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COUNTY: Le Flore County
LOCATION DETAILS: Horesthief Springs Trail near Hwy 1.
NEAREST TOWN: Cedar Lake Area
NEAREST ROAD: Holson Valley and Hwy 1
OBSERVED: We started a trip into the Horse thief Springs Trail from Cedar Lake on Saturday afternoon at 1730. We had a late start due to drive from Texas and waking up two teenagers on a Saturday. We were in a hurry to make the springs before dark, so we pressed pretty hard on the trail...we had 7 miles to cover quickly. We had planned on hiking The Old Military Road Trail several miles to the west, but audibled to this one due to available water sources. I made camp on the other side of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail where it intersects with the shorter HST...this was about 200 yards past where a small water flow crosses the ONRT. About 2100, my son's friend stated, "What was that?" My son looked at me and asked if I heard the noise. I wasn't paying attention because I was making our dinner. Another call immediately came...it was a series (3-4) of high-pitched whoops. They were very clear and distinct. My best guess would be within 1/2 mile to our north. At one point my son said, "It sounds like a monkey!" This continued for a while and eventually we heard the "whoops" start coming from our south. The ones from the south sounded like they were coming from past Hwy 1 because we could hear an occasional car pass and it sounded much closer. The calls seemed to go on into the night intermittently. I finally fell asleep around 0230 in the morning and was up around 0600. No other vocalizations were noted during the morning or hike out.
ALSO NOTICED: No signs of any animal life during hike in and out along the trail. Didn't see any tracks... especially around the minimal water sources. The only sign of animals were horse hoof prints from the Equestrian Camp near Cedar Lake.
OTHER WITNESSES: 2 witnesses...teenage son and friend were first to actually hear the vocalizations.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Clear to partly cloudy, warm.
ENVIRONMENT: Wooded Hills with local springs.
Follow-up investigation report:
I spoke to the individual filing this report. He is a trained military pilot and spends his free time hiking the backcountry throughout the United States.
The witness described the "whoop" as a two-syllable vocal lasting 2-3 seconds each with crescendo. The vocals were heard throughout the evening. They were similar in sound to a gibbon but higher pitched.
No people were observed in the area and the witness is very familiar with wildlife sounds.
Also noted, no visible animal tracks of any kind.