The Ledgend of Bigfoot (Draft)

The Inuit
21 Thousand Years Ago.

Ten year old Nanuchka snuggled deeper into the great cave bear’s pelt. Not so much for warmth; but more as if to hide from the sight of the medicine man Achinoc and especially the sight of his father Yakut. The flickering fire dimly revealed the features of those huddled in the hut. A hut which was nothing more than a shallow hole and a small log wall; covered with mud caulked sticks. Only the smallest opening at one end let out as much smoke from the fire as the draft permitted. Crude it was, but this was the largest building of all the clans of the Chukis, and the only one large enough where the clan leaders, perhaps 15 in all, could meet at once.

Crude as it was this was the largest building of all the clans of the Chukis, and the only one where the leaders, perhaps 15 in all, could meet at once. Nanuchka should not have been there and did his best to remain silent and small so as not to be noticed. He watched Oogork, leader of the Yumsk, a clan living a few miles up the valley, rise to speak.

Great concern was revealed in features of Oogork, though Nanuchka felts sure he could see fear in the eyes of some of the others gathered round.

“We must leave.” stated Oogork addressing them all, “The mammoth and caribou no longer are to be found. Our children hunger. Our women have no skins from which to make clothing. We must not stay here another year. For if we wait none of us will survive the next long-night.”

Yakut listened to each word that Oogork spoke. He had long since determined that he would be the leader of all the clans of the Chukis. An honor bestowed only upon the clans best hunter. He knew that to silently follow Oogorks’ lead at this time, might forever end his chance for such an honor. And yet he also could see that if the Chukis did not leave the valley, in which the all had dwelled, his entire race might perish.

He remembered when he was a child, the grasses grew thick and lush, and there was game a plenty. Surely they had been favored. Yet now, though they ranged farther and hunting trips were longer, there was little to show for the effort. In the north, the wall of ice, which blocked travel in that direction, loomed larger and grew ever neared with the coming of each spring. To the west lay a vast mountain range, always snowcapped and without passes which might be used to cross to the other side. It was time. He had to speak.

Seizing the moment Yakut strode to the front of the gathering and said, “And where would you lead us Oogork?”

Oogork paused for only a moment than spoke. “We must pack all we can carry and move back to the west.” Oogork hesitated then continued, “That is the land of our ancestors, the land of the Inuit. When I went, last year, to trade with Yuit and the Aleuts; their drying racks were full with fish, they had piles of the finest seal and otter pelts. I watched their hunters returning from the ocean in mighty umiaks bringing many walrus. They spoke of many whale in the waters off shore. We must return to the coast. For if we stay here only hunger, starvation, and death await.”

“Oogork! Do you forget,” said Yakut raising his voice to a level no one present could recall hearing him use before. “I too went off to trade with the Yuits. They are many and they are strong. They will not stand quietly by and permit us to move into and take a part of their lands. We Chukis no longer live with the sea. We are hunters of caribou, of bison, of the great bear, and of the mammoth. Who amongst us can make an umiak, or even a kayak of sealskin? Who amongst us can throw a harpoon knowing it will hit and then know where to wait for the whale or the walrus to rise again so that it may be finished off?”

Yakut paused, looking at the gathered clan leaders for a moment and noticed his son Nanuchka in the outer circle. He was momentarily surprised but then pleased by the boys presence. When Yakut was sure the import of his words had sunk in he continued. “We are hunters with the spirit of hunters. The animals have gone south and we must follow. It is our way and it is our destiny.” Yakut looked pointedly at Oogork then took his seat.

This was the kind of challenge to his leadership that Oogork had been dreading for the last five years. He was approaching 35; an old man when judged by the standards of a society which chose its’ leaders based on hunting prowess and few males lasted even that long. Yet he felt this one last time, for the safety of his people, his will must prevail. It would be foolish to attempt a great journey into lands none of the people had visited before. What if the mammoth had not fled south and east? What if to travel in that direction would not furnish them with the food they so desperately needed? The risk of the unknown was greater than the known danger from their cousins to the west.

