Over the years I have spent countless hours in the woods hunting, camping or just reconnecting with Mother Earth and her other children. On several occasions my purpose was to inspect an area where a Bigfoot had been seen or simply to introduce a city-slicker friend to the great outdoors. In the course of these experiences, I have learned much and will attempt to share those lessons that apply to those who wish to visit an area hoping for either a glimpse of a Sasquatch or finding evidence of his presence.
The preparation begins at home, before you embark on your search. First, have an honest conversation with yourself about your physical condition and how much of a walk you are capable of without wearing out. Remember, every mile you walk, unless you are on a looping path, requires walking a mile back. It is also vital to let someone know where you are going and when you should be back, so if you get lost or injured, help will know where to look.
Dress in soft-soled shoes and clothing that will make the least noise as you move and brush against vegetation, avoiding bright colors. It is unlikely that you will actually go unnoticed by any woodland creatures, but someone moving as quietly as possible will always see more than someone making a ruckus. Stick to a trail to avoid the noise of pushing through brush.
The most common mistake newbies to the forest make is assuming that the more ground they cover the better their chances of success will be. They take off down a trail like they were speed walking through a city park and come out thinking there is nothing there but a few common birds and squirrels. Enjoyable, yes, but the chances of seeing a creature who has been described as “the reigning hide and seek champion” are less than the odds of winning the lottery. A much slower pace makes it possible to be far quieter and to notice a great deal more of what is around you. Get into the habit of stopping frequently to simply look around carefully, concentrating on becoming aware of motion. On numerous occasions I have seen the flick of an ear and discovered it belonged to a beautiful deer standing motionless and nearly invisible in the brush only a short distance away.
Use your other senses as well. Listen for the quiet sounds that can easily go unnoticed or be lost in the sound of your own movement but can be detected while standing quietly, as well as noting any unusual odors. Bigfoot is known, to be blunt, for having body odor that is almost putrid.
It is even productive to sit down on a handy log or soft bed of grass and simply view your surroundings in a leisurely fashion for several minutes. It will not only make you more likely to notice elements of your surroundings in greater detail, but the quiet created by not walking will soon bring out more critters who no longer view you as a potential threat.
Finally, do not get your hopes up to the point of considering your quest a failure if you do not see a Bigfoot or at least some definitive sign of his or her presence. I have been roaming the woods since I was old enough to go on hikes with mom and dad, and I turned 64 last month. I have yet to see one.
As an investigator/researcher on the other hand, I have seen several signs that were evidence of one being present recently. I will get into what those indications might be and how to identify them in the second of this two-part column, but I received an email just hours ago that I am following up on and, if it pans out, that incident will be covered this week and the second installment of this one will be posted in two weeks. It seems that there has been a recent sighting of a UFO on the ground with an occupant seen beside it within the Heartland. As the old serials used to close, “Tune in next week!”