Sunday, November 6, 2011

2011 Oklahoma Expedition

The 2011 Oklahoma Expedition was held in the Southeastern Part of the state in the Ouachita National Forest; an area with a rich history of sasquatch activity.

In total, there were 21 expedition participants. The participants came from OK, TX, AZ, CO, MO, and LA.

The expedition took place in a large valley containing several lakes of various sizes, and many large creeks (most of which yielded little water or were completely dry). Our base camp was located on the northern side of the valley, and was near one of the more sizable lakes. This proved to be quite a location, as the lakes provided some of the only water for local wildlife during this severe drought. During my first scouting trip with expedition participants JD and JT, we saw numerous turkey, deer, and one bobcat in the immediate vicinity of the lake.

I arrived on Wednesday, Sept 7th with LC, Gary Christensen (Texas BFRO Investigator), MG, TB, MC, CG, RD, and KB.

The first night we explored a location on the southern side of the valley where multiple witnesses had reported hearing characteristic sounds and camp stalking. This side of the valley was markedly drier than the north side. Gary Christensen and CG set up a small satellite camp in this area during daylight. Both men were equipped with thermal imagers, and were prepared to document any visitors that ventured near their camp. After dark, the remaining expedition participants and I parked our vehicles over a mile away from the satellite camp and headed to Gary Christensen and CG on foot. We spread out in small groups and made provocational sounds back and forth; coordinating via two-way radios.

Each group had an audio recorder running, but no responses were heard or documented.

Gary Christensen and CG reported no suspected visitors during the night.

--- DAY / NIGHT ONE --

On Thursday, Sept. 8th, the remaining participants began arriving one by one. I started coordinating scout teams and vehicles to drive the surrounding area east of the lake to look for strategic terrain and wildlife sign. Gary Christensen and CG coordinated scouting efforts to the west of the lake.

I scouted a particular area with LC, JT, and RD. We initially discovered a series of two large meadows which were bifurcated by what appeared to be concrete debris; perhaps the remains of a foundation. I have had success in and around meadows like these in other parts of the country, so I knew we could place a team there. Venturing further up the small dirt road, I immediately recognized several terrain features that sasquatches are drawn to and would likely frequent. There were two small spots that we could place team members: one was a small makeshift camp (nicknamed "Loop Camp") tucked in the forest just off the dirt road, and the other (and furthest in) was a small open spot with a ridge to one side and a dry creek bed to the other (nicknamed "Deep Spot"). This was to be referred to as the "East" zone.

The "West" zone consisted of two primary locations: an east-west running road to the north of the lake, and a north-south running powerline cut to the west of the lake.

After the scouting exercise, we returned to base camp for the first group meeting. After a round of introductions, I spoke to the group about why I had selected that particular valley, and what we'd be doing for the first night.

We divided the participants into two main groups: "East" and 'West".

The "East Group" had three locations to occupy. We distributed team members as follows:

"Deep Spot" - Matt Pruitt, LC, MC, BS, MS
"Loop Camp" - MG, TB, MC, RD
"Meadow" - JT, GN, VT

The "West Group" had three locations to occupy. Teams were as follows:

"Powerline" - BE, ME, Sandra MacLemore (Arizona BFRO)
'North Road" - RS, MS, KB
"Six" - JD, JD

Gary Christensen and CG stayed at base camp to survey the area with thermal imagers, relay radio transmissions, and monitor the central area for responses.

We dispersed ourselves quickly and quietly to our respective locations.

As my group arrived at our "Deep Spot" destination, I told the team to be very quiet and listen for subtle sounds. I typically begin my night operations by making very quiet sounds to see if there are any sasquatches in the immediate environment before we begin making loud sounds across the valley. I had instructed the other teams to do the same.

I selected the spot based on the immediate terrain features, and had predicted that if there were sasquatches in the valley, they might be in this spot based on two specific features (which I won't describe here).

As the five of us stood on the dirt road, I began mimicking sasquatch whistles. Within minutes, all five of us began hearing movement from the ridge behind us and the forest in front of us. The movements were methodical and deliberate. Each time, the two "somethings" would move in tandem, and then stop and wait. I'd whistle to them again, and they'd move closer in the same manner.

At one point, the individual in front of us began walking very loudly and directly toward our position. All five of us agreed that it sounded bipedal, and enormous. It was breaking a lot of limbs as it moved, and was certainly not trying to be quiet. When it would stop, I would whistle, and it would continue directly toward us. As it got within ~60 feet of us, I started to wonder if it were going to stop, or if it was going to confront us directly.

All the while, the movement of the second individual behind us continued. It wasn't nearly as loud as the movement in front of us; it was much more subtle and slow.

