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COUNTY: Tuolumne County
LOCATION DETAILS: Going to Pinecrest or Strawberry, then go towards the dodge ski lodge, and take the road that leads you to crab tree trail head and then Bear Lake is the first or second lake in Emigrant National Wilderness(after the sign).
NEAREST TOWN: Pinecrest/Strawberry
NEAREST ROAD: sonora pass highway/108
OBSERVED: I was camping with my dad at Bear Lake in Emigrant National Wilderness. I had just woken up from a loud strange sound, I put my boots on and got out of the tent and heard a very loud howling noise comign from the top of the cliffs nearby. It was just a really loud howling sound almost like the sound a gorilla makes. But it lasted for about two hours. From 5am when the sun was just coming up til just before i ate breakfast, and that was around 7am. But during the course of this loud howling sound, what ever it had moved.. along the cliffs, I didn't see anything but I could tell the sound wasn't coming from where it was originally. The howling was echoing off the canyon walls, and it could be heard throughout the canyon, boy scouts had left very early that morning after they heard the sounds. There were many caves in the cliffs, the top of the cliff was about probably 8,000 ft, I was around 7,400 ft. What ever had been making the sounds I heard that morning eventually stopped and left the area I think, or I just didn't hear anything after that.
OTHER WITNESSES: My dad had heard some of the sounds, but he's a deep sleeper so he didn't wake up until about 6:30am. And there was another man, I think he's name was paul or shawn or something like that, but anyways he was with the boy scout troop that was there and he asked me if I had heard anything and we talked about it, and we're trying to come up with some logical reason for the sounds.
OTHER STORIES: I've heard of a few incidents in the area, more in the emigrant lake area, but thats only about 14 miles from bear lake. My biology teacher said he heard some sounds like I've heard back in 2001 about 20 or 30 miles north west of bear lake.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: It occured at about 5am to 7am in the morning, clear blue skies, the sun was just coming over the mountain tops.
ENVIRONMENT: I was on a rocky area near bear lake, the entire side of the lake I was on is completely rock. surrounded by pine trees. I was sitting in front of my tent which was about 200 ft from the lake. The sounds were coming fro the cliffs nearby, I think it was to the northeast. there were many caves in the cliffs, but inaccessible without climbign equipment.there aren't really any landmarks out there, since everything looks pretty much the same, but when your coming up to the lake, the trail sort of disappears if u don't know where your going. Theres a huge rock slab to the left of the trail.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Brandon Kiel:
The witness was camping with his father in a remote part of the Emigrant Wilderness. The area required a cross country hike in. There was one other group of Boy Scouts camped 75 yards away.
The witness was awakened by the sound of "howling whoops" coming from the ridge line that overlooked the lake they were camped beside. The whoops were regular and steady over the course of two hours coming basically one every 3 minutes. He describes them as "loud and from a very large animal".
The witness is self described as "knowing what most animals in the woods sound like and this wasn't a bear, elk, deer, or anything else I've ever heard".
He and his father eventually spoke to the other campers who were spooked by the incident and decided to hike out of the area.
About BFRO Investigator Brandon Kiel:
Brandon Kiel is a professional photographer and naturalist living in the Bay Area.
He was the chief coordinator of Northern California Expeditions for 7 years and has planned/attended more than 20 expeditions throughout the US.