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STATE: New Mexico
COUNTY: Rio Arriba County
LOCATION DETAILS: Jemez Mountains ; North-Central New Mexico
OBSERVED: I am new to this stuff, so I won't even try to cover everything related to this trip. That's for others to talk about. I can tell about what I observed and heard.
There were about twenty five people at the BFRO's Jemez Mts. expedition in northern New Mexico a few weeks ago. Several things happened during the expedition. I'll only describe what I observed personally, from where I was standing or sitting at the time.
If you were on this trip, and you don't see me mentioning the other incidents that happened closer to your positions, then please write them up yourself. This is what I personally experienced.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
[Portions below are edited by BFRO editors]
Thursday, August 11th:
Day : Bright and Sunny
I, along with my sister our two boys, followed the expedition group along mountain roads near the first base camp to help find views over elk grazing areas where the guides could blast and listen.
Several good spots were found and noted by GPS units. All of were at high elevations and had breathtaking views across vast mountain forests and canyons. The guides needed to see as many of these locations as possible while it was still light, so we kept moving most of the time. We explored these mountains for hours and only passed two other vehicles and one ranch house.
Night : Rainy and Windy
Most people headed out for the view locations visited during the day. My sister and another lady remained at the base camp to rest and listen for sounds in that area.
Blasting at first location : Nothing heard.
There was a lot of wind and rain from the west. No animals were heard responding to the blasts, not even coyotes or owls. The decision was made to move around to the east facing slope, away from the winds.
Blasting at second location : We heard some things.
Unlike at the first blasting location, there was very little wind and rain on this side of the mountain.
The guides said the east side of the mountain would get the usual afternoon rain coming up from the Gulf of Mexico, but it was pretty sheltered from the storms blowing in from the west.
There was only a slight drizzle once we got up on the east slope, and there were patches of fog hanging in the gullies.
My two boys (Nick and Will), and I drove past the blasting site (#2) about 1/4 mile (using left fork in road at blasting site). One boy was asleep in the bed of the pickup truck.
Around the first curve, the headlights lit up a small cloud of dust swirling in the road, as if an animal has just got off the road in a hurry.
We drove slowly through the dust swirl. The ground was too rocky and gravelly for tracks.
Not far beyond the swirl of dust, a bank of thick fog covered the road. We drove into the fog bank and pulled up to a clearing on the left, about 1/4 mile up the road from the blasting crew. We stopped and shut off all lights.
Both boys were in the bed of the pickup truck and I was inside with the windows down. I heard nothing for a while. After a few minutes, the boys said they heard the sounds of sticks breaking inside the tree-line.
The fog was too thick for us to see inside the tree-line. The source of the sound did not seem to move. There were occasional branch snapping sounds coming from one direction. This lasted for about two minutes.
We could hear the blasts from down the road, but heard no responses to the blasts. After about an hour of hearing nothing more, we drove back down to the blasting team.
At the blasting site I continued to listen for several minutes. I was very tired by now and cold. I needed to relieve myself, and I'm female, so I turned on a flashlight and marched up the road just far enough away to find some privacy.
I walked in the opposite direction of where we had seen the dust swirl in the road. When I rounded the first curve in that direction, I was "hit" with a series of low pitched growls (about 7 or 8) that seemed to come from the tree line directly ahead of me.
I stopped for a few seconds to make sure of what I was hearing. The growls were distinct, but very low pitched and just barely audible. I could feel the hum of the growls in my chest area. It seemed like I could feel the sounds better than I could hear them. Then, there was a louder growl which I could hear much better. That caused me to run back to the truck and my boys.
I went toward the truck and whispered to Nick and Mike that I had been growled at. We walked back toward where I had heard the growls. On the way down Mike stopped me and said he saw movement in the brush. I heard branches snapping in the same direction. The three of us moved back to the truck and tried to call the others via the walkie-talkie.
As I fiddled with the radio I heard loud moos and bellows from some cows in a gully below us. I had the impression that they were spooked by something. I got in the pickup truck to warm up.
Nick walked with Mike Sedillo and the other guys down to where the leg of a young deer was found in the road.
Will and I sat bundled up in the vehicle with the windows down. After 20 or 30 minutes we heard a wild clamor of fighting coyotes in the woods uphill from us.
Among the fray of coyote sounds was something odd. It was a strange yowling. It stood out among coyotes' yips, yaps, and snarls. It sounded more like a human or an ape. This went on for about 45 seconds and then died down. I think a few people near the blasting area recorded it.