When the individual in front of us got within ~30 feet of us, it stopped. It is my opinion (based on our findings the following day) that where it stopped would have been the first place where it could have made visual contact with us. It also stopped responding to my whistles. I told the group that if this was indeed a sasquatch, it obviously knew that we were humans, and there was no need to be subversive with it. We had it's attention (and presumably the attention of it's cohort on the ridge), and we should try to hold it's attention. The thing wouldn't move at all when we would look in it's direction, or whistle/whoop to it. We decided to talk and laugh quietly with each other, as if we had forgotten it was there. Each time we did this, we could distinctly hear it moving and relocating.

One of the more dramatic moments of the approach occurred when a truck roared down the main two-lane road in the valley (nearly a mile as the crow flies). As the sounds of the truck echoed through the valley, the individual in front of us made several huge, heavy steps. It was obviously using the road noise to conceal it's movements. The steps were very loud, thudding steps. All five of us were very impressed by that point; whatever approached us was very large, and very heavy.

After spending several minutes trying to elicit responses to no avail, we decided to walk further up road in hopes that the stalking creatures would follow us. Just a few yards up the road, MS (the adolescent son of BS) stated that he was starting to get cold. We stopped in the road, and LC took off her pack to retrieve a thick shirt to put on MS. She stood up quickly to hand the shirt to MS, and a loud knock came from the ridge directly behind us. LC described it as sounding like "Babe Ruth hitting a home run".

At this point, all five of us were convinced that we were interacting with two sasquatches.

We continued trying to elicit more movement or responses, but didn't have any further success. We decided to slowly walk back to the meadow in hopes that the sasquatches would follow us.

The five of us were very excited, and I was hopeful that we could interact with the sasquatches in this section of the valley again.

-- DAY / NIGHT TWO --

The "Deep Spot" team members and I went back to the spot (which will be referred to as "Approach Location" from now on) to look for sign. We were able to competently ascertain the path that the approaching sasquatch took. It had apparently used the dry creek bed to approach us. There were subtle signs of movement, as well as an older tree-twist which was very interesting. My friends in the research community will tell you that I don't put much stock into "stick-structures" or "forest manipulation", but this twist was very compelling. It was not created by snow or ice load.

Gary Christensen and CG lead a group from base camp into the "East Zone" on foot following a separate dry creek bed. They located a large pond surrounded with fresh wildlife sign.

My group eventually met up with them in a small meadow just to the northwest of the "Approach Location". The meadow was adjacent to a series of horse trails which provided excellent paths for us to move along quietly at night. We had seen several intriguing spots within the zone where we could place teams.

The previous night's events, coupled with the compelling sign we found during the day suggested that we use all of the available expedition participants to conduct operations in this "East Zone".

The teams for Night Two were as follows:

"Meadow/Horse Trail" - Matt Pruitt, JT, RD, KB, ME
"Pond" - Gary Christensen, CG, GN, BE
"Female Team" - Sandra MacLemore, RS, MS, VT
"Mobile Team" - JD, JD
"Creek Crossing" - BS, MS, MG, TB, MC

The teams heard and recorded several interesting (but distant) responses. The responses were of an ambiguous nature. No participants were approached, and no definitive sounds were heard or documented.

-- DAY / NIGHT THREE --

Fearing that the first night's encounter had encouraged the resident sasquatches to move to a different section of the valley, I decided to scout to the west of our initial location for any potentially viable locations.

JT, BS, MS, MC and I found a beautiful remote lake in a different section of the valley. The lake was large and creek-fed, surrounded with smaller ponds. We saw an abundance of wildlife sign there. Moreover, there was an intersection of horse trails nearby that allowed us to access the surrounding forest.

The expedition participants focused our efforts there for the final night. Upon arriving and dispersing, we heard a few ambiguous (and suggestive) sounds. As was the case on the previous night, we weren't able to elicit any approaches or responses. Constant scanning with multiple thermal imagers showed no signs of large mammals either.

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There were a great many lessons learned on the expedition, and I'll be adding to these notes in the future. There are several interesting sound files that participants captured, and we're all still in the process of reviewing them and preparing them for release online.

The weather was wonderful, and the location was truly gorgeous. This was the fifth BFRO expedition that I have organized, and I was very impressed by all of the first-time participants. I certainly feel like I have a new batch of friends and field partners.

I'd also like to express my tremendous gratitude to Gary Christensen and Sandra MacLemore for traveling from out of state to help during the expedition. You are both incredible researchers, and the BFRO is lucky to have you both involved.



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To discuss the 2011 Oklahoma Expedition, please visit this thread on the BFRO's Public Forum.

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