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DATE: thursday to friday
COUNTY: Park County
LOCATION DETAILS: About half a mile South of the intersections of CR140 and CR845. East of Taryall road and west of North Taryall Peak.
NEAREST TOWN: Jefferson
NEAREST ROAD: Taryall Road
OBSERVED: About five years ago, in late Spring, I took my kids camping in the Lost Creek Wilderness area. They were 8 and 10 years old at the time. We go there quite a bit because it's far enough away to avoid the Denver crowds that flood local trails and parks but close enough it's not a days drive to get there.
I have a spot near Tarryall Reservoir I have camped at several times before. It's a few miles off the main dirt road up a jeep trail and during the week there are usually not many people there. I like it because it's on a ridgeline overlooking a small valley. It’s at the end of the Jeep trail, so on the way up and once I’m there I can easily tell if anyone is in the area or coming up on our camp.
We got there on a Thursday morning and I didn’t see anyone on the way nor hear anyone down in the valley below us.
I had heard bigfoot stories like everyone else but never thought about it or gave them much credit. I figured it was like alien abductions or something. Weird stories that happened in people's imaginations but not real. I do know it wasn’t on my mind when we arrived.
We set up and hung out the entire day around camp. The plan was to stay 3-4 nights. We didn't have a fire because there was a fire ban at the time. That night the kids went to bed as soon as it got dark. I went to bed around 11:30 pm or so.
I was lying in my sleeping bag for about 20 minutes messing with my phone to see if I could get coverage and play some games. I could hear coyotes start to howl and bark down in the valley below us, where I believe they had a few dens. In the middle of this coyote chatter and barking I hear, about half a quarter mile in the valley below, this startlingly sound I have never heard before. I have spent years in the mountains. I have heard just about every animal sound there is. With the exception of coyotes, an occasional owl, ranchers cattle, and very rarely a screaming mountain lion most animals stay quiet at night. I heard two deep “WHOOOOP” WHOOOP” sounds coming from about a quarter mile in the small Valley below. The howling from the coyotes instantly stopped and remained silent.
At first I thought maybe it was some drunk campers messing around. I had driven through the valley the day before and had seen no one there. Again I hear another series of loud whooping calls. I am running through my head what animal it could be. A bear? A mountain lion? Some sort of crane or bird? I hear it again. Did some ape escape the zoo or and get loose in the mountains? I start hearing what sounds likes someone beating two large pieces of firewood together. These sounds go on for another good 10-15 minutes.
After it was over I stayed awake for several hours waiting for the noises to return. At the time I am thinking some idiots came in late to camp and were screwing around in the woods.
The next day I walk down to the area I heard the noises come from, to check to see if anyone was there. Not a soul. I thought maybe whoever was there had packed up early and left.
We spent the rest of the day at camp and hiking around. Later that afternoon, before dinner I shot some of the rifles I had brought.
Amazingly my kids had slept through the previous nights noises and I didn’t tell them about it. I didn’t want to scare them for no reason. The kids went to bed around 9:30 and I stayed up. I figured I would stay up a bit later to see if the sounds would return.
About midnight I decided to turn in and get some sleep. I lay awake in my sleeping bag for quite awhile. I still couldn't sleep. Eventually I started to nod off thinking nothing was going to happen that night and whoever had been messing around the night before was gone.
I am guessing it was maybe 30 minutes into a very light sleep later that I was startled awake to the sound of two very deep, and loud “WHOOOOP” “WHOOOOP” sounds. This time the sounds were much louder because the sounds were coming from about 70 yards from our camp near the jeep road below us.
I am both half scared and half very pissed. I quickly jump out of the tent. I'm now thinking the jerks from the night before have decided to make this personal and have been stalking our camp and think its funny to wake us up in the middle of the night. I never go out in the woods without a rifle and a good light. (I have run into idiots out in the woods before). I heard the whooping noise a couple more times while I started to walk down the slope of the ridge about 25 yards. I was thinking if these people were armed I didn’t want to engage in gun fight in the middle of my camp.
