OK, here’s a question for all of you outdoor adventure-type thrill seekers, hunters and explorers. During winters like the one we just had with mondo amounts of snow and cold, does Bigfoot (aka, Sasquatch) change fur colors to all-white like snowshoe hares and weasels?
I know, right? A totally legit question and I’ve certainly spent literally tens of minutes wondering what one would look like. As usual, I put the question to some of my school kids who mostly responded with “wait, rabbits turn different colors in the winter?” It’s no wonder no one sees the Easter Bunny in Cache Valley. (Note to self: revisit the science unit on animal adaptations.)
One of my favorite reading units to go through with my class is titled “Mysteries and the unexplained,” which covers everything from The Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, UFO’s and, my personal favorite, “Where is Jimmy Hoffa and Hunter’s laptop”?
All true mysteries for sure.
Urban legends, folklore, tall tales and strange occurrences have always been popular subjects to study and puzzle over. I’ve written more than a few columns in the past on these subjects.
As we research each of the mysteries and unexplained events mentioned above (except the last few), the kids start developing a profile on each of the creatures, critters and entities they are studying, just like detectives do. They record the different facts and evidence that have been collected and studied and use it to base an opinion as to whether these legends truly exist.
When we first learned about Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster, many of the kids came up with the same initial questions that scientists and amateur novice sleuths alike have asked for hundreds of years and added them to their profiles and began looking at the evidence. I had one student who raised his hand and excitedly mentioned that his cousin had been to Loch Ness and had even sampled some water from the Loch only to follow up with “yeah, he got bad diarrhea.”
Ah, yes, the price of scientific research.
We’re currently formulating profiles on Bigfoot and exploring some of the eyewitness testimonies and inconclusive scientific evidence that keeps coming back to verdicts of “unidentifiable animal sounds” and “unidentifiable animals.” Pretty much keep an open mind kind of conclusions.
I think I’ve mentioned before the photos my friend Jed Packer sent me when he discovered a cave in one of our local canyons that had all the “squatchy” earmarks of being a Yeti yurt, complete with small animal bones and raising more questions than answers.
After my article on Bigfoot came out in the paper a few years ago, I received a letter in the mail at school from a guy who said, “you and I are what we call Cryptologists.” All these years I’ve never had a clue I was one, hah! He recounted several experiences of family members who had seen the elusive beast in Idaho as well as Utah and knew its existence to be factual. He added: “And they don’t drink!”
More than 50 years of camping and being outdoors, I’ve heard lots of things that go bump in the night but have never heard any of the eerie “hooting” and guttural screams of the Sasquatch that “Bobo” and his companions hear on the show “Finding Bigfoot.”
On overnight scouting trips we used to sneak across the canyon from the camp at night and pull a piece of wet baling twine through the lid of an empty five gallon can; the resulting noise resembled a warthog being dragged through a woodchipper, enough to ensure everyone in camp piling into one tent for the evening.
I cut out a nine-foot silhouette of an apelike creature and put it on the front wall of the classroom for the kids to stand by and compare their heights to that of eyewitness accounts of Bigfoot’s stature. It is hard to believe there could be something bigger and taller than Old Ephraim wandering about the Wasatch Front, although plaster casts of footprints of the creature are reportedly almost as big as Shaquille O’Neal and Mark Eaton’s shoes.
Cache Valley has our very own website dedicated to reporting Bigfoot encounters, sightings and eyewitness accounts right here in our neck of the woods. The latest posting suggests Bigfoot was hanging about the campground up at Tony Grove, which is really weird because if it were a summer sighting it would be almost impossible for Mr. Sasquatch to get a good spot in the campground to hang out in, much less the parking lot by the restrooms.
When my two oldest boys were young, I took them with me on a deer-hunting excursion above the cliffs around Tony Grove Lake. We didn’t see any signs of Bigfoot but did get trailed by a mountain lion that was just as scary.
About a third of my class said they believe that Bigfoot exists; others said they do not, and the rest are on the fence about the whole thing. I like to keep an open mind on the matter, and, in fact, I’d start keeping a sharp eye out if I were you when traversing Logan Canyon at night. I’m pretty sure that the giant snowman up there off the side of the road is “Squatchy”
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