The Beast of Bubb's Creek
Keeping with the Halloween spirit,
Here is an account of an incident that occured to my best friend and i while fishing high in the California Sierras a while back.
About two years ago, i wanna say in late march, my best friend and i decided to do a three day trip to the southern Sierras of California to do some
trout fishing. The season had just opened and we wanted to try our luck catching the trout before everyone else joined in and put too much pressure
on the fishing prospects.
So we jumped on the highway and made our way to the town of Independence. Its a small one lane town off the highway at the base of the southern
sierra mountain range. A series of tall jagged alps like mountains in the heart of california.
The first day up there we went around to all the local creeks fed by snow melt run off that winded down the sharp peaks and towards the desert floor
below. Being the beginning of trout season of course there were too many folks trying their luck fishing leading to less than desirable conditions.
So we began to think of alternative prospects.
We had heard of a nearby camp ground high up in the mountains above called Onion Valley.
Onion Valley was situated at 9,200 foot altitude. Most folks didnt have the proper cars with large engines to make it all the way up to that
altitude, so we figured it would be the perfect place to search for a quiet fishing hole. We had known that there were a series of alpine lakes and
ponds up at around 10, 000 feet heading towards whats known as the Kearsarge Pinnacles. (12000' alt)
onion valley area pictures
These ponds were fashioned like a string of pearls connected by an icy creek known
as Bubbs Creek. They had spectacular views of the lofty and spire like Pinnacles. We were betting on very little fishing pressure and a good stock
of hold over hardy wild trout to be found there.
So we wound our way up the steep one lane road that headed to the Onion Valley Campgrounds. A number of hairpin switchbacks were a challenge along
with manuevering around the large boulders that littered the road from frequent landslides there.
Having found the camp grounds we parked, gathered our gear and made the rest of our hike nearly 1000 foot higher in altitude huffing along a trail
that followed along side Bubbs Creek.
The only foliage was old growth alpine pines and shrubs that thrived on the creeks water. Surrounding us beyond this belt of green pines was a vast
field or granite rubble from the landslides of the steep peaks. The place was beautiful but desolate of animals other than squirrels and racoons. Or
so it would seem.
At this altitude the hike takes longer than you think. You basically have to stop every 50 or so feet to momentarily catch your breath and adjust to
the thinner air. Small patches of iced over semi melted snow added to the difficulty.
Being tuckered out we stopped at the first pond along the string of pearl like creek and pond system up there and immediately began getting our gear
set up. All was good. It was bright and sunny. Mid day. Very quiet and serene.
About an hour and a half it struck. We heard a ominous sound further up the creek toward perhaps the next pond a quarter mile or so away. To this
day i have a hard time describing this sound.
The closest thing i can find is this video of a gorilla roaring. m.youtube.com...
It was that same angry bassy roar but repetative like a siren similar to when a chimp works its self up like this
So imagine the gorilla roar, repetative and going up in volume and pitch like the chimp. However, this sound was deep and resonant and was definitly
coming from a very large animal.
My friend and i stopped in our tracks and just stared at each other bewildered and wide eyed listening to this repeating howl coming from some unknown
animal as they echoed off the mountains granite walls surrounding us.
Whatever this thing was it was no moose, elk, deer or bear and boy, did it sound pissed.
We are both used to being in the woods and we had never heard an animal like this.
After a minute or so the siren like howling stopped. It had a droning characteristic to the howls and reminded me of a giant hand saw rythmically
sawing through wood. Started quiet and getting angry and louder and then nothing for a few moments and then it would repeat.
To be honest the sounds were beginning to spike our adrenaline and we began to get a little spooked. Quitely staring at the section of creek that
lead to wherever in the pines this creature was hollering from we stood motionless.
But, the sound subsided and we settled back down tentatively again checking our poles and bait.
A half hour later the angry agitated calls started up again. This time half as far away as last time and much louder and persistant sounding.
Whatever this thing was it was making its way up the creek towards our pond and location. We were very uneasy now. Reluctantly we started to pull
in our lines and gather up our gear preparing to leave. Whatever this thing was, and we didnt want to find out, sounded big and unappologetic about
the noise it was making.
Again in the middle of our packing the sounds shut off for a while. 20 more minutes go by and just as we our throwing our backpacks over our
shoulders the roaring started again but this time just across the pond and just inside the shadows of the tree line going up along the creek. Maybe
150 feet away.
Whatever it was it was HERE. We needed to go NOW!
Almost in a panic we said "were leaving" and immediatly started down the trail toward the campgrounds. Leaving the eerie and intimidating sounds
behind us. At any given point one of us was looking behind us trying to keep track of the creature.
About halfway down the creek trail to the campground it started up again but closer to us than the pond...somewhere along the same section of creek we
were fleeing down. It had followed us at least partially down the trail staying maybe a few bends behind us.
Then it dawned on us. the creature is attempting and succeeding in driving us back towards the campground and trying to chase us away from the pond.
Its territorial about this pond and probably wanted the fish too without us pesky humans around. For it to do that it meant it knew we were there.
Maybe watched us from the trees up the creek as we arrived. Or maybe another one of its kind did and reported it to the big guy who came to drive
us off. Maybe it had a family and didnt want to compete with us over the resources.
We got back to our truck (the only vehicle at the campground) and drove off post haste. We made our way down that hill so fast my friend forgot to
down shift into 2nd or 1st.
As we were travelling down the mountain we started to smell a horrible chemical smell. Occasionally we see a camper on the shoulder and we figured
we were up wind of a meth lab or some sort of Breaking Bad scenerio. We started to make jabs at the smell as it got wors