[See the link to the sound clip at the bottom of the page]
People were spread out at bit. Other people heard sounds that I did not hear from where I was. Many were distant sounds, some were closer. There were lots of different animal noises in this area (frogs, coyotes, owls, cattle, elk, etc.) compared to almost no animal sounds near the first blasting area.
It was getting very cold around 2:30 am. The plan for the next day was discussed. It was obvious that there was a higher concentration of animals in this area compared to the first area.
About six or seven people, including me, insisted that we also heard something that was not a 'known' animal.
Everyone agreed that we should focus on this area, and move the base camp closer to this area.
Friday morning, August 12 : Packed up Base Camp #1.
Everyone helped pull up camp near the first blasting location, and relocate it closer to where the sounds were heard the night before.
Friday night, August 13 :
At Base Camp #2 the guides recommended that we blast Tahoe screams and Ohio howls and some other sounds from base camp that evening, because the sounds would echo through the area where we were the night before. They said if what we heard the night before was actually a sasquatch, the blasts would likely attract it toward the base camp.
After the second blast a short but distinct "return call" was heard. It sounded very similar to the Tahoe recording, which is what they were using to blast with at that moment.
Some of the other people who heard it said (over the walkie-talkies) that it might have been a loud echo of the Tahoe recording. They radioed for Ed to blast it again, to see if they could hear the "echo" again. After a few tries, there was agreement that what was heard originally could not have been an echo, because we could not reproduce it.
Within 30 minutes or so, some of the other people said they could hear something walking in the woods on the north side of camp. There was some talk about how to respond to this, so as not to scare off whatever was stalking the camp, but rather to encourage it to come closer.
I didn't get to hear those sounds. My own tent was about 100 yards away from that group (Los Alamos team). What they heard at that point, and later on, is for them to tell.
Saturday morning, August 12:
We returned to blasting area #2 during the day and searched the area where Mike and Nick said they had been paralleled through the woods by something. We found some freshly overturned aspen trees and cow bones. We also found the spot where I think the growls had come from. Lots of possible impressions. The ground and leaf litter was too thick to make any identification of tracks.
Saturday around sundown, August 12:
The group I was with drove up the road beyond blasting area #2 and dropped off five of us (Nick, Will, Mike, Pam (me), and Brooke) to walk the road downhill. The drivers moved the vehicles ahead to make various sounds from their positions. They gave warnings over the radios, then made a particular sequence of sounds which they have heard in other areas. We could hear it clearly from our position. Everyone stood still and silent and listened for responses.
There was no immediate response. After about twenty minutes the sequence was repeated. Within a few seconds we heard at least two faint, womanish shrieks in the distance. The shrieks frightened my extremely skeptical sister. We assured her that those noises were peanuts compared to the ones the night before.
We listened for another twenty minutes and heard nothing. It started to rain so we drove back down to Base Camp #2. It was not far down the hill.
Blasts made from the base camp could be heard from this area, so we figured we could lure it toward the base camp by blasting a few times from there.
We went back and blasted from base camp. For about an hour we heard no responses, so we turned in for the night.
While in our tents, the four of us, who were camped farthest away from the other tents, heard whistle noises coming from the woods on the slope above us. There was more than one whistler and there might have been three.
They were not whistling continuously. It was an occasional back and forth exchange, but this went on for about an hour and we probably heard about 30 or 40 different whistles. They were definitely not elk whistles, and were too variable in tone and pitch to be bird. They sounded more like short, soft human whistles calling back and forth to each other as they moved to different parts of the hillside.
I fell asleep eventually but then awoke to the sound of two loud, heavy footsteps directly outside the tent. I thought at first that someone from the group had silently approached our tent and expected to hear someone call our names.
I whispered to my sister, "Did you hear that?" She tapped me on the shoulder twice, which I thought was a signal to go back to sleep. As it turns out, she was trying to tell me that she had heard it as well and wanted me to simply be quiet and listen some more. I went to sleep, and heard no more sounds that night.
The next day several people took time to look around the hillside where the whistles were heard. Several possible tracks had been found on a different part of that hillside the day before. More were found on Sunday. Bill and Brooke from San Francisco cast a few those. Some brush structures were found and photographed.
I'll leave it to the others to tell about the other things they heard and found.
OTHER WITNESSES: About 20 people?
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 2 a.m. (coyote sounds with yowling)
ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest ridge
Clip recorded on 8-11-05 by David Petti during the Rio Arriba County Expediton
About BFRO Investigator Eddie Flores:
Eddie Flores is a state licensed Cosmetology Instructor in El Paso, Texas. He served as a BFRO guide/detective on the Mescalero Apache Expedition (January 2005). Click here for the expedition report.