I scanned the tree line with my rifle mounted light looking for movement. Each time changing positions after each scan. As I moved a bit further something off to my right and about 30-40 yards away went crashing through the woods. I know what somebody running through the woods sounds like. Whatever this was, it was very big and very heavy. I am thinking “what the heck, is Shaquille O'neal with them? It was running very fast and covering more ground than an average person could. It was also snapping branches and small trees like they were just grass. I could hear the heavy pounding of its large foot steps.
At this point, my heart is pounding in my chest as I high tail it back to the camp. I don’t know if this person is running away or trying to flank me.
I was now debating in my head on what to do. Wake the kids (I have no idea to this day how they slept through this) and break camp and leave knowing they will be scared to death when I do.
The down side to that is there will be no one to watch our backs as we pack up and I get them up, we’ll make a lot of noise loading the truck, and the trip out puts us down the jeep trail where I was hearing the noises to begin with. I elect my second option. I find a spot in the trees and shadows where I can observe camp and silhouette anyone approaching against the skyline without silhouetting myself.
If anyone comes up the hill I will hit them with the light and confront and engage them if I have to. I figure anyone sneaking around my camp at night doing these things can’t have good intentions.
I didn’t sleep the rest of the night. I sat waiting with my back against the tree the entire time. I never told the kids. I made up some excuse why we had to leave early that morning and never explained why I was so exhausted. Though the idea of bigfoot was in the back of my mind that second night, for whatever reason my logical side wanted to explain it off as some assholes playing games in the woods.
Over the next week, after we got back home, I couldn't shake both the question of what those noises were and was there a possibility that it was a bigfoot. I didn’t really know what a bigfoot would sound like so I started searching google for “bigfoot sounds” That's when I came across this video.
At point :22 of the video I found the exact noises I heard that night. I have listened to it over a dozen times since. I also did some more research on the area. To my surprise I discovered that not only does the area have many reports of bigfoot sightings and encounters but that it is listed as one of the top 10 places to encounter bigfoot in the United States. I also found out there had been a documentary filmed in the area a few years before and featured in the film was Observatory peak; which I could see from my camp a few miles away. There have been so many sightings in the area that the nearby town of Bailey has since placed bigfoot crossing signs along their small town roads.
Now when I go up to that area my mindset is a bit different. I look over my shoulder a bit more and I search the tree lines for anything that might be watching me. We went backpacking on the other side of the mountain last year. It was hard to sleep because I was waiting to hear those whoops again. I don't know what it was for sure that night but I don't think it was human.
I will be back up there this June. We will see what happens.
ALSO NOTICED: Coyotes had been yapping all night but after the noises never heard from them again. This happened over two nights.
OTHER WITNESSES: My children but they were asleep
OTHER STORIES: Not until I researched it after the incident. I have, on two previous occasions, heard a deep humming sound like large electric turbines or something in the area. It seems to be in the atmosphere and not coming from any particular location.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Between 2330hrs and 0200 hrs
ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest with areas of Aspen groves in the lower areas. We were on a military crest of a hill with two valleys below us. A lot of large rocks and boulders are on top of the hill.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Matthew Moneymaker:
The location described this report is in Pike National Forest south of Lost Creek Wilderness. When "Lost Creek Wilderness area" is mentioned as one of the best Bigfoot areas in the country, that does not mean only the designated wilderness area. It means the whole zone around Lost Creek Wilderness, including areas near Bailey.
About BFRO Investigator Matthew Moneymaker:
Matthew Moneymaker is originally from the Los Feliz District of Los Angeles, California.
- Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
- Founder of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization,1995.
- Writer and co-producer of the Discovery Channel documentary "Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science", 2001.
- Co-producer of the TV Series "Mysterious Encounters" for the Outdoor Life Network (OLN Channel), 2002.
- Producer of the "2003 International Bigfoot Symposium" (Willow Creek Symposium) DVD set, 2004.
- Co-host of "Finding Bigfoot" on Animal Planet Channel, 2010 - 2017.
- Current Director of the BFRO