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PROVINCE: British Columbia
LOCATION DETAILS: Quite close to Echo Lake, and therefore not very far from Campbell River, which is a rather large town. The woodlot is along the highway east of Echo Lake and on the south side of the highway.
NEAREST TOWN: Campbell River
NEAREST ROAD: Hwy 28
OBSERVED: This sighting occurred in August 2000 near Campbell River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I was employed to traverse and survey a private, selectively logged woodlot with another co-worker. On the day in question, we had travelled to the woodlot with a third person, but had dropped that person off at a spot in excess of a kilometre away; as well, the site was accessible only by the single gravel road that we were on and to be reached any other way would require extensive cross-country travel over rather rough terrain. It was not very reasonable at all to expect to run into another person at this location.
Anyways, our first unusual encounter occurred at one of our first plots of the day. The vegetation here was a young regenerating Douglas-fir woodland, with rather bushy, well spaced trees (~20+ feet tall) in a dense, continuous matrix of thigh-high salal. While going through our routine, we were suddenly startled by what sounded like human footsteps in the salal bushes perhaps as close as 50-70 feet away....just on the other side of a bunch of Doug-fir trees and therefore just out of sight. We heard no footsteps leading up to these ones, and only heard them when they were quite close. They had the distinct sound of a bipedal gait, with single, loud steps separated by perhaps as much as a second or more. We started to call out the name of the person we had dropped off earlier in the morning, but we got no answer. We quickly realized that there was no way the person could have traversed the distance in the time between when we had dropped him off and when we first heard these strange footsteps. The footsteps continued, albeit somewhat more hesitantly, and I grabbed an axe that we were carrying with us and tried to cautiously sneak up closer. Unfortunately, as I walked closer to the sound my partner grew very frightened and made quite a fuss about me going closer. I will regret it for the rest of my life, but I reluctantly heeded her concerns and returned to the plot, and shortly afterwards the footsteps mysteriously stopped and were never heard at that location again. We chalked it up to some strange animal, but admitted that it was VERY strange and that we had no reasonable explanation for it.
Later in the day, we stopped for lunch at an area 100-200 metres to the north of where we had had the unusual encounter. This area was a very open, selectively logged, second growth Douglas-fir woodland with tall trees and a very open understory. Visibility here was very good. About 50 metres or so to the north of us, within the forest, was a low, raised ridge running east-west. The forest was quite quiet during the middle of the summer day, and while eating lunch we heard a single, distinct twig "SNAP" come from just on the other side of the ridge from where were were sitting. There was no sound before or after, and this was not conclusive of anything really, but it was suspicious that once again there seemed to be a large animal of some sort JUST outside of where we could see. If it was the same animal from earlier in the morning, then it seemed to be following us.
We moved on in our day, and towards the end of the day we came to an even more open area of the forest and, standing on the side of a hillside, decided to split up for some reason (I honestly can't remember why we decided this). This site was perhaps 200 metres from where we were for lunch. Anyways, I stood on the hillside while my partner walked down an old skid trail towards the east. About 40 metres or so to the east, next to the skid trail, was a distinct dome-shaped knoll within the forest opening. As my partner walked along the trail and past the knoll, suddenly out of nowhere some huge animal jumped up on the other side of it (out of sight from me) and started running and crashing from the area behind the hill towards the edge of the forest (~20 metres from where it jumped up). My partner started screaming hysterically and, although I could never see the creature, I could CERTAINLY hear the crashing as it ran for the trees. My partner started screaming "I see it, I see it" and I instantly ran towards her. By the time I reached her (no more than 30 seconds after the animal had leapt up and run away) and asked her what she had seen, she was quite shaken up. She said that she never saw the whole animal, but she did make out the top of its head or back above the vegetation as it ran away. The vegetation that it ran through was a Red Huckleberry thicket, a common woodland shrub in this region. I walked down to where she said she saw it run, and the huckleberry bushes were well over my head in height (and I stand 6'3" tall). She said the colour of the animal was quite blackish. Whatever it was seemed to have been quietly tucked in behind this knoll within a short distance from us while we stood there, and we never saw it arriving at its location so it must have either quietly snuck there or been there for a while.
Now...what to make of this sighting. We have few large mammals on Vancouver Island (Columbian Black-tailed Deer, Roosevelt Elk, Grey Wolf, Cougar, Black Bear) so right away we are quite limited in options for this sighting. Only two of those (bear, elk) have any dark brown or black coloration, so again we are limited. I have extensive experience with both, and at no time have I ever had either species a) walk bipedally or, in the case of the bear, walk bipedally long enough and in dense brush whereas to sound like a human being, b) stand in excess of 7 feet in height, c) seem to quietly sneak around and apparently follow a person, always seeming to stay JUST out of sight (I suppose a bear could do this, but I still don't think it could be quite so sneaky). Of course, I am assuming that all three incidences are connected, and I do believe that this is true because, although we worked in this rather small woodlot for 2 months, nothing like any of these three occurrences ever happened before or after that one day.
Anyways, I have been thinking about that day now for almost 4 years and I still believe that there is a good chance that the animal we encountered was a sasquatch. I have been laughed at by others when I tell the story, and have therefore generally stopped telling it, but as an open minded biologist I definitely lean strongly towards sasquatch. Now I am a believer in sasquatch, and have read a lot on the subject over the past 5 or 6 years. What would those who are more knowledgeable on the subject than myself make of the sitauation? The whole thing seemed very different to me than any other experience I have ever had in the wilderness (and I have spent my whole life in the bush).
ALSO NOTICED: No physical, collectable evidence was located (footprints, scat, hair, etc.). Only strange sounds and a brief glimpse of the creature.
OTHER WITNESSES: Yes, one. She was with me at all sightings.
OTHER STORIES: None specifically, although I know that there are numerous sightings not far to the south in the Comox Lake and Strathcona Park areas.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: The three occurrences occurred at ~9:00 am, ~12:00 pm, and ~3:30 or 4:00 pm (these are quite rough times).
ENVIRONMENT: Second-growth, partially logged Douglas-fir forest with open understory and younger, regenerating Douglas-fir woodland with dense salal understory.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Blaine McMillan :
The witness is a trained biologist with many years of field experience. In his report he details an incident where he and his work mate appeared to have been trailed by a large bipedal creature. This animal appears to have remained in the area throughout the day, circling them and quite possibly observing them as they worked from the shelter of the surrounding foliage.
No tracks were found and no vocalizations were heard during this incident.
About BFRO Investigator Blaine McMillan :
- Retired Canadian Military (Reg Force) Safety Systems / Aviation technician with experience fighters and various SAR platforms. Author of Wood Knocks and Tossed Rocks:Searching for Sasquatch with the BFRO
- Married with two young sons. An avid camper, hunter and fisherman.
- Holds a BA in Criminology from the University of Manitoba, courses in Alternate Dispute Resolution, Anthropology and Political Science
- Attended the BFRO BC Expeditions in August of 2005, 2006, 2012 as well as Vancouver Island 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.
- Organized the 2007, 2008 Vancouver Island as well as 2009 North Vancouver Island Expeditions.
- Author of "Woodknocks and Tossed Rocks: Searching for Sasquatch with the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization.