Picnicking in the Rocky Mountains

Do you remember a time when you were a kid and you thought your Dad was awesomely God-like?

My moment was in 1966, I was about eight.  We were stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado.  On the weekends we’d go picnicking on Cheyenne Mountain.  Dad was alway looking for arrow heads and miner stuff.  Mom was taking pictures like mad.  Oma (Grandma) was making sure I didn’t kill myself.  I spent most of the time getting as dirty as possible. 

Lion Dog
Rhodesian_Ridgeback (Lion Dog)

We became friends with the local Park Ranger.  He let us get into the sort of shall we say “not open to the public” places.  Once we made an unannouced visit to his home.  A ranch style log cabin affair.  He wasn’t home but his dogs were and Mom made friends with them almost immeadiatly.  When he did get home he was amazed to find us waiting in his living room.  He was really amazed to find us still alive.  His dogs were a pair of what he called “Lion Dogs”.

One weekend we were at one of those out of way places when Dad spotted an old mine sunk into the side of a hill.  It looked like it had been there for a hundred years so visions of “miner stuff” danced in his head.  Flashlights at the ready, Dad, Mom and I proceeded on a mine adventure.

The shaft had about a 20 or 30 degree incline, so going was slow.  There was a remnant of the rail lines that the ore cars used.  After about 50 feet or so, Mom slipped and fell.  When she hit the ground she lost her flashlight.  To an eight year old it looked to me like the darkness just sucked her out.  She came to a stop with a resounding “THUD” and a not-so-cheerfull “SHIT”.  Dad and I ran to her.  We noted where the rail line ended abruptly and the floor dropped about six inches.  For Mom, it was like stepping of a stair step she didn’t know was there.  

When we got to her, Mom was on her ass, leaned up on a stainless steel door.

At this point I remember Dad saying, “Let’s get the fuck out of here.”  I remember it well because he hardly ever used “fuck”, he was more of shit and god dammit man.

Mom had broken her foot in the fall  By the time we got out of the mine shaft there were two jeeps and about a half dozen Army MP’s waiting for us.  As a army brat, I knew my Dad out ranked these dudes so they obviously there to help us.  Especially as they gave us ride back to our car and Oma.  Somehow, my Dad used some superhuman way of contacting the M.P.’s to come help us.

Jever
Me and my Dad.

Years later, Dad told me that we had stumbled upon an emergency escape hatch for NORAD’s Cheyenne Mountain Complex.  Since he was an E-9 he did out rank the M.P.s.  He had also attended a orientation tour of the Complex given to the Command Structure at Fort Carson.  That combination was good enough to get us off the hook.

NORAD
Not this one.

MY BIGFOOT ENCOUNTER

ON NOVEMBER SIXTH, 2019 I WENT FROM BEING A SASQUATCH BELIEVER TO A SASQUATCH “KNOWER”.  NOTHING I’VE READ OR WATCHED HAD PREPARED ME FOR THE ENCOUNTER.  IN NINTH GRADE A FRIEND OF MINE GAVE ME A BOOK ENTITLED, “STRANGE CREATURES FROM TIME AND SPACE”.  IT IS A TONGUE IN CHEEK NARRATIVE OF ALL THINGS THAT GO BUMP OR GLOW IN THE DARK.  BIGFOOT WAS AMONG THEM.  I WAS ALREADY A UFO “KNOWER” BUT THAT’S ANOTHER STORY.

OVER THE YEARS, MY OPINION OF BIGFOOT WAS SKEPTICAL AT BEST.  I WATCHED ALL THE DOCUMENTARIES.  THEN I WATCHED “SCIENCE MEETS SASQUATCH” AND MY SKEPTICISM STARTED TO FADE.  I BOUGHT THE BOOK AND BECAME A BELIEVER.  THE BELL CURVE GRAPH OF SASQUATCH FOOT LENGTH APPEALED TO THE MATHEMATICIAN IN ME.  NUMBERS DO NOT LIE.

IN 2017, WE MOVED FROM LAS VEGAS NEVADA TO CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA.  I HAVE BEEN IN AND OUT OF CHARLESTON FOR ELEVEN YEARS AND WANTED TO RETIRE THERE.  MY GRANDCHILDREN LIVE THERE.  MY DAUGHTER WANTED TO GO TO COLLEGE IN SOUTH CAROLINA.  I WANTED TO RETIRE TO A PLACE THAT REMINDED ME OF WHAT CALIFORNIA USED TO BE WITH TREES AND AN OCEAN.  THE PROSPECT OF DOING SOME “SQUATCHING” WAS IN MY MIND.  THE MARION FRANCIS NATIONAL FOREST BECKONED TO ME.  ACCORDING TO THE BFRO, THERE ARE NOT MANY BIGFOOT SIGHTINGS IN SOUTH CAROLINA.  I THINK THAT’S BECAUSE THEY’RE CALLED “BOOGERS” NOT “BIGFOOT” AROUND HERE.  THE LOCALS HAVE STORIES OF THE ASHLEY RIVER “SWAMP MONSTER”. 

WHEN WE SETTLED INTO OUR NEW HOME, I DID NOT THINK I’D STUMBLE ONTO ANY BIGFEET.  HOWEVER, ONE MORNING WAITING FOR A CREDIT UNION TO OPEN UP, I SAW A BIGFOOT STICK STRUCTURE RIGHT AT THE EDGE OF THE PARKING LOT.  I INVESTIGATED, TOOK PICTURES .

