Friday, November 20, 2015

October 10th camping trip report.

The Last Bluff Creek Trip of The Season

I left Orick around noon and took Bald Hills Rd to Weitchpec. On the way to camp I stopped at Big Bar campground/boat launch on the Klamath River to let my dog swim for a bit. After some swimming and sun we headed up to Orleans and on to Bluff Creek. We arrived at Louse Camp around 4pm and the Maple Trees were turning yellow and red which made the creek and the fairy pond look really pretty so I took a lot of photos. There were a few tents up but nobody was around. Robert, Rowdy and Mike Meraz had hiked into Deer Lick Lake around 3pm and removed the camera at the lake. They didn't have a key to the lock so they just removed the whole camera and hiked out. Robert cast a few bear tracks around the lake.

Somebody left us a present on the picnic table at Louse Camp.

My ride in left about 6pm and left me alone in camp until the guys got back from Deer Lick. They showed up around 6:30 and it started to rain a bit, it was pretty cold as well. We all waterproofed camp and setup a shelter over the picnic table. We opened some beer and hung out around the campfire after the rain stopped around 8pm. Steve showed up with his friend Mike W around 9pm. Mike W is a notable skeptic and a Patterson-Gimlin film researcher. He was a really cool guy and he joined in the campfire conversation with ease. Rowdy brought some wine and fancy 22oz bottle of craft beer so we had a good time talking Bigfoot around the fire. I was getting married the following weekend so it was a bit on a Bigfoot bachelor party. I was told they had hired patty to provide the night entertainment but she didn't show up. C'est la vie!

Kipp has been teaching me how to take a proper selfie.
The next morning we headed out to the film site. We had been meaning to do some trail maintenance down there for a while so we brought a chainsaw to clear some of the logs from the historic trail. Over time the historic trail had become overgrown, forcing people to boonie-crash through the alder thickets. By maintaining the historic trail we hope to keep people from trampling all over the place.We cleared about 300' of trail from large fallen alder logs and arranged the logs on either side of the trail. This way we hope to minimize damage to the forest. After about 300' the trail merges with the social trails and heads toward the end of the gravel bar. This is the "ankle breaker" segment that trails up the rockslide a bit. From there you need to just hike up the creek 1/4 mile to the filmsite.

Copying data to our mobile unit.
After working on the trail we headed to the PG filmsite to service the cameras. This took a long time. We removed a few of the cameras in July to diagnose malfunctions so there were only three left running at the filmsite. The "North Site" camera, the "South Site" camera, and the newly installed "Razorback camera" which was a brand new Bushnell Aggressor installed during the July trip. We had packed in four cameras to install at the film site: two Bushnell Essential cams, a Moultrie A5, and the Moultrie Panoramic 150. This brought us back up to seven camera running at the film site for the winter.

Film site cameras:

Razorback Camera: A 2015 Bushnell Aggressor overlooking the gravel bar just to the west of the filmsite.

2) The North Site Camera: On the the north end of the PG film site between Patty and the big tree in frame 352.

3) The South Site Camera: Bolted to an alder on the cutbank above the trail on the south side of the filmsite looking north.

4) The West Site Camera: This is a new camera location we are trying out. It's on a tree on the west side of the film site looking east toward patty at frame 352.
The film site looking west, we stash our gear he while we work.
5) The East Site Camera: We tried this position a couple years ago and it was pretty successful. It's on the East side of the site looking west.

The Creek Camera: We reinstalled the panoramic camera in a new position. Hopefully it will get better shots than it did last year.

7) The Bowling Alley Camera: Rowdy installed this camera looking out over the bowling alley. We used an A5 to test this position. Battery life is only three months on this camera.

