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Geographical Index > United States > Colorado > Eagle County > Report # 1251
Report # 1251  (Class B)
Submitted by witness on Monday, January 15, 2001.
Threatening bellows directed at hikers and their dogs in the Holy Cross Wilderness

YEAR: 2000

SEASON: Summer

MONTH: August

DATE: 19

STATE: Colorado

COUNTY: Eagle County

LOCATION DETAILS: From Eagle, CO, take Brush Creek Road south to East Brush Creek Road(415)to the Fulford Cave/Lake Charles Trailhead. Incident took place in Holy Cross Wildnerness.


NEAREST ROAD: Brush Creek Road

OBSERVED: My girlfriend and I were hiking the Lake Charles Trail in the Holy Cross Wilderness area. We had hiked approximately 3 hrs/6 miles when we reached a basin which included 2-3 small lakes. Upon reaching the basin area (a clearing) after climbing a steep switchback, we immediately heard what sounded like a loud scream coming from approximately 50-75 yards away in a dense pine cluster at the base of a mountain. The sound grew louder as the animal was moving in a diagonal to us through the pine cluster somewhat towards us. The vocalization now sounded like a large man wailing or moaning in a loud, rhythmic pattern. The vocalization would last for 2-3 seconds then pause for 4-5 seconds then start up again. This went on for 2-3 minutes. I am an avid hiker and outdoorsman and am familiar with animal vocalizations including bear, elk, coyote, and mountain lion. I can say that what we heard was not an ordinary animal. I had with me two dobermans that have a tendency to chase a moving animal however, on this occasion, they were motionless showing a curious stance and looking in the direction of the sound. As the sound grew louder, I became extremely frightened due to the volume and unknown nature. I leashed the dogs and reached for my pepper spray as the sound moved towards us. I cannot emphasize enough the rhythmic nature of this call and sheer volume. The vocalization eventually stopped and we continued our hike. 5 minutes later, we passed a White River Forest Ranger, "Lisa", who we questioned regarding the vocalization. She had heard it also and stated that in her years of service, she has never heard a sound like that before. She had no idea what it was.

ALSO NOTICED: Dogs(dobermans)appeared spooked or curious rather than eager to chase or engage animal. My "fight or flight" instinct kicked in.

OTHER WITNESSES: Self, girlfriend(both hiking), a White River Forest Ranger(mentioned that she was planning to camp in the area that night).

OTHER STORIES: From information on BFRO web site: large footprints found within 10-15 miles of this incident in April 2000 along Eagle River.

TIME AND CONDITIONS: Partly sunny, 65 degrees, 1:30 PM, 10,500 feet.

ENVIRONMENT: Lake Charles Trail--6 miles in from trailhead; high alpine basin/meadow with mixed pine forest, wetlands, and small lakes, surrounded by 11,000'-12,000' peaks.

Follow-up investigation report:

Excerpts of interview with witness.

"We were probably pretty well hidden when were climbing the switchbacks. And as soon as we entered the clearing, it must have seen us. It wasn't breaking branches or anything like that, but it did make a pretty loud cry and howl. It definitely wanted to us know it was there."

Witness said the cry at first sounded like a coyote.
"But then as we listened to it, it started this rhythmic loud howling moan -- and it was moving. It got louder and louder as it started approaching us.

"The thing sounded like some huge man bellowing or screaming at top of his lungs, a rhythmic, howling scream. We were frozen, waiting for the thing to appear.

"I had the pepper spray out because I really thought it would appear at any minute.

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