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: