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In the Beginning..

J. W. Burns

Rene Dahinden

Bob Titmus

John Green

The British Columbia Classics

Sasquatch Country

 

Here are contributed experiences which make for interesting reading
I hope you enjoy!

Footprints in the Snow

Hope, BC. 1957

The Province of B.C. in western Canada has many regions that are very rugged, wild, and generally speaking, remote. However some of these are a lot closer to populated areas than we might think. A good example is the area to the south, east, and north of Hope, BC. It consists of high mountain ridges slashed with steep sided valleys and gorges with many creeks and a few rivers. Huge coniferous trees go well over 100 feet in height, wild Pacific Dogwoods, with spreads of over 50 feet, are scattered throughout. Numerous ferns and shrubs, including wild Rhododendrons, grow in abundance. It is majestically beautiful, and, when I worked in the area, was quite uninhabited.

Back then, in 1957, I worked for Northwest Telephone Co., the 'radio' division of BC Telephone Co. The radio group handled the new microwave and VHF systems that Telephone companies were converting over to from land lines, commonly known as 'telephone wires'. This was necessary due to the huge increased volume demands for telephone and telex traffic services. I had three locations I had to keep on the air and service on a regular basis: 1) Sumas Mountain, on top of a mountain just east of Abbotsford; 2) Hope, located high up Thacker Mountain (I believe that was the name) and overlooking the Fraser River gorge just north of the town of Hope; 3) Harrison, a relay station for logging and mining camps in the Harrison Lake area, located on a bluff just above the town of Harrison Hot Springs.
Hope and Sumas were 'main line' stations, as a rule I visited Sumas every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and Hope each Tuesday and Thursday, with side trips to Harrison as needed. In an emergency situation like an outage or impending interruption of service, I went out when needed, any day of the week, any time of the day or night. As they say these days, I was on call 24/7. I lived in Chilliwack as it was centrally located in relation to the three sites.
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One Tuesday, early in March of 1957, I headed east along the highway toward Hope and noticed that it had snowed a lot over the past few days, the further east and closer to the mountains I got, the more there seemed to be. At Hope there was more than 2 feet of fresh, wet snow on the ground. I pulled into a gas station parking lot and proceeded to 'chain up' all four wheels of the Telephone Company Jeep 4x4. That chore completed, I left the parking lot and headed up to Kawkawa Lake on a back road, then turned off away from the lake and up a long hill to where the road ended. The rest of the journey followed an old creek bed that had long past been used as a skidding road (for dragging logs out) and was now accessible for 4-wheel drive vehicles only. This took me up the mountain for about 2 miles (we measured in miles back then) to where it joined an abandoned logging road, a little easier going than the skidding road. From there it was about another mile to my equipment shack where I would spend the day.

Well, as I tried to coax the Jeep to follow the old creek bed in that deep, wet snow, the bottom of the machine rode up onto the snow and left the wheels spinning in air. I got out the shovel and dug around underneath the Jeep in order to free it, but it was just too hard-packed under the front end. I did manage to get the rear wheels onto solid ground, but there was no way that Jeep was going to go any further in a forward direction that day.

Time to put on the snowshoes, which I carried in the Jeep for just such an occasion. I had no choice but to go up to the site as there was a noisy equipment cooling motor in one of the transmitters, and, although we had automated back-up systems, what if the backup failed? If that happened, we would be off the air, and no telephone traffic would be able to get through between Vancouver and the north and central interior regions of the province. So, whenever we had a problem, we had to fix it, pronto. I was aware of the problem at the Hope site because, the day before, I had been to Sumas, the next site to the west in the system, and the automated alarm system had told me of the trouble at Hope. Now snowshoes are not my favorite mode of getting around, but there was no other way to get up there (snowmobiles weren't around yet), so off I went up the mountain with a new electric motor (about 20 lbs.) and some lunch in my pack.

It had started snowing again, and, after I had I trekked along uphill for a ways, I noticed another set of tracks had joined the trail. Who on earth, I thought, would be dumb enough to be walking out here in this wilderness, in this weather (besides me, that is). Must be a bear, I thought. However, on closer inspection, I saw that the steps, deeply impressed into the new snowfall, seem to be made by a two-legged critter. To make sure, I continued on, stopping to check the tracks for a front paw mark in the same impression, but could find no evidence of a four-legged track.

Bears don't walk along on two legs, they will stand up to investigate things or get a better view of something, but they seldom, if ever, will walk more than a few meters on two legs. And at this time of year, early March, the self-respecting bears in this area would still be denned up in a deep, hibernation sleep. So, who, or what, had preceded me along the trail a very short time previously? Better have a closer look at these tracks, and pretty darn quickly as it was starting to snow pretty hard. I stooped over for a closer look. The tracks were down quite deep in the snow, and resembled the rear paw of a bear, but they were about 12 to 13 inches long, had distinct toe marks, but with no sign of any indentations from claws. No bear, not this guy.

