Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Sasquatch...or Skookum Spirit?

I recently came across the following account:

My wife, daughter, and I went camping over the Labor Day holiday weekend. We both took off work Friday and headed off to meet up with a group of friends who were camping with their kids and dogs. They were already out there and had found and a nice campsite that was big enough for our group. Just a spot off of a service road with primitive fire pit and not an official campground.

In total there were 10 of us, 7 adults and 3 tweens. We were camping out in an area south of Mt. Rainier just outside of the park boundary off of a road that would lead you to a locked gate that enters the park. We knew at the end of the road was a locked gate because all the cars that went that way only to flip back around because it was only accessible to National Park staff. We set up our camp in a flat area that would fit our 2 tents that they had raked up for us prior to us arriving, it was a bit closer to the road then their tents were. They had set up their tents much further back.

Once camp was set up we hung out with our friends while the kids played and had dinner around the fire. Just friends hanging out having drinks hanging around the fire and all was great. We stayed up pretty late and everyone was getting tired and cold. Slowly everyone faded off to their tents and to bed. My wife was cold and went to warm up in the car and then proceeded to fall asleep in the car. Now my daughter and I are the last two awake out by the fire and she decided that she wanted to sleep in the car where it was warm with my wife. I agreed that was okay after I attempted to wake my wife up and get her to come to the tent to go to sleep and she was out cold. So I watched her go to her tent and grab her blanket and her sleeping bag for my wife as it was cold and I had turned the car off now. She grabbed the stuff and zipped up the tent and off to the car she went.

I stayed up a little bit longer by the fire and must have dozed off momentarily because when I woke back up I was sitting in a camping chair by only glowing embers and it was pitch black. Only the coals of the fire glowing red glowing in the now dead fire. I got up and found my way to the tent in the pitch blackness of the night and climb in and went to sleep. I was exhausted and fell asleep as soon as I hit in that sleeping bag.

Around 3:30 a.m. I woke up to my daughter's tent kind of rustling and what sounded like two female voices talking really softly. I listened intently trying to hear what they were saying, but I couldn’t really understand anything. There were no real discernible words coming out just mumbling. Then silence. I figured it was just my wife and daughter finding their way to my daughters tent, not wanting to wake me up by being loud. Figured my wife was just going sleep in the tent with my daughter. However now I am up because my back is killing me because the air mattress is now flat and airless.

As I lay there in what I can only describe as dead silence I hear cracking like sticks breaking or popping so I assume it the fire still hanging on somehow. Then I hear something moving around towards the front of my tent and it stops. Something is directly outside the front of my tent I can feel it and sense it. So I slowly raise up to a seated position and hear something breathe in and exhale a large breathe. This is the heaviest breathe I have ever heard and it was followed but what I can only describe as a very loud huff as if from a horse or cow or some very large animal. I sat there frozen with fear trying to rationalize what it is I am hearing and it stopped. All I heard was the one deep inhale and exhale and that huff sound then everything went silent. What followed next is a owl hooting a little ways off back from behind the area of our friends tents and after that I heard nothing else. No sounds at all no fire popping/sticks cracking nothing. I stayed there sitting up frozen with fear for what seemed like forever until I could tell the sun was coming up and that it was light out now. I muster up the courage and go outside and check the ground in front of my tent and that’s when I noticed my daughters tent unzipped and and empty!

I panic and rush to the car and there they are in the car sound asleep. I see not a single track, nothing around our tents and everyone else is about 20 to 30 yards away in their tents. Now I am freaking the hell out. Who did I hear talking? Who was skulking around the tent? What the hell was that breathing in front of me and huffing outside my tent? What opened my daughters tent zipper? Surely there is an explanation and I sit out there for at least an hour getting the fire going as our friends begin to get up and move about. They slowly make their way to the fire and I immediately start asking them where were the dogs all night? Did you let them out where they sniffing around my tent? Did any of you wake up and were talking or moving around and did you hear that owl? Nope, no, and no they all replied.

I have no idea what that was talking softly and what was breathing and huffing right in front of me. What the hell opened my daughters tent in the night? I watched her zip it shut and go to the car. That breathe and huff was so scary it left me frozen with fear and I didn’t move at all after hearing it and sat there as silent as possible not even wanting to breathe. One of the scariest moments of my life something large and unknown in the darkness directly in front of me and only thing separating us is a thin tent wall. This all happened Friday into Saturday morning and we still have another night here. I decided that I am not sleeping in the tents and neither are my wife and daughter tonight or ever again.

The rest of the day goes great hanging out having breakfast, went into town (Ashford), and went for a hike down the road to lake (Cora Lake). Basically just camping and hanging. It’s getting later now and although the sun is out and blue skies the canopy in our camping area is thick and even at the brightest point in the day was still pretty dark compared to road area.

As we are hanging out we hear woooo-ooops way off in the distance and we are thinking 'what is that?' More time passes by and now a few of the people that were there when we arrived at camp have left. Just 7 of us left and 2 of the 7 were pretty much always in their tent. So that left 5 of us out hanging out by the fire. That’s when dusk crept in and my buddy began working on dinner for all of us. As we sat there, from off in the woods between us and the park boundary towards the creek we hear these blood curdling screams and wood type howls that everyone heard. We all stopped talking and fell silent and we all began to ask each other wtf was that. We heard this about 4 - 5 times. It sounded like a woman being murdered and howl type of sound.

Then came a few tree knocks from the same general direction. Is someone messing with us out here everyone was thinking? Keep in mind it is a holiday weekend, so tons of campers within a 15 mile radius. So I call my buddy over and he hadn’t heard the screams because he had been cooking on a skillet and had a propane lantern in front of him and behind him and they are loud. We stand there and listen and don’t hear it.

We decide we will do a tree knock back, closer to the road that divided us from the area we heard these vocalizations and knocks from. That is when we heard it! I got a chill down my spine to my core and the hairs raised up on my arms and neck. We both looked at one another and at the same time asked, 'did you f*cking hear that?' I asked him what he heard and we had both heard what we can only describe as a monkey/gorilla sound like you would hear on Discovery channel or something. It was like ooooh oooh ahhh ahhh ahhh ahhh sound. It was far off but deep and rumbling sounding unlike what you hear on T.V. I want say it was like directed/focused at us, I only say that because the other people were sitting behind us maybe only 10 feet away and they didn’t hear it only us.

Now we are freaking the hell out and nobody is sleeping in their tents! We don’t want say anything and freak everyone else because at this point they are already on edge. I have been hiking and camping here in the PNW for almost 20 years now and have never experienced this while I was camping out with family and friends. I am 39 years old from the east coast and have been shot at and chased growing up in the ghetto. I am a former U.S. Army Infantryman who has spent countless nights in only a sleeping bag in a dug out sleeping hole and in tents. I am now afraid to ever sleep in a tent again after this weekend. I have never really ever felt fear like I did that 1st night in all my time in the forests out here except when I was a kid in the woods back home. JB


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