A Loveland, Colorado resident describes a strange incident experienced by his mother while taking the dog out. Years later, he finds unusually large reptile-like tracks near their home.
"I live in a house up next to the Devil's Backbone near Loveland, Colorado. The area around our house is just urban enough for us to have a house there and about three neighbors, but wild enough for a herd of about 40 elk to come marching through our yard during migration.
One night in 2002, I was watching TV with my parents. My mom went to take one of our dogs out. They went out and came back a few minutes later. My mom came back and told my dad and me that there was something out there. This is, according to her, what happened.
She went out to the dog pen with the dog. Just from experience, I know that the outside lights on that part of the house only illuminate the driveway and half of the dog pen. The dog began sniffing about for a place to "do its business" and went over to the darker end of the pen. There was just enough light reaching that end to see the dog going up against the fence. I don't remember exactly, but at some point, while she was in the shadows, my mom said she heard a loud, terrifying feline growl come from that end of the pen. The dog, of course, bolted immediately for the light at the opposite end of the pen. It was scared out of her wits. Thus my mom was convinced that the time was right to return to the house.
I thought about this for some time. The only non-cryptid animals in the area capable of producing anything like this noise were foxes and raccoons (there were no mountain lions in the area at the time), but from my mom's description of the sound, it would have to have been a larger creature. Also, the dog that was involved has a reputation for being able to detect foxes easily, and there hadn't been any raccoon sightings (at least in our neighborhood) for years. This, however, is about as far as I got before I moved on to other things.
I didn't think about the noise again until this summer (2006). Every day I go on a hike up the Devil's Backbone trail with the same dog from the previous account. I had a lot of time to think during those hikes and, as I said before, the strange noise came to mind. I tried to come up with an animal that would fit the description and ended up with nothing. To my knowledge, there were no cryptids in northeast Colorado. The closest cryptids were the Colorado River Lizards, but they're in southern Colorado. I continued my hike and let my mind wander to other things.
Then, something in the dirt caught my eye. I stopped and bent down to examine it. It appeared to be a footprint of some kind. Most of the dirt around the print was too hard-packed to make much of a footprint with only a thin layer of loose dust. But occasionally, as was the case, there would be a small patch of dirt loose and thick enough to make a decent print. The print was about 3.5 inches wide and 3.5 inches long with three, thick, bird-like toes. From what I've seen of the trail wildlife, there isn't anything big enough to make a decent track much less one as strange and bizarre as this. Of course, it got me really excited and I searched for more footprints like it. There was evidence of other footprints leading up to the original, but they were on the packed stuff and therefore, were not very legible. As I said, I got really excited and promptly began beating myself up for not having a camera with me. Fortunately, the backbone was shielding most of the wind, the print was off on the side of the trail and there was enough gravel to keep its shape long enough for me to go back home (we live very close to the trailhead), get a camera and snap a few photos (see picture).
On my way back, I also managed to find some other tracks like it in more footprint-friendly soil and snapped some shots of it too. This one actually had some fairly legible prints around it in a "running" pattern, but they were too far apart for me to snap in one shot. I'm tempted to say that the mysterious footprints are connected somehow to the mysterious animal from the previous account.
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