The Rocky Plug, location of the Marten sighting
A motley Crew! From left to right:
Steven Streufert, Robert Leiterman, Jamie Wayne, Rowdy Kelley
We took a long time to installed the cameras and it was approaching 5:00 when we started to hike out. Mike W had been working with Robert and Steve taking measurements to confirm some of his sun angle calculations. This took up a bit of time but was worth it. Once we got to the bat boxes Rowdy had to leave to head home. Mike W, Steve, Robert, and I continued west to the Plug and MK Davis site. It was starting to get dark at this point. We installed a new camera at the plug looking downstream. This camera is a gamble, we might lose it if the creek floods but the shots will be awesome. We repositioned the Plug camera with negative angle  to look down on the gravel bar where we caught the Humboldt Marten. We serviced the west plug camera as well and fortified the bear box. Unfortunately after reviewing video from this camera (back at camp) we found that the shot angle was crap and looks down the creek where nothing is likely to walk to trigger it. Robert and Steve went to service the MK Davis site camera. When they came back Robert wasn't sure he had set it right since it was a new camera with different settings menu. At this point it was approaching 7pm and getting dark. We thought it best that Steve and Mike W hike out ahead of Robert and I while we hiked back to the MK Davis site to check the settings on the camera. I inputted the proper settings and we started to hike out. This is when we noticed that we were at the location of the famous MK Davis "croucher" video. I took a short video on my iPhone to poke fun at the absurdity of MK Davis's claims.

When we finally got to the trucks it was about 8pm and pitch dark. When we got back to Louse Camp we were called out by Mike Meraz for taking so long and not checking in. We had kinda forgotten about him and he thought we had died since it had been dark for hours and we weren't responding on the radio. We are going to work on a better emergency plan for next time to better stay in communication.

We hung out at camp for a while and reviewed the camera footage. We caught some cool stuff. I'll post it below when I get around to uploading it all. Steve and Mike W headed out about midnight leaving just myself, Robert, and Mike Meraz. In the morning Mike headed out early and Robert and I headed out around noon after we cleaned up camp. We drove over the Bald Hills and he dropped me off in Orick about 2:30pm on Monday. Overall it was a very productive trip. We were more focused on doing work and camera maintenance instead of "squatching" so the trip felt a bit rushed, but it felt good to get everything done before the rains hit.

Watch for the Videos Soon!

The Portal to SOHA at Louse Camp...

Monday, September 7, 2015

The once extinct Humboldt Marten captured by one of our Bigfoot trail cameras

Humbodlt Marten

We are pleased to announce that we have captured an image of a cryptid Humboldt Marten Martes caurina humboldtensis. The animal was once thought to have been extinct up until 1996 when one was photographed.

Truth be told we have been catching glimpses of them for years. Our cameras are set about two feet off of the ground and the triggers are not set to fire on small animals. The only reason we captured this one is because the camera had malfunctioned. We had rushed in to Bluff Creek last October after filming the Lenny Green music video (Patty where are you now). I knew this might be out last shot to visit the film site since the gates were closing soon. I convinced Robert Leiterman and Steven Streufert to hike in with me in the dark to service the MK Davis site camera and the Plug camera, and also install two brand new units I has recently purchased.

Marten in the snow.

We hiked in and then went to the Plug camera first then dropped our packs. We swapped out the MK Davis site camera and installed a new 2015 Bushnell Agressor cam. We serviced the Plug camera and had one more Bushnell Agressor to install. I decided that we should just install the new camera adjacent to the Plug camera. We strapped it to a tree and leveled it with a stick with haste.

Robert and I setting up the camera mid October 2014

While I serviced the Plug camera I had Robert setup the new one and secure it to a tree. He was unfamiliar with this new model camera and failed to set it to record video. The date was also reset since we swapped out the batteries, it is off by about eight months.  It was set to its default setting which was high sensitivity. Over the next six months it recorded 1,232 images occupying 8.40gb of memory. The first two months were the most productive but after the creek filled it was mostly pictures of the flowing water.

Cinnamon colored Black Bear

I retrieved the camera in late June of 2015 and check the photos. I saw that it had taken thousands and scanned a few in the field, I never thought much of them. It's been a busy summer for me working in Redwoods National Park so I hadn't gone through all the still photos. I started working on it last week and I noticed the Marten. It was pretty clear this time so I think it is best to get the word out to the scientific community.

Here is some footage of a Fisher Marten for comparison. Taken at the Patterson-Gimlin film site:

Typical Black Bear 

Our only potential Bigfoot photo. This one is likely a bear.

A good looking bird fishing for fingerlings.

Likely a Marten

Looks about the size of a Marten

Monday, August 31, 2015

July 9th-12th camping trip report.

