension – it was clearly not Bigfoot.
Alas, not that one piece of evidence to confirm the existence of an 8-foot-tall half man half ape creature. But really, do we want or need more reasons for people to flock to the area?
So, do you have a Bigfoot tale? We’d love to hear it and you might hear from Joey, Bigfoot investigator extraordinaire.