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COUNTY: Windsor County
LOCATION DETAILS: Park rangers are trying to keep this quiet, but have had reports of bigfoots and tracks. The tracks I saw were on the Futures Trail above the first parking lot and below the power line at Mt. Ascutney State Park in Windsor, VT.
NEAREST TOWN: Windsor, VT
NEAREST ROAD: Mt. Ascutney Parkway
OBSERVED: I research mountain lions in NH, but I was caring for my mother and hadn't gotten out since Christmas Day, 2014. On 5/24/15 I decided to just go for a walk, no research. I did a Meet-up with someone who walked much faster than me. She left me at the power line. I was way downhill, but was determined to at least make it to the power line.
I did, but when I turned back to go down to the car, I saw two huge prints near a tree by the trail. When I got to them, the heels were 3-4 inches deep in the soil and leaves. They touched and the toes went out and away from each other like a duck's feet. They seemed to be 15 inches long, but it was hard to tell with all the leaves, unevenness, grass, etc. I took photos and measurements (even on a walk I take a camera and tape measure).
It was interesting as hiding by that tree the Futures Trail went right past the tree, above was the power line and behind the tree was the park road, so that it was an advantageous hunting spot as animals coming from six different directions could easily be hunted down.
Going back to the car, I saw two more tracks to the right of the trail. One was about 10 inches. The other seemed to be 15 inches, but with a 10 inch track inside it. The toes were 5 inches across for the three toes that were embedded in the bank. The other toes were over the hardened trail. There was also a 5x6 inch parallelogram shape. I kick myself now as I didn't take a photo.
Later I saw a knuckle-walking gorilla on TV and thought, "That's what that was!" It was a knuckle print and also was very deep.
At the bottom I asked the ranger to do a casting and he said I could instead, so I bought plaster of Paris. It wasn't enough. I had to go back several days later (rain).
The casts are awful. There were too many leaves, the toes broke off, etc.
The interesting part was that the park ranger acknowledged the report with a "Yeah, we get lots of reports of bigfoots, but we try to keep it on the down low."
When I asked him about mountain lion sightings, he seemed scared and said, "You think there are mountain lions up there?"
It was odd that bigfoot was "normal" and mountain lions were "strange"!
When I came back, I heard from someone else that this same ranger had been followed down the hill by something he nicknamed Roy. He was hoping it was a bigfoot and not a lion. Part of his job is to clear the trails and make sure everyone is off the mountain. That night it got dark, and he was also "helped" off the mountain, though "it" always stayed the same distance behind him.
ALSO NOTICED: The weirdest incident was that bigfoot reports seemed normal, but not lion sightings (I've collected a lion sighting from that mountain). Also, the park ranger named whatever followed him Roy and he was hoping it was a bigfoot and not a cat.
OTHER WITNESSES: Just me until I brought friends back to help carry the heavy plaster of Paris. By then I had half filled in the larger pair of tracks by the tree.
OTHER STORIES: See above.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 11:30 AM
ENVIRONMENT: Wooded area on a trail between the power line and the Mt. Ascutney Parkway road. It was just before the curve in the trail going up to the power line.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Jeff Sheppard:
I conversed with the hiker over the phone for approximately 1 ˝ hours. She was very straightforward, upbeat and enjoyed talking about her hobby of mountain lion research that has led her to multiple sightings of what she feels are Bigfoot tracks. She is a 67 year-old retired librarian and is currently an artist, writer and publisher. I found her to be sincere and credible.
Her initial sighting of potential Bigfoot tracks on Mt. Ascutney in Windsor was just a hike for pleasure to unwind and enjoy nature as she had been taking care of her elderly mother. She had not been in the field for approximately 5 months (Dec 25th – May24th).
The tracks she found were 15” in length and sunk between 2 and 4 inches into the ground, they were by a tree at a strategic intersection where the trail she was on crosses a set of power lines and comes within 100 feet of the auto road that goes up the mountain. She feels this was the perfect location for something to be able to hunt from as it had a hidden view of anything traveling up/down the power lines, hiking trail or auto road.
On her way back to the parking lot she also observed a second large print with a smaller 10” footprint inside of it. She also found what she feels was a knuckle print from a creature leaning over for support similar to what gorillas do.
Wanting to make casts she went to the ranger station where she spoke to the Park Ranger about what she had found and suggested he make a cast. He declined and the hiker left due to not having enough casting material and returned a couple of days later. Due to poor weather conditions her casts did not come out well and ended up breaking.
The Park Ranger did acknowledge that there had been previous reports of Bigfoot activity but they “try to keep it on the down low.” The hiker thought it odd that the ranger was at ease with Bigfoot activity but seemed quite concerned when she told him of mountain lion reports from the area. The ranger did have an incident where something shadowed him off the mountain one day just out of his sight. According to someone the hiker spoke with they mentioned that the ranger hoped it was a Bigfoot vs a mountain lion.
The hiker had taken photographs of the prints and took measurements, as she carries a camera and tape measure even when not researching mountain lions. She willingly shared her photographs with me and sent them in a timely manner.
I had the opportunity to visit Mt. Ascutney on Saturday July 30, 2016 approximately 14 months after her discovery. I was able to easily find the location of where she found her footprints and agree that where they were would be quite advantageous to anyone wanting to view the power lines, hiking trail and auto road.
Unfortunately too much time had passed and I could find no trace of any footprints. While there the conditions were not ideal for footprints as the area is in the middle of a drought and there was a lot of leaf litter on the forest floor. I did find a couple of unusual tree manipulations that seemed odd and out of the ordinary. I have read other reports that attribute these types of manipulations to supposed Bigfoot activity.
I hiked up the mountain approximately 1 1/2 miles from the parking area I was at to see the “Steam Donkey”, an antique piece of logging equipment that had been abandoned on the mountain in the early 1900’s. What I found unusual was the lack of sound in the forest. I did not see or hear any birds or animals during the 2 hours I hiked and did not see another hiker.
Upon leaving the mountain I stopped at the ranger station and asked about any reports of Bigfoot activity in the area. The young man I spoke with said he knew of no reported activity but also suggested I come back when the Park Ranger was there as he would know more about the happenings of the park.
Mt Ascutney State Park has more than 3,000 acres of land and contains many species of both hardwood and softwood trees. It is supposed to be a great place to bird watch and has many animals including deer, moose and bear. Due to its steep height it is also one of the premier hang gliding sights in New England.
About BFRO Investigator Jeff Sheppard:
Jeff is a Middle School Technology/Engineering teacher from MA. He loves the outdoors and enjoys hiking and camping with his wife and dogs any chance he gets. He has had a fascination with all things that fall into the cryptozoology category since a young age.