The stride, distance between the footprints, was about 30 inches, pretty long for a human, and we were going up hill, so the other guy or whatever he was, would be taking a shorter than the normal stride. I looked ahead up the old creek bed, and the tracks just kept going and disappeared into the gloom of the falling snow thirty or so yards ahead; we were both going the same direction, no doubt about it.
So, who, or what, was my companion. Then it dawned on me, maybe I was looking at the tracks of a Sasquatch, the mythical, wild, hairy and ape-like creature said to live in the mountains of southern BC, and in the US Pacific Northwest states where he is known as Bigfoot. As luck would have it, the camera I had borrowed (I didn't own one) a couple of weeks ago to take some scenic photos was presently snugly resting at home on the shelf in Chilliwack, and I began to think that I should be keeping it company at this moment.

I am not, and have never made any claims to be, a hero. And right now there was a little voice in my tummy telling me that I really, really didn't want to meet up with whoever or whatever had been along here just before me. But, there was that noisy cooling motor, and I had a job to do, so onward and upward it was, with the fervent hope that he/it hadn't stopped to rest against a tree somewhere. I got to the old logging road, and darned if that critter hadn't turned onto the road and was heading for my building. I pressed on regardless, but at this point I was wound up like a clock spring, watching and listening very intently, and I might add, feeling pretty nervous about all this. When I came to the turn-off to my building, thank goodness, the other tracks kept heading along the logging road and over the top of the next hill.

I went in the shack and locked the door and breathed a huge sigh of relief. And speaking of relief, I had to summon up a lot of resolve just to step outside again for a quick nature call. I changed the faulty blower motor, did a bunch of tests, had a late sandwich, and decided I better get back to the Jeep before it got dark.
I strapped on the snowshoes and headed back down the mountain. The other tracks were by now just depressions because of the falling snow, there was little definition to them. It was eerily quiet, getting dark, and snowing hard, and I definitely was not feeling all that brave. Even though I was quite alone on the trail, I couldn't help but imagine that a huge Sasquatch was following me just a little distance back, and this served to speed me on and scare the dickens out of me. Jogging on snowshoes is not all that easy, especially when one is going down hill, and it is even more difficult when you are constantly looking back over your shoulder instead watching where you are going. I took several tumbles, but was up and on my way in a flash, not even pausing long enough to brush the snow off. I must have made it back to the Jeep in record time. Thankfully, the Jeep started right away, the rear wheels took hold, and we backed out of there at full speed and took off down the hill toward Hope.

On my Thursday visit, and thereafter, to comfort my frayed nerves, I carried a little extra weight along, it was about 8 pounds, 12 gauge, and double-barreled. Of course I never did need it, and probably would never have used it if I did encounter the critter again, but I felt a lot better just having it along.

About three or four weeks after my adventure, we had a warm wind from the west that brought on a rapid thaw. Again, I didn't have the camera with me that day since the footprints had been almost undistinguishable after the added snow of that first incident. But this time I sure wished I had brought it along. Because of the thaw, the undisturbed snow had melted quite rapidly, but the critter's tracks had become large, elongated, toadstool-like structures. The wet snow was compacted significantly when they were made, and now those compacted steps stood up on pedestals several inches above the melting snow.
I went back the next day armed with the camera determined to obtain proof of what I had seen, but the warm wind the previous day and night had done it's work. All that was left of the pedestals were a few little indistinguishable spikes sticking up a couple of inches here and there. The snow had now melted so much from the warm wind that I could now drive all the way up to the shack.

I told a lot of friends in Chilliwack about my adventure, but I got the feeling from the rolled-eyes looks I received that they were that they were thinking that my imagination was running unchecked and out of control, so eventually I just dropped it. I had nothing at all to offer as proof.
During the late fifties and early sixties, stories about Sasquatch sightings were quite numerous. In fact, when we relocated the Hope equipment to the top of Dog Mountain, west of the town, we named the upper terminus of the cable car run "The Sasquatch Inn".
I had been very, very skeptical about the fact that the Sasquatch even existed, but I quickly became a believer, though and through. That was the first, and last, evidence I ever saw that suggested they are for real, however it was enough for me. Those tracks certainly were real.
Over the years I have often wondered what it might have been like to actually see or meet up with him. What would he have done, how would he have reacted to me, or, there was the possibility that it might have been a lady Sasquatch, what might she have been like. I shall never know, but regardless, it was quite an adventure and I will never forget it.

Gary Bazan currently lives in the Okanagan!

Page Two


John Green

Thomas Steenburg

Chris Murphy

Dr. John Bindernagel

Hancock House

British Columbia Scientific Cryptzoology Club

 

 
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GC's interview with John Green

GC's interview with Chris Murphy

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