Thursday July 9th:
     We left Orick around 2pm and drove over the scenic Bald Hills to Weitchpec. It was supposed to be pretty warm but it started raining once we were up on the ridge. We proceeded up highway 96 to the GO rd and continued on to Louse Camp. We arrived around 5pm and found Robert and Kipp taking shelter under a canopy shelter. Kipp had his new CAMPCHEF stove setup and was preparing to cook up some food. It was still raining heavily. We setup our canopy shelter near the campfire and thought it best to try and get one going. We talked about our thoughts on the trip and decided that Friday might be best for a trip to service the cams on upper Deer Lick Lake and Twin Lakes. We stayed up until around midnight drinking beer and root beer schnapps.
Kipp investigating a gift left at the campground by an inquisitive Bigfoot.

Friday July 10th:
     We had decided that we would spend the day servicing the cameras at Upper Deer Lick Lake. We got a late start and spent the morning going through equipment and setting up gear. At around 11am we left the camp site and drove to upper Deer Lick Lake and were met with a downed tree Blocking the road.

     We continued our trip and serviced the camera on the abandoned ridge road. We observed a good looking bobcat on the camera that had been captured a few weeks prior. Below is a video of the animal. Bobcats are pretty rare up here. We observe about one bobcat for every ten mountain lions.

     Mosquito Lake was our next destination where we looked for animal tracks The mud surrounding the lake is prime for registering tracks and casts from there make excellent souvenirs. We found several excellent tracks and cast three.We then made it to Twin Lakes and pulled all of the trail cameras. The camera at the East lake had been malfunctioning so we removed it and it's housing. We upgraded the bolts securing the camera at the bear wallow on the west lake and replaced the memory card. We then proceeded to head back to Mosquito Lake to collect the casts that had been drying.

Steve Streufert, Kipp Morril, Robert Leiterman, Mike Meraz, and Mark Zoulas from Left to Right
We headed back to Louse Camp at around 5pm and met up with Steven Streufert, Mike Meraz and Mark who were waiting for us in camp.

Mike Meraz and Mark Zoulas were in Law enforcement but are now retired. Mike has been coming to the area since the 1970s and he and Bigfoot researcher Howard Walker was originally taken to the PG film site by Rene Dahinden in the 1980s. He was a friend of Rene Dahinden as well. He brought with him a selection of photos and letters from his personal archive which he inherited from Howard Walker. This included an early copy of the Patterson-Gimlin film that was made by the late John Erik Beckjord.

One of Rene Dahinden's letters from the archive.

Original photo of Rene Dahinden by Mike.

Robert Leiterman chatting with Mike over an old photo album

Kipp reading one of Rene's letters
Kipp taught me how to take selfies.

Telegram from Beckjord to Howard Walker.
Some Beckjord blobsquatches
Mike's copy of the Patterson Film. One of two copies made by Beckjord from Patricia Patterson's original copy.

Steve Streufert, Jamie Wayne, Robert Leiterman, Mike Meraz, Mark Zoulas, and Kipp Merril.

After a few hours of campfire stories we crashed out at about 12pm.

Saturday July 11th:

Kipp Morril had learned of family tragedy after making a phone call and decided to head home early, he left around 9am. In the morning we had planned to go to the film site but since we had already been there a few weeks prior we decided to investigate the area known as Elk Valley. I had not been there before and I thought it might be a good place to install a trail camera. We ran into Rowdy on the drive to Elk Valley and he followed us up there. We hiked up the north end of the valley and installed a single Reconyx camera. We hiked out and hung out by the cars sharing more Bluff Creek stories. I headed home early due to family obligations and left the group to spend Saturday night with themselves at Louse Camp. I received word that everyone headed out early on Sunday after a long night of campfire stories at Louse Camp.
Steve posing in front of his Sasquatch research vehicle
Rowdy in Elk Valley
Robert in Elk Valley
Port Oreford Cedar in Louse Camp with an interesting message painted on it

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bluff Creek is closed indefinitely due to fire. The creek might burn along along with a few of our cameras in the next few days. I'm confident that our brush clearing efforts and steel bear boxes will protect the cameras sufficiently to preserve the memory cards. Currently we have eight cameras that will likely be destroyed should the fire reach the creek. We should have some great HD video of the PG film site burning. I'm thankful we were able to survey it in time. We will rebuild!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Mountain Lion compilation

I've been meaning to do this for a while. Here is all of our mountain lion footage.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Film site at last!

