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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Bigfoot Attack on Raider's Ridge Trail

I recently received the following account:

I'll be honest this is only the second time I've told this story to anyone. I used to live out in southwest Colorado. I was attending Fort Lewis College in Durango. Beautiful area, right between the mountains and desert and is very close to the San Juan National Forest. At the time this happened I was living in an apartment building very close to the school. FLC sits on a mesa above the actual town of Durango and my apartment was also on this mesa. Right behind my complex was a ridgeline called Raiders Ridge. I was a very avid mountain biker and every morning I would ride a trail system up and over Raiders Ridge.

It was early morning. Behind the ridge is just forest and a series of smaller ridges for at least a few miles. The area is relatively well forested with small pines, scrub brush and larger bushes. The sun hadn't yet gotten over the ridge so it was somewhat light but not brightly lit like from overhead sunlight. At the time I was about a mile back into the ride and I was pedaling up to another of the smaller ridges, going pretty slow since it was a relatively steep grade. All of a sudden I feel and hear something hard hit my helmet. A bit odd but I figured it could have been something rolling down from this ridge so I kept on. Then it happened again except this time it hit me right on the knuckle. Thankfully I was wearing my riding gloves. I stopped not really thinking anything of it and took a drink but as soon as I stopped it was super quite. I got really weirded out almost like when you know someone is staring at you from across the classroom. That's when I heard it. It sounded like the lowest deepest growl ever. Like a tiger on steroids. I looked in the direction of where it came from, completely frozen. I have never heard anything with the kind of power that this thing had.

I then noticed a very large black mass behind one of the larger bushes. It was sort of backlit so I couldn't make out any discernible features, only that this thing was real big. It looked jet black but with the lighting I guess its possible that it was a dark brown. I'm not sure. I stared at it for what must have been a just few seconds. I started freaking out on the inside but still couldn't move. It must have only been maybe 30 feet from me. It let out another growl and it stood up on two feet. I am not a big person but this thing must have been 6.5-7ft tall - lean yet very muscular. At this point my flight response kicked in and I awkwardly shuffled my bike in a 180° and started out down the hill like a bat out of hell. I never looked back but I could hear it run after me, big heavy thuds and breaking brush and branches on the way. I'm not sure when it stopped following I was so focused on getting away and not crashing that I couldn't say exactly when I stopped hearing it. I went down a different way than I came because if I didnt I knew I would have had to ride back up Raiders Ridge and that would mean slowing down. So I went southwest which took me to a much more popular trail that led to a main road. I just thought I need to get to where there are other people and I'll be safe. Which I did. I rode across a group of trailrunners and nearly crashed into one of them. I got to the entrance of the trail by the road and collapsed. I was exhausted almost crying and hyperventilating. A woman stopped to as if I was ok and all I could get out was "I'm ok now, I'm ok now". Needless to say I rode all the way back home on surface streets.

Not long after that things went downhill real fast for me. I dropped out of school and fell heavily into addiction. I had to move back home to NY after that. It took me years to get better and to even think about getting back out into the woods. And even still what happened is always on my mind when I'm out there. But I have learned to deal with it. I still enjoy nature and now I figure with all the time I've spent out in the forest and this has only happened once that my odds are fairly low of this repeating itself. But I always worry about people who go actively looking for these things. They can be extremely shy or, in my case, extremely aggressive and you never know which it will be. Just be careful out there people. Keep your eyes and ears open. AGC

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