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COUNTY: Trinity County
LOCATION DETAILS: Papoose Lake in the Trinity Alps Primitive Area. 14 miles from trailhead up Rattlesnake Creek. Papoose lake is a large lake in a glacial cirque and is easily located just below Thompson peak in the Trinity Lake.
NEAREST TOWN: Junction City
NEAREST ROAD: 299
OBSERVED: A tremendous storm came in off the Pacific. My friend and I took shelter in a plastic "tube tent". About Midnight we heard a large animal walking around our camp. The animal had two legs, not 4. The animal had soft feet, not hooves. The animal was walking through brush and the forest floor. The weight of the animal was breaking branches, that, from the sound, were at least one inch in diameter. The animal walked around our campsite screaming for most of 4 hours. The screams were blood curdling, and almost human, but louder and unlike any animal I am familiar with. I have hiked the Trinity Alps all my life. I know the trails and the environment intimately. Better than Luther Linkhart who wrote the book on the Trinity Alps. This was not a bear, I have heard and seen dozens of them and chased lots of them out of camp. This was not a deer, I have seen hundreds of them and had them step over me at night when I camped on a trail. This animal had two legs, the difference between a 4 legged and 2 legged gate is easily distinguished. This animal was very heavy and was breaking large branches as it walked, but it had no hooves. This was not a mountain lion. I have had them follow me and have heard them scream. Mountain lions do not snap branches. We were in the only stand of trees for a mile in any direction. The animal took shelter in that stand of trees and spent the night with us, walking around our camp and screaming all night. I am certain it was frightened as the wind was breaking large branches and there was a lot of lightning and thunder. At some moments it was no more than 20 feet away, but it was too dark to see that far, and no way were we going to turn a flashlight on it. It was truly frightening. I was 16 at the time, but I was used to facing down mountain lions and chasing bears out of camp with a spoon and a plate. This animal was terrifying. I found this page as a link from an SF Chronicle article. When I loaded up the scream sound from Ohio, that was it. Except, when that scream is from a frightened animal 30 feet from you no recording could ever do it justice. In the morning we looked for prints or sign, but a wet forest floor over granite is the wrong surface, and we found no sign. We headed back the 14 miles to the car at top speed. I have hiked the Trinity Alps on over 300 trips during my life. I have never gone back to that lake.
ALSO NOTICED: The weight of the animal, the volume and pitch of the screaming. I believe the intense storm drove it to seek shelter near us or it would never have spent so much time in that proximity to humans.
OTHER WITNESSES: My best friend at the time was hiking with me. He heard and felt everything I did.
OTHER STORIES: The Trinity Alps are full of stories. The animal lives there. I know this report is absurdly old. But the sound you have from Ohio is it. Put on headphones, go into a dark closet with no light, and run 100 watts through your headphones and it will come close to the real sound. I have continued to hike, fish and hunt that wilderness area for the last 28 years since then, and have had no other contact. No prints, no unusual scat, no sounds, no sightings. There are a million places an animal that size could live in the Alps forever without contact.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Midnight to 4 am during a severe storm. Very high winds, heavy rain, dense clouds, pitch black night, almost no visibility.
ENVIRONMENT: West side of Papoose lake. There is a small area, about 100 yards wide, of trees, near the shoreline of the lake, surrounded by treeless granite.
Follow-up investigation report:
Called on 08-12-00
Encounter took place 30 years ago, around the "Any Camp" location. From midnight to about 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning.
Had flashlight, but was very hesitant to use it that night. The encounter had frighten both witnesses.
Listened to animal for approx. 4 hours.
He was familiar with the local wildlife and geographic area.
He Has not been back up to that particular camp spot since. Still goes to the Trinity Alps, but has not had any other Bigfoot related encounter. He was convinced that what he heard walking around his campfite that night was a Bigfoot.