     We had a pretty successful first trip to the PG site. We took a family down there who had donated a camera to the project to help install it. We serviced the cameras and installed a couple new bear boxes but we did have some problems. At the PG site we had two catastrophic camera failures, at "The Plug" one of the cams had the wrong settings resulting in 3000 still photos of the ground, the MK Davis site camera was missing it's SD card, and one of the junction cameras (cheap Moultrie) failed to record anything. Overall, the outing was a success and all of the other camera worked perfectly. I haven't reviewed all the footage yet but we have a few really nice shots of cougars traversing the PG film site, but no Bigfoots. :-(

Beginning of the day:

     We started out the day early in Orick. Dani and I left at about 8am and proceeded to rendezvous with Robert Leiterman and the Price family at the Willow Creek Museum. We met up at about 10:30 and walked about the museum for a bit. I met Patty one of the curators and talked about our camera project. I offered to try and raise some donations for the museum on our next crowdfunding campaign and perhaps maybe contribute some of our work to the displays. Robert and the Price family headed up to the film site while Dani and I headed to Bigfoot Books to pick up Steve. We made it up to the berm around noon.

The Family:

Robert Leiterman:

Steven Streufert:

The Hike Down:
     After about 20 minutes of camera prepping I realizes that I had forgotten my screwgun so I would not be able to properly install the three new bear boxes that I had brought. I found a few 3" screws and a screwdriver that would be able to attach the boxes to the trees but it's not as good as the 4" lag bolts I had hoped to use. The hike down was without incident. There were no new rockfalls or debris in the trail from winter storms, although the trail has become overgrown in recent years. We did notice that just past the big washout the two downed trees that we used to walk under had been cut with a saw and discarded. More on this later... We arrived down at the bat boxes in good time and started to head up the creek on the trail. About halfway to the film site we noticed a large bird kill. It appears that an own had been predated and had all its feathers ripped out. I'm not sure what animal did this.

We pushed on on and arrived at the film site. We saw a few bear and deer tracks along the sand bars and I found one shoe track which notified us that we were not the first to hike in this year. Upon reviewing the trail camera footage the was a group that was at the site on 6-17-2015.

Camera Servicing:
     I pulled the five cameras that we had at the film site and started to review the footage on my laptop. I immediately noticed a few problems. Two of the cameras had malfunctioned, The HD "37" had worked fine for two months then it had just continuously taken footage for two days straight and filled up the SD card and drained the batteries, and the 8mp "36" camera had just recorded continuously for three days after it was deployed. The two blacked out HD cams worked flawlessly and recorded some of our best footage. The panoramic Moultrie camera had performed better than expected, the batteries were only supposed to last two months but they lasted the whole eight. I suspect that since it had alkaline cells they shut down when it was too cold which conserved power.

Vandalism To The Patterson-Gimlin Film Site:
     Upon visiting the "Big Tree" we noticed that something was very wrong. Someone had cut down the vine maples that were original to the PG film. They can be seen in the background with their bright red broad leaves. They have been cut amaturely and roughly about three feet from their base which left a disturbing row of unsightly bare snags. The limbs were felled and left on the ground in front of the tree. Needless to say we are shocked at this and would like to remind people not to cut, remove, or modify anything that is visible in the original film.

At The Base of The Big Tree:

New Camera Install:
     The Price family had donated a new camera to install down at the site so we had them help find a location and install it. Their son found a suitable spot and we were able to secure it and the bear box to a tree. The site is ideal and views a long open sandbar. This site will no doubt prove fruitful in the coming months.

