posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 08:26 PM
I grew up in northcentral Idaho, on a (still) wild and nearly unpolluted river. When I was 11, my Mom, Dad, cousin and I took a pack trip into the
Selway-Biterroot Wilderness Area. Everyone was on horseback, and a fifth horse laden with saddlepacks of goods -- about 150 lbs. We knew we'd
have a source of fresh water all the way, and this was before an awareness of giardia.
On the third night, we were camped above the three Mirror lakes, and we'd put our sodas in a creek with a large rock atop them. We had set up the
Forest Service-style closed canvas tent, had made dinner and consumed it, and were all bedded down for the night, the four of us in one tent, and the
horses front-hobbled, but otherwise free to range. We'd suspended the supplies via a long 3/4" braided nylon rope over a branch, and they hung
about 15 feet in the air.
We heard this frightening (to me, at least) prolonged howl. It was like nothing any of us have ever heard. I can't begin to type out how it
sounded..... but I'll try....... it was like someone screaming "AHHHHH!" and gradually closing their mouth, so it tended over time to be more
like, "ahhhhhhhooooo", but not "ooo", more like long "O", and very breathy ..... It seemed to last forever, and I was scared squirtless. My
Dad took a powerful flashlight and his revolver and said to me, "(my name), c'mon with me." I didn't want to. I did.
We walked around the camp, inspecting the supplies, looked at the sodas in the creek. The horses (Appaloosas, except for one) were showing their
wild white eyes, and I knew they were scared too. My mare in particular was rarely frightened of anything that I could tell, and she was nodding her
chin upward with the whites of her eyes flashing. I figured a big bear.
Dad did something odd then. He took the hobbles off the horses. They all had a hackamore on, but without the hobbles, they could wander miles away
overnight. I looked up and asked him if I should put a line on the hackamores, and Dad just shook his head and said, "leave 'em. I'd rather have
them alive and have to go look for them. They'll be allright."
We didn't sleep much that night. I swear I could hear branches breaking and little sticks breaking and probably a lot of stuff that existed only
within my own mind. I know that Dad slept -- if he slept at all -- with his rifle and revolver right next to him. I think he depended upon the
horses to sound an alarm.
The next morning we got up around daybreak, and the horses were down the hill quite a ways, but in sight -- maybe 1/2 mile away or so. I could only
see two of them. Our supplies were shredded, and bits of food and stuff lay on the ground. The rope was still intact and I remember white rice
being all over the place. The soda cans were punctured, and one of them was shredded, and I guess that it was a bear. Dad nodded and said, "I
hope so." I thought that was an odd thing to say.
We fished Mirror Lake, and then were headed home. I'd thought we planned to be out for ten days. My cousin was having a hard time of roughing it,
so perhaps that played into their decision -- he complained a bit.
When I grew older and would take off for days at a time, just myself and my mare, my Dad wanted me to carry the .44 mag Winchester rifle. He'd
allowed me to shoot it, but I had to take a shot from 150 yards at a carboard box with a piece of typing paper on it. If I hit the box, I got to
shoot the next day. If I hit the paper, I got to take two shots. If I missed the box, I had to skip a day. Dad always warned me.... "stay with
Suzy (my mare)...... she runs, you hang on. If you ever get hurt, get to her, she'll always come home..... and son....... if that mare looks
wild, you go where she wants to go."
And I did.
I'll never forget that sound. I don't know what it was. It was prolonged and very powerful sounding. I think it was a bigfoot/sasquatch.
Certainly a large bear could've gone on hind legs and snagged our supplies. Would've had to have been a VERY large bear. Soda cans.... the
shredded one definately looked like bear, although I don't know how they'd perceive something under a rock in a stream.