April 6th 2013. 5:30 PM
Elevation 7060 feet
43 degrees. Rained earlier but was clear and sunny by this time.
Our 3rd trip to Timber Canyon in 5 weeks trying to get into the location of a 1977 sighting. We had to turn back about 3 - 4 miles in the 1st two times due to mud and snow.
The 3rd time was the charm. We were staying the weekend at my girlfriends Cedar Mountain Cabin, about 6 miles from the mouth of Timber Canyon. We made it through rain and a few snow flurries Saturday April 6th. We finally found the 77 sighting location after several small hikes. After finding the sighting area, we has come across a lot of deer and elk tracks within the area.
On the way back out of the canyon we stopped to hike down to the creek to check out a beaver dam I could see from the dirt road. As soon as we entered the willows, you could not only hear but you felt a couple of load thumps on the ground like something large with within the area. My 1st thought was a moose so I warned Jenny to be on the lookout for a possible for it but we never did see anything.
Once we crossed the creek near the beaver dam Jenny stated she could smell a rank stench, almost like feces. We started heading north along the creek when Jenny stopped me and pointed out a 17 inch long foot print she had discovered. It was in loose pea like gravel, not something that we felt that we could cast so we took a couple of photos. While looking round for more we did come across one on the opposite bank in the same type of gravel and Jenny spotted the 3rd one down the bank within a foot or so of the running water of the creek.
This 3rd foot print was impressive. It had sunk in roughly 5 inches at the heel and nearly 4 inches near the toes. I weigh 190 pounds and jumping from the two foot embankment near the print I only sunk in 1/2 of an inch. The heel had about 1/2 inch standing water in it more than likely from the rain from earlier. The rain had dilapidated the bottom of the print. We research sighting areas all of the time, yet we never expect to find something. That being said we were both shocked but very excited to have come across the prints.
We didn't have any of our gear, just my camera. So we went back to the vehicle and got our back packs. Returning into the willows I again felt and heard the loud thud! This was a little unnerving this time knowing that there wasn’t any large game about to make this thud. Jenny came down to the creek about 10 minutes behind me. She also was a little freaked out because the thudding happened to her a 2nd time also. I tried to convince her it must be a beaver slapping the ground with its tail, just to sooth her nerves she called bullshit on it right away, something about beavers not being able to make the ground shake with its tail.
Shortly after making it back to the print the birds up in the draw started going crazy and scattering. Something in the draw charged the tree line in our direction. Making a ruckus and breaking branches but never leaving the trees. I watched expecting an elk or a moose to break out into the open, but nothing ever left the trees. It just kept moving around parallel to us making noise and breaking branches here and there.
Nervously we continued documenting, photographing the prints. The foot prints were 17 inches long from heel to the top of the big toe and 7 inches wide almost the entire length. After we felt we had enough photos we then foamed the print knowing we had to stay an hour or more to let it set up.
After setting the cast we hiked up the draw into the trees to see we could get any evidence of what was making the ruckus. After spending 30 or 40 minutes in the draw and finding nothing, we hiked back down to the prints and hung out. Whatever was making all the noise came back to the tree line, started breaking branches and sounded as if it was walking around just outside of sight within the trees? At this point we both were a bit nervous, scared in fact. Jen asked several times to dig the cast up and leave but we stuck with it into the cast was fully dry. After the sun went behind the mountain around 7:30 PM we dug up the foam cast and headed out. As soon as we crossed the creek and left the area the noise within the tree line stopped.