NOW FOR THE GOOD PART.  ON THE SIXTH OF NOVEMBER, 2018, I DROVE MY DAUGHTER BACK TO COLLEGE.  I DROPPED HER OFF AND GOT BACK ON THE ROAD AT MIDNIGHT.  IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL NIGHT.  I ROARED DOWN HIGHWAY 71 AT SPEEDS A PATROLMAN WOULD FROWN AT.  BY  0130, I HAD PASSED A COUPLE OF CARS THAT HAD RUN OFF THE ROAD AND WAS FEELING GUILTY FOR NOT STOPPING.  IT WAS THEN THAT I SPOTTED THE BLUE LIGHTS.  MY GPS HAD TAUGHT THAT THE HIGHWAY PATROL HAD PULLED SOMEONE OVER ABOUT A MILE AHEAD.  I TOOK MY KIA SOUL OUT OF LIGHT SPEED.

I WAS IN THE RIGHT LANE.  THE SHOULDER OF THE ROAD WAS SMALL.  THERE WAS ABOUT 30 FEET OF TALL GRASS AND THEN THE MASSIVE TREELINE.  THE MOON WAS FULL AND THERE WAS A LOT OF LIGHT OF THE TOWNS AND CITIES BEING REFLECTED FROM THE LOW CLOUD COVER.  VISIBILTY WAS NOT A PROBLEM.  IT WAS THEN THAT I SAW A MAN STAND UP THE GRASS.  HE STEADIED HIMSELF WITH HIS ARMS OUT AND THEN FLOPPED BACK DOWN.

I SLOWED DOWN FURTHER AND WONDERED IF THE TROOPERS HADN’T FOUND HIM AND MAYBE HE WAS HURT FROM A WRECK.  I WAS PREPARING TO STOP AND RENDER AID WHEN THIS “THING” CAME AT ME IN THE GRASS.  I WAS BEWILDERED BECAUSE IT DEFINITELY WASN’T A MAN.  I HAD READ ALL ABOUT BIGFOOT IN THE “TURBO MODE” BUT THAT HAD NOT PREPARED ME FOR WHAT I SAW.  I SWEAR TO GOD THAT IT LOOKED LIKE A HUGE HAIRY SPIDER COMING AT ME ALL ARMS AND LEGS.  MY SPEED HAD DROPPED INTO THE 40’S AS IT CAME CLOSER AND NOW LOOKED LIKE A SOLDIER DOING A LOW CRAWL BUT MUCH TOO FAST.  WHEN WE PASSED EACH OTHER, EVERYTHING SLOWED DOWN FOR ME LIKE WHEN YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING TO CRASH.  I DID HAVE THE THOUGHT FLASH THROUGH MY MIND THAT IT WOULD LEAP ONTO THE PAVEMENT AND I’D HIT HIM.

I REMEMBER EVERY DETAIL AS WE PASSED.  IT WAS AT A RANGE OF ZERO.  IF SOMEONE WERE IN THE PASSENGER SEAT, THEY COULD’VE ROLLED DOWN THE WINDOW AND TOUCHED IT.  EVERY WINDOW ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE CAR WAS FILLED WITH THE DARKEST BLACK FUR I’VE EVER SEEN.  I SAW NO HEAD, NO HANDS OR FEET.  JUST FUR AND RIPPLING MUSCLES.  I SNAPPED OUT OF IT IN TIME TO SWERVE INTO THE LEFT LANE AND PASS THE SPEEDER AND TROOPER.

THIS HAPPENED ON HIGHWAY 71, NORTH OF COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA.  I DID NOT STOP TO GET A GPS LOCATION.  ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS GET HOME.  ALL THE WAY TO MY EXIT HOME I WAS TALKING TO MYSELF TRYING TO DIGEST WHAT I HAS SEEN.

“THAT WAS A BLACK BEAR. THAT WAS A BLACK BEAR”.
“NO IT WASN’T”
“YES IT WAS, SHUT UP.”

WHEN I GOT HOME, I GOOGLED BLACK BEARS IN SOUTH CAROLINA.  I FOUND OUT THERE ARE TWO GROUPS.  THE COASTAL GROUP AND THE INLAND GROUP.  THESE ARE SEPARATED BY A WIDE MARGIN RIGHT DOWN THE CENTER OF THE STATE.  GUESS WHERE MY ENCOUNTER WAS?  RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PARTS OF SOUTH CAROLINA THAT THE BEARS DON’T WANT TO GO.

I TOLD MY WIFE THAT I WAS AFRAID TO GO IN THE WOODS NOW.  “ARE YOU AFRAID OF TREES NOW?”, SHE ASKED.  “NO, I JUST DON’T WANT TO COME ACROSS A BIGFOOT.”

 “BUT YOU LIKE BIGFOOT.”

“I DO BUT I ALSO LIKE LIONS AND LIKE TO SEE THEM IN THE ZOO.  I DON’T NOT WANT TO COME ACROSS ONE IN THE FOREST.”

THAT’S WHERE I’M AT WITH BIGFOOT NOW.  I DO NOT WANT TO COME ACROSS ONE IN THE FOREST AND BET MY LIFE THAT IT’S IN A FRIENDLY, LOVING MOOD.