Ready for your first Encounter?
For those born and raised in the Pacific Northwest against the backdrop of fog-shrouded mountains, glacial rivers and evergreen forests, there’s a good chance that they learned about Sasquatch at a very early age.
Some will go on to have encounters with the shy giants and others will dismiss them as mere tall-tales of local folklore and mythology. The brave few will embrace the possibility of Sasquatch existence and actively seek out their own personal experience.
If you fall into the latter category, it’s worth a drive up the Fraser River Valley ninety minutes east of Vancouver British Columbia. The area around Sasquatch Provincial Park and Harrison Lake has had numerous sightings over the past century and Sasquatch is deeply en-grained in the local Sts’ailes First Nation tribe’s tradition and storytelling. The historical odds of a successful encounter do not get better than here.
Few areas in the world have so completely embraced Sasquatch and incorporate the giant hominid’s name in all walks of life as in the town of Harrison Lake Hot Springs. To get to the popular lakeside resort, you will need to hop on BC Highway 7, affectionately known as “The Sasquatch Highway” on the north side of the Fraser River. A quick search upon arrival in town will point you to a number of dining, lodging and recreation opportunities bearing the Sasquatch name.
One of the most popular activities in Harrison Hot Springs is the Sasquatch Days festival held every June since 1938. The event incorporates salmon barbecues, medicine walks, canoe races, and intercultural sharing with the various Sts’ailes tribal bands in the region.
During the festival, take advantage of the summer dry season for a camping excursion and a chance at spotting the nocturnal giant in the adjacent 3000 acre Sasquatch Provincial Park.
The park, originally created as Green Point Park in 1959, was renamed Sasquatch Provincial Park in 1968 after the numerous sightings reported in the area. If a winter ski and snowboard trip is more up your alley, make the 5 mile trip out of town to Sasquatch Mountain Resort and keep your eye out for footprints in the snow. The Sts’ailes people have petroglyphs on Sasquatch Mountain using red ocher pigment dating back 3,000 7,000 years.
History buffs will want to make the short drive up river to Ruby Creek. This small town is home to one of the most famous Sasquatch sightings in the Fraser Valley and put the area on the map as a hotbed of cryptid activity. In the fall of 1941 First Nations tribal member, Jeannie Chapman, emerged from her cabin in mid-afternoon to hear her children playing outside frightened by an unknown animal. Jeannie scanned the property and saw a large hairy man approximately seven to eight feet tall on the edge of the property. The creature then entered the family’s shed and tore apart a barrel storing salted salmon, devouring and scattering the fish across the property. When her husband George arrived home early that evening after work, he immediately noted the large footprints up to sixteen inches in length next to the structures on the Chapman Cabin 1941 property. A deputy sheriff from across the U.S. – Canada border in Bellingham Washington was called over to investigate the incident. This is one of the only cases where international law enforcement has investigated a Sasquatch sighting.
Sheriff Sketch 1941 - Bellingham, WA
After investigating the Ruby Creek incident, head further east to the small town of Hope B.C. This town has had several sightings at the local garbage dump where individual Sasquatch and even families have been seen scavenging for food. Some have reacted to the sightings as merely being mistaken for bears. But to those who have witnessed the way the animals walked with human-like gaits on two feet, there is no confusion. For a fascinating interview with a local Hope resident who has had multiple encounters, check out the Sasquatch Syndicate Podcast episode with Chuck Geveshausen.
Whether you’re a Sasquatch skeptic or true believer, the Fraser River Valley offers an excellent opportunity to learn about native tradition and folklore as well as reported first hand sightings. The Harrison Lake Hot Springs tourism department even offers tips on either avoiding Sasquatch due to Sosantoglitaphobia (Fear of Sasquatch) or what to do if you have an encounter. The important thing during all visits to the area is to stay calm, enjoy the surroundings, and most importantly!
Research Writer, Sasquatch Syndicate Inc.