Servicing the Plug and MK Davis Cams:
     We hiked back to the bat boxes and the Price family headed back out with Steven Streufert to wait for us at the berm. We continued down the creek to "The Plug" which is a large rocky outcrop in the creek. We had two cameras here. The Plug camera had performed well and recorded throughout the winter. The second camera was setup quickly in the dark in October 2014 and unfortunately was programmed with incorrect settings. It was set to default still "camera" mode, and set to "fullscreen". It was a nice new HD Bushnell that should have been set to HD video mode in widescreen. It did manage to take about 3000 pictures of mostly raccoons other small critters. It was also somewhat haphazardly installed on the tree and faced down slightly which ruins the shot and decreases the trigger range drastically. I installed it downstream about 20meters from the plug in a bear box that was screw to an alder with a 3" screw. I made sure it had the correct settings and an SD card. Unfortunately I didn't have a lock for it.

 Camera attached to tree:

View from the camera:
Robert and Dani went to service the MK Davis camera at the "gifting altar" (built by unknown persons in June 2014). That camera was missing the SD card. I had logged that one had been installed (a 32gb Sony card) but it is possible that it was just never installed. It is also possible (more likely) that the card was removed by unknown persons not wishing to be on camera. That camera was not in a bear box and anyone could have taken it.

The Hike Out:
     We proceeded to hike upstream to the bat boxes. We then started up the hill to service the "Junction" cameras. We removed and packed up the Moultrie A5 since it had no bear box and was not secure. We serviced the junction camera and replaced the SD card. We then hiked owt to the berm and met up with the rest of out group. I was getting late to the Price family and Robert headed out while we finished packing up. We stopped to take a picture of the newly installed and (in my humble opinion) goofy looking "BIGFOOT WORLD HERITAGE SITE" sign. We are against the posting of such signs and do not know who placed it there. It used to have a large sign that said "DO NOT REMOVE BIGFOOT BAIT". We have never seen any Bigfoot bait at the site.

Pizza and Beer!:
     We decided to meet up at the Pizza Factory in Willow Creek for a beer and to review the footage. We managed to go through about 30% of the footage before the battery in my laptop quit. We said our goodbyes and headed back to Orick. We got home around 11:30pm. Not a bad trip!

Monday, June 1, 2015

5-24-2015 Trip Report, Gate Closed!!

High Hopes:
Upon return from my vacation I messaged the crew and called Robert to see if anyone was up for a last minute trip to the film site to check the gate and possibly service the cameras. It has been raining pretty steady here that last few weeks and we were skeptical that the 12N13 (Louse Camp Rd) gate would be unlocked. Robert headed up about 10:30 and I left about 12:00 from Orick. The plan was to try and meet at the gate at 2:00, and if the gate was open we would then rendezvous at the film site, but if the gate was closed then we would meet at Mosquito Lake to check for tracks.


Upon arrival at the gate I discovered it was closed and locked. A small cairn was erected which signified that Robert had been there before me and moved on to Mosquito Lake. I drove about five miles down 12N12 (Cedar Camp Rd) and met up with Robert at the Deer Lick Lake rd. He was driving his new squatching rig a FJ Cruiser with winch. We drove on to mosquito and that gate was locked as well. We hiked in to the lake about 3/4mile down the road past the gate. The water was up and no suitable mud was around the late that could support tracks. We spotted some faint bear and cat tracks on the road. We hiked out and back to the trucks, then proceeded to drive out.

New Friends!
On our drive out from Mosquito Lake we encountered a toyota pickup with three people in it, the plates were from Oregon. We were cautious at first thinking they were poachers at first but then after some prodding we realized they were there to go to Bluff Creek to the PG film site. Their names were Doug, Yogi, and Stephen. We talked for a bit and relayed the info about the gate being closed and invited them up to Twin Lakes with us to check the cameras. We rendevoused at Twin Lakes and met some more people who were at the lake to see flowers and birds. Their names were Leanne, Robert, Alan, and Toni. Steven Streufert and his friend showed up and hung out for a bit. After chatting it up we serviced the cams on the west lake. I borrowed an SD card from Robert Leiterman as I had forgotten the spare cards. We serviced the Bear Wallow camera with fresh batteries, SD card, and replaced the broken bear box and lock. We then removed the 7mp Bushnell camera and packed it out. I didn't want to leave out any cams that weren't in bear boxes. We all left and headed home around 6pm.

Here is the HD video from the Bear Wallow Camera:

Here are the still shots from the Bear Wallow Camera: