D. E. Larsen, DVM
The school bus pulled up to the front of Myrtle Point High School, and everyone stepped out of the bus and ran through the light rain to the front doors of the school.
Once inside, Ben caught up with Don Miller and me.
“Terry and I are planning to go hunting this weekend on a section way back off of Catching Creek,” Ben said. “I don’t know who is going yet, but you two can join us.”
“Sure,” Don said. “What is the plan?”
“We have a couple of forties out behind Bushnell’s up Catching Creek,” Ben said. “Dad logged it and burned the slash last year. There is a little prairie up there. Right in the middle of it, there is an old cabin. It’s not much of a cabin, but it will sleep six or eight of us. I thought we could go in Saturday morning, sleep overnight and come out Sunday afternoon.”
“That sounds good,” I said. That would give us an evening hunt and a morning hunt.”
“Yes, we can drive about a mile up the little creek behind Bushnell’s,” Ben said. “There is a locked gate there. Then we have a five-mile hike into the cabin.”
“Six miles from Catching Creek must put us almost over the hill to the coast,” I said.
“At the top of the ridge, you look down onto the upper reaches of Bear Creek,” Ben said.
“Wow!” Don said. “You mean Bear Creek out of Bandon?”
“Yes, it’s just about as wild as it gets around here,” Ben said. “Hopefully, we can get a buck or two out of there.”
Early Saturday morning, Terry, Dana, and Don stopped in front of our house and picked me up.
“Did you bring the bacon?” Dana asked as I threw my pack in the trunk.
“Yes, Mom said it would be fine in this weather,” I said as I found a seat in the back. “It’s going to be a pretty cold trip, I think.”
“Ben will be waiting for us at Ward Creek,” Terry said. “We will be camping in a cabin, so things shouldn’t be too bad.”
“Those old cabins don’t have any insulation,” I said. “It will be just as cold as it is outside.
“You will be fine with a sleeping bag,” Terry said. “And when that bacon is cooking in the morning, you will forget about the cold night.”
Ben was waiting in his pickup at the intersection with Ward Creek. He saw us coming and pulled out in front of us. It was a short trip to Brewster’s place, and Ben pulled into the road just past the house.
There was a locked gate on this road, but Ben had the key. We pulled through the gate, and Ben locked it behind us and stopped at the car window.
“It’s just a little over a mile to the next gate,” Ben said. The road goes through some other property, and I don’t have a key. We will need to park at the gate and walk. Just make sure you don’t block the gate when you park.”
It took almost no time to come to the second gate. We parked, and everyone loaded up their packs and rifles. It was sort of a rag-tag assortment of gear. I had my brother’s old boy scout backpack, some kind of a rucksack with a change of underwear and socks, a bottle of water, a frying pan, a package of frozen bacon, and a box of shells. My oldest brother’s sleeping bag was lashed to the pack in a lopsided manner.
The left shoulder strap dug into my skin when I shouldered the pack. I sat it back down and adjusted the sleeping bag to a balanced position.
“We need to get one of those new sleeping bags that roll up in a short roll,” Don said as he also adjusted his pack.
“That’s a lot of money for something I use once a year,” I said.
We shouldered our packs and climbed over the gate. Then hurried to catch up to the others who had stopped at the bridge crossing the creek.
“Does this creek have a name?” I asked.
“I’m not sure,” Ben said. “I think it is called the middle fork of Catching Creek.”
The country ahead of us was rugged timberland. It looked like one hill after the other. The good thing, we had a graveled road to walk on. The bad thing, we had five miles to go. And it was all uphill and downhill.
“We probably won’t see anything until we get to a couple of clear-cuts about a mile before we get to the cabin,” Ben said. “I think we should scan those, but we need to get to the cabin and set up for the night before we do any serious hunting this evening.”
There was no military discipline on the five-mile march. Guys would lag behind and run to catch up when they realized how far back they were. Walking through timber doesn’t lend itself to great views. It was just up one hill and then down the other side. Most of the small creeks in the gullies between the hills were dry, waiting for the fall rains to start.
Finally, Ben stopped as we neared the top of one hill.
“We better load a rifle or two,” Ben said. “There is a clear-cut just over this hill. It’s a long downhill stretch, then we cross a creek, and the cabin is just up the creek a bit.”
At last, we were almost there. Everyone loaded their rifles. Nobody wanted to be left out if there was going to be any shooting.
We crested the hill and stepped out of the timber into bright October sunshine. I sneezed at the change in light intensity, and everyone frowned.
We watched both sides of the road as we continued downhill.
“There!” Dana said, pointing out to the left.
There was a small group of deer, maybe two hundred yards out.
“The one in the rear of the group is a forked horn,” I said.
“Are you sure?” somebody asked.
“Yes,” I said as the shooting started.
There was a short volley from five rifles, all with open sights. It sounded like a small army. The deer ran off over the hill, and we continued on to the cabin.
We all hunted that evening, all to no avail.
“All that shooting was probably not a good idea,” I said. “We just told all the bucks that we were here.”
“It will be better in the morning,” Ben said as he tended the fire. “Who’s cooking dinner?”
“I brought a sandwich for tonight,” I said. “I have bacon for the morning and a frying pan.”
“That bacon sounds pretty good right now,” Ben said.
I tossed Ben the bacon and the frying pan as I put half my sandwich back in my pack. They will all complain when there is nothing to eat in the morning.
It turned cold as soon as the sun went down. The weather forecast had said it was going to be a cold morning. There were two double bed iron bed frames in the cabin. No mattresses and the wire rack stretched over the iron frame. I threw my sleeping bag in the middle and crawled into bed before it got too cold.
Everyone was sound asleep when I woke up in the morning. I kicked Don on the foot and motioned for him to get up. We pulled on our boots, and I retrieved the half of sandwich from my bag. Tearing it in half, I handed Don a portion.
“This is probably all there is to eat this morning,” I said.
“I tried to tell them that last night when they were cooking that bacon,” Don said.
“It’s foggy out. I figure if we get to the top of the ridge by sunup, we will catch a little buck before he heads to his bed,” I said.
We grabbed our rifles and headed out. Looking back as we stepped out the door, everyone was still sound asleep.
We followed a cat road up toward the top of the ridge. This clear-cut had been burned last year, and there was no browse for the deer to eat. We needed to get up to the edge of the clear-cut and walk along the edge of the timber.
The sun was just peaking over the far ridge to the east when we reached the top of the ridge. A cat road was cut as a fire break along the edge of the timber at the top of the ridge. We started down the ridge top on the cat road,
The fog was thick. We had less than a hundred yards of visibility. A dog barking was far off on the Bear Creek drainage. We walked right into a group of four deer. They stood looking at us. One was a small buck, a fork on one side and a spike on the other.
“Do you want to shoot him?” I asked Don.
“He’s a little guy, hardly worth the effort to pack him out of here,” Don said. “Let’s let him go.”
“I agree,” I said as I waved my left arm. The deer quickly jumped into the timber.
We continued our walk down the cat road.
Don suddenly stopped and pointed. There, right at the edge of our visibility in the fog, stood a massive dark structure.
“Bear?” Don whispered.
“I don’t know, looks too big for a bear,” I whispered back. Everyone stood motionless.
“Bigfoot?” Don whispered
“You think?” I said. “Maybe.”
“Should we shoot it?” Don said.
“Let’s get closer,” I said. “I don’t want to shoot it if we don’t have to.”
We crept down the cat road, then moved off the road toward the bigfoot. He looked larger now that we were closer. At least eight feet tall with broad shoulders. In the fog, he was almost black, and he didn’t move a muscle.
“He has to know we are here. Otherwise, he would move,” Don said.
Now we were close, the fog was still dense, but we were maybe twenty yards from him, separated by a small gully.
“You stay here,” I said to Don. “I will cross the gully and come up behind him. If he moves toward me, shoot him.”
Don readied his rifle, and I carefully dropped down into the gully. I lost view of the bigfoot in the gully, but glancing back at Don’s position, I plotted my path to come out behind him.
When I stepped out of the gully, the big foot was gone. I was standing by a big stump.
“He’s gone,” I said to Don.
“You’re standing right beside him,” Don replied.
I looked again and chuckled at myself.
“Don, it’s a stump. It’s just a damn stump.”
Photo by Photo Jon Sailer on Unsplash.
One thought on “My Sasquatch Encounter”
That is a good story from your youth! I would bet there were a lot of Sasquatch reports in that remote country from even grown people back then, not just kids.