Friday, January 17, 2014

Sasquatch Spring

Chirping, twittering, singing, song birds serenaded Chris whilst he warmed up a pot of water for coffee and oatmeal.  Still in his sleeping bag, half protruding from his tent, the morning sun burned through the sequoias in a hazy eastern dawn.  Bolstered by the warm illuminating forces of our closest star Chris chuckled at last night's paranoia.  Caffeine surged through his veins and a plan began to formulate:  No one ever finds him, he finds you.  Rummaging through his gear, Chris located his trail cam and checked that the batteries had juice and the memory card had space.  He strapped it to a tree overlooking his camp and camouflaged it as best he could with pine boughs he slipped between the straps, careful not to block the flash, trigger or lens.
The skeptics popular argument:  With all of these game cameras in the woods, why don't we have some clear pictures? -Is a decent one.  Though there are a few shots of dark, fat fingers and even two decent photos of a gangly adolescent sniffing some bear bait in Pennsylvania, no one has hit the jackpot yet with an indisputable shot of an adult, complete with facial features.  Maybe, as some conjecture, the camera emits some sort of low frequency sound that is alarming to biggie, or maybe they are just intimately familiar with their own living rooms and shy away from any new and unexplained "packages" in their territory.  Much like a flight attendant might flee from and subsequently report an unmanned backpack in an airport terminal.  In any case, Chris was out here to beat the odds and, just like you can't bag game if you don't go out and hunt them, one cannot catch anything in a trap if it isn't set.  So Chris gathered a day pack full of belongings and headed for the top of Castle Crags, the highest peak in the marble mountains, and left his camera and a sprinkling of hope behind at his base camp.
Heading off at a familiar clip, eating up ground at a pace that wouldn't break a sweat, Chris gained elevation and a new outlook with every step.  The trail bissected a boulder field and then wove it's way through a heavily forested draw, spitting him out again in more alpine terrain, his view spreading out and growing.  As he  marched he recalled the video he had watched over and over on youtube.  The video that brought him here and rekindled his confidence that a hairy apeman could be delivered safely into the context of rational conversation.
What is seen in the video is an outing for kids who are mentally handicapped but obviously fit enough for a trek into the high country with their supervisors.  The footage begins with the counselor narrating for the folks at home as he pans over what appears to be a bigfoot's shelter.  He comments on the materials used to create the structure and the fact that no sharp object appears to have cut the branches limbs and boughs that make up the tidy A frame shelter.  Whatever made it appears to have used an abundance of brute strength to crack off limbs over 6" across.  In the background one of the students blurts out that the owner is returning or something to that effect and for the remainder of the video we watch a very tall, upright creature with long arms meander down the spine of castle crags, skylined atop a towering peak.  How tall is unclear until a re-enactment shows it had to have been upwards of eight or nine feet.  The narrator notes the creatures agitated behavior and puts words in the Squatches mouth as it were, "Get out of my camp, Get out of my camp!"  Comments ranged from seriously skeptic to convinced but what stuck with Chris was the gait of the mystery camper.  The arms swung down near the knees and the head attached to the shoulders directly.  It's knees seemed perpetually bent as it stooped down the steep slope.
Chris had chosen his campsite carefully based on what he could glean from the footage and now he hoped to reach the area where the creature had stood.  Calves and thighs protested with an intense burn now and he paused to take in the scenery.  An intense vertigo overwhelmed him as he turned to face downslope.  A gently breeze rocked him like a seasickness as the panoramic abyss threatened to swallow him whole.  He marveled at the landscape.  Hundreds of thousands of acres here and more than the eye could see constituted a territory few modern humanoids could even comprehend and yet most "expert skeptics" are convinced there is nowhere for an as yet underdiscovered animal to hide.  If only he could drag them here for one look.  One taste of this native anthropoids home turf and possible seems more plausible than impossible.
Suckling from his bladder in between gulps of too thin-scratchy alpine air, he returned to the mission at hand:  reach the tree from the video and then literally reach for the limb.  The one the silhouette walks under without ducking, creating a perfect frame of reference for Chris to see for himself just what kind of height range the creature belongs in.  The cluster of trees grew larger with each step and he approached the last few paces cautiously.  The last sip of a fine chardonnay.  The closer he got the  more he doubted what he was seeing and then he was under the exact limb.  It had to be as the cluster was made up of only five altitude defiant trees and this, the one on the right was easy to pick out.  Chris reached his hand to it's full height of 7 feet and felt like he did as a point guard in high school, small.  The limb was perched at about the same height as a regulation basketball hoop putting the creature convincingly, at least to Chris, in the 9-10 foot range!
While it's plausible that a 7 foot man could have hoaxed or colluded to hoax the video, climbing 1000 extra feet to become a youtube anomaly.  But to do it on stilts becomes a circus act of epic proportions.  Highly, highly unlikely if not impossible.  Chris shook his head and sat down to admire the world from his perch sans vertigo.
Later, from the peak, Chris pulled out his spotting scope and glassed the valley below.  Even with 25 power glass, his tent was only a small grey speck in the tableu of alpine habitat.  He wondered what the creature was thinking as he paced agitatedly from this crows nest.  He also realized how easily the creature had traversed the treacherous terrain.  Every one of Chris's steps was calculated and accompanied with the real fear of falling to his death.  The film subject sauntered down the mountain like a neighbor retrieving his newspaper from the driveway.  Whereas before the Marble Mountains footage was intriguing to Chris, it was now convincingly legit.  No question an agitated squat had been here, would probably return and was very likely in the vicinity at this very moment.  Possibly it was watching him plod along right now.

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