Every child attending the American public school system learns of the extraordinary journey undertaken by the Corp of Discovery team under the guidance of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. The exploratory steps into the unknown started in 1804 from Camp Dubois at confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and returned from Fort Clatsop on the mouth of the Columbia River at the Pacific Ocean in 1806. The expedition was put in motion in 1803 by President Thomas Jefferson after negotiating the Louisiana Purchase territory from France.
The land purchase included 812,000 square miles or 512 million acres for a price of $15 million dollars, nearly doubling the size of the United States. The political and cultural ramifications of the purchase and its effect on Native American tribes can be debated, but the economic impact to the United States today makes it one of the greatest land deals in history. The original purchase price of $15 million dollars equates to approximately $320 million adjusted for inflation. The true return on investment for the land and natural resource extraction potential is estimated to be worth well over $1 trillion dollars today.
President Jefferson’s instructions to the thirty three member expedition was to:
1) Determine the existence of a navigable waterway to the Pacific Ocean.
2) Examine the natural resource potential of the land.
3) Evaluate new unknown crop and food sources, and curiously.
4) To document “the animals of the country generally, & especially those not known in the U.S. The remains & accounts of any which may be deemed rare or extinct”. As requested Lewis and Clark kept meticulous journals and had several other members record their observations as well. These journals provided a wealth of knowledge to the public at the time and paint a vivid picture of the unspoiled American West in the early 19th century. Their meticulous attention to detail, discipline and organization provided a roadmap for future exploratory endeavors across the globe.
It is surprising then, that the primary leader and planner, Meriwether Lewis, had significant time gaps in his journal entries at the completion of the expedition. There is a near total void in the Lewis journals from May 14th , 1804 near the start of the expedition until April 7th , 1805 when they left their winter camp at Fort Mandan, North Dakota. The other large gap occurred from August 26, 1805 to January 1, 1806 while traveling over the Continental divide and down the Columbia River in Oregon country. There are numerous theories on the reason for the missing journals. Was Lewis simply lazy and stopped writing? Were the journals lost during an accident on the rivers? Or was there a more sinister, purposeful reason for the lapse in official documentation?
The latter theory is explored by Chuck Geveshausen, and Eric Penz, author of the historical fiction novel, Cryptid: The Lost Legacy of Lewis and Clark during the October 2016 Podcast. The book explores the idea that Lewis did keep meticulous record of his journey but that on their return, it was President Jefferson that omitted the entries and various specimen collections from public record. The premise is that the expedition team had hunted Sasquatch and brought back proof of its existence. Jefferson feared that the public was not yet ready to learn of Sasquatch existence and he worried that commerce and trade in his newly acquired American West would suffer from lack of investment and enthusiasm. The book explores further to suggest that this government censorship and Sasquatch eradication continues today.
It is odd that there is no mention of Sasquatch folklore or legends being passed along to the expedition by the native tribes encountered along the way in any of the journals. The Corp of Discovery passed through and interacted with at least 50 separate tribes and the majority have very similar versions of large, hairy beasts in their cultures. The last half of the route from the Rockies through the Pacific Northwest also has some the highest concentrations of sightings in modern times. The idea that the government may be involved in covering up the existence of Sasquatch may be too far a stretch for some, but one only has to look at other government misinformation acts over the years.
From an article penned by Dr. Jeff Meldrum: “Lewis and Clark wrote in their journals of passing over mountains said to be inhabited by fierce giants, more akin to bears than people, known as the ‘people who wear no moccasins.’ These giants dwelt in caves and among the rocky crags ‘feeding on roots and the flesh of such horses they could take or steal from those who passed through their territory.'”
With continued engagement and presentation of credible scientific observations, we in the private sector can advance necessary changes in perception and create true Sasquatch belief within the public community and demand transparency from government organizations.
Private citizens have made advances in getting Sasquatch existence into acceptance at the legal level as well. In 1969 Skamania County, Washington made it a felony to kill Sasquatch punishable up to $10,000 dollars and five years in prison. The ordinance was subsequently downgraded to a gross misdemeanor in 1984, however it created a one million acre refuge. Whatcom County, Washington also passed a similar refuge bill declaring the entire county a Sasquatch refuge in 1991.
By Kevin Weberling,
Research Writer - Sasquatch Syndicate Inc.