Until I went camping I didn’t really believe in Bigfoot. My name is James and I took my two sons Joey and David on a week-long camping trip at Cougar Rock Campgrounds at the base of Mt Rainer. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Rainer from my home in Seattle. Mt Rainer is a massive glacier-clad volcano, peaking at 14,409 ft. and dominating the skyline for hundreds of miles. We decided to go in early August in 2004 before school was scheduled to start.
Cougar rock campgrounds is a well known and very busy camping park and it requires a reservation several months in advance. Even though there are more than 170 campsites, they are almost always full each night during the busy season.
Even during the month of August, the nights are quite cool due to the 3,180 elevation of the camp. Cougar Rock Campground is on the southwest side of Mt. Rainier National Park and it is close to the Paradise area. Paradise is the most popular destination in the area because of the spectacular views of Mt Rainer’s 14,409′ snow-covered peak.
We got our campsite all set up and decided to do some hiking and maybe a little rock climbing. David, who just turned 14 loves to climb, while his younger brother Joey prefers fishing.
Most of the trails in the park are circular in nature, if you walk long enough you often end up at the same place you started. That is unless you decide to venture off the trail which is not recommended.
Our first Bigfoot encounter
Our first night was very interesting. We listened to the natural sounds of the forest and tried to identify each sound. The most prominent was an owl which seems to be a few hundred yards away.
We also heard wood cracking, like a very large animal was walking over some small branches. We determined that it was probably an elk.
Off in the distance we heard a strange howl. “What was that? Never heard that before, sound pretty far away.”
The next morning we talked about the strange howl and speculated that it must have been big, whatever it was. Later we met up with a family that was camping next to us, just about 50 yards down the road. They said the howling woke them up, and they too wondered what could it be?
During the day we went hiking down some trails and did a little rock climbing. We decided to meet up with the family camping next to us, and cook dinner together.
That night we all met at our new friend’s camp site and made a nice fire. The park doesn’t allow anyone to use firewood from the park, even if it is falling dead wood. You must bring in your own wood for fires, or you can buy wood at stores just outside of the camping areas.
Time for dinner
We had a nice fire going and we cooked “hobo stew.” That is where you put meat, vegetables, and spices together and triple wrap them into an aluminum ball, bury them into the hot coals, and place a few hot coals on top. After about 25 minutes, you pull your aluminum ball out of the coals and open it up for a delicious hot meal.
We were all sitting around the campfire after dinner when we heard the same howling again, but this time it sounded much closer. Like it was coming from a little open area of tall grass, just about 100 yards away.
We also heard a knocking sound, like someone hitting a tree with a large piece of wood. Not like you normally hear when an animal is walking through twigs. This was a much different sound and had a steady rhythm about it.
The next morning we all got together and decided to go to the area where we thought the howling was coming from. We found some sticks on the ground next to a falling log. I picked up the stick and hit the log a few times, and that was the exact same sound we heard the night before.
More evidence of something wrong
We also found some large bigfoot prints that looked human-like but were much larger than any foot I have ever seen. I estimated that the footprints were about 14 inches long and about 7 inches wide.
This must be a Bigfoot! Or maybe someone was just playing a prank on us. Why would anyone do this? It just doesn’t make any sense. Why would someone want to scare us at night? Was it to make us leave the campsite?
I was convinced that someone, for some reason wants to scare us out of the area, but why? We decided to stake out the area just before dark and catch them in the act and get to the bottom of this.
I talked to the other family, who was camping next door, and we decided to do this together. We made a make-shift blind that we could hide behind to give us a great view of the area, and we occupied it just before dark.
Sasquatch stole our food.
We waited and waited, but nothing happened. About midnight, we decided to go back to our campsites. When we returned we found that someone or something had disrupted our campsite. Our food was missing.
We also found that same footprint in and around our site. This was no animal! When we were down the trail in our blind, something was busy stealing our food.
I am assuming whatever did this had done this before to other people. Anyway, our Bigfoot was a skilled thief.
We sat around the fire until about 3 AM just wondering and speculating about our adventure. The next morning we went back down to the blind area. We found that something had been there.
There were empty potato chip bags, candy wrappers, uncooked chicken bones half-eaten loaves of bread, and lots of other stuff scattered all around.
Bigfoot is smarter than you think
Looks like Bigfoot had a real feast here. We cleaned up the mess and packed it back to a dumpster at the campgrounds main office.
We talked to the forest ranger at the office and told him what had happened. He said it was most likely a bear. “That was no bear,” I said. A bear would have torn up the campsite. It seemed like whatever took our food had enough knowledge of where to look without tearing everything up. If that had been a bear, the garbage can would have been a mess.
The forest ranger said this has happened before.
It’s like Bigfoot and the forest ranger have an agreement or something. He doesn’t really hurt anyone, and the forest ranger leaves him alone.
The last night of our camping trip was the was the most active. Again we heard the howling, yelling scream, but this time we didn’t all go down to investigate.
The other family camping next to us agreed to go look for the source of the sound, while we stayed behind. We weren’t going to fall for the same trick again. We hears wood knocking and howling for about an hour.
Then it all stopped. We hid in our campsite and waiting for Bigfoot to come and steal more food, as he did before. We waited in the bed of our pickup truck, out of sight.
Then we heard something walking through the brush, next to our campsite. It seemed very large and heavy based on the twigs breaking under its weight as it walked.
He smelled like an old carpet burning in a barrel.
We peeked over the top of the pickup bed just in time to see a very large hairy gorilla type man standing in the middle of our camp, looking into our tents and ice chest. I’m just sorry we didn’t get a picture. Back in 2004, we didn’t have a camera on our flip phone. He was close enough for us to hear his heavy breathing, and he smelled like an old carpet burning in a barrel. An odor I will never forget.
Bigfoot quickly turned and our eyes locked onto each other. I thought he was going to attack us, but he ran into the forest in the opposite direction.
No one in our group even thought about chasing him. First of all, he was too fast, plus the last thing I would want to do is try to corner a big hairy beast. I felt sure that if provoked, he could tear us in half with little effort on his part. He looked massive!
We left the campsite with an understanding that sometimes you just don’t want to mess around with nature.
By talking to other people who have experienced bigfoot encounters, I now have a much better understanding. Sasquatch is alive and well.
I learned that bigfoot has been active a long time. In 1840 Walker, a Protestant missionary recorded stories of giants among the Indians living near Spokane, Washington. The Indians said that these giants lived on and around the peaks of nearby mountains and stole salmon from their fishing nets.
A lot of people think Bigfoot doesn’t exist, try telling that to James and his two sons.