Oogork knew that he must enlist an ally. He also knew that the Shaman Achinoc was the only one present whose support could be of certain help in throwing the decision, which might well mean life or death for his people, his way. Oogork knew also that even though he had led the clans well, and though Achinoc both liked and respected him, the Shaman, in a gathering such as this, would only speak as the great Spirits directed him.

Oogork was by no means certain of the outcome when he turned to face the Shaman and said, “Achinoc, it is time for us to choose. What will you say?”

The ancient Shaman did not rise, and his voice was low enough that all gathered had to strain to hear him when he replied. “I am an old man and have seen many springs. I have seen the grasslands to the north when the bison were many and when the ice to the north was just a thin line so far away as the eye could scarcely see it. I have seen years when the rain was poor and the hunting worse. I have prayed to the great Spirit and cast spells. And in the past my prayers were heard and my spells brought prosperity. Now when I pray all I hear is… ‘Time to move… Time for the Chukis to move.’ And the voice of the Spirit, which I hear, is far away; though in which direction I can not tell.”

“In my dreams, sometimes,” he said “I see a great beast. One as has not been seen since before my grandfather’s grandfather was a boy. One such as we know – only in legend. He is as tall as three men, and legs like the trunk of a tree. And he calls to me and says ‘Time to move’.”

Achinoc looked first at Oogork and then at Yakut. “This creature holds within himself a part of the great Spirit. You both must go in search of him and in the direction where he is, and where he goes, so must go the rest of our clan. That is all I know.”

That night Oogork and Yakut both prepared to leave the clan site. They would be on their way early the next morning. They both packed lightly taking only their weapons and enough food to last for several days. Oogork, along with Minchuk who was a sturdy and reliable hunter, went to the east. Yakut, after agonizing over the decision for some time, decided to take his son Nanuchka with him while he traveled southward in search of this creature the Yeti Ursak, known to tribal legend as ‘the Large Foot‘.

The ground sloped steadily upwards, first gradually and then more steeply as it left the valley floor. Oogork scanned the path ahead while Minchuk, from a position far off Oogork’s left shoulder, was doing the same. They had spent the last six days searching the grass and marshlands and had yet to find any sign of large game. Even the birds and small mammals were scarce. If the Yeti was to be found it would be in one of the many defiles leading into the foothills of the coastal range. Old tracks, very large, but barely discernible, were all they had to go on as Oogork led the way slowly up the ravine towards the snowline above.

Misha was hungry and not in a good mood. Standing 12 feet at the shoulder, and weighing perhaps 1800 lbs., she was afraid of nothing; not even of the Great Yeti Large Foot. Though simple prudence, in normal times, dictated that she keep her distance. She raised up to her full height and could smell the man things nearing her den. In normal times she would pay them no mind and prefer to let them pass, unaware of her presence. But today was different. Misha was hungry.

Ursak watched from the river grasses along side the shallow stream. He needed to consume forty to fifty pounds of meat every day in order to sustain his great bulk. The stream, once far larger, had within memory been fed from the see and teeming with fish, Now it fed into a marshland that had more recently covered the entire valley floor. The amount of water remaining in it was sufficient only for the small trees and other vegetation remaining along its banks.

The lush marshland, with its acres of succulent water lilies, cattails, edible roots and other foliage, had reverted to barren tundra and the salmon fish were no more.. Mosses and lichens dotted the landscape away from the stream bed. The profusion of wild flowers that used to color the valley from early spring till the end of summer were no more.

The Yeti Ursak was far south of the lands he had once roamed. It could not be said that Ursak had made a decision to abandon this territory, but in a matter of just a few days he would leave this country forever and follow the stream towards the south and whatever fate awaited him.

Oogork was ill at ease as he continued his upward climb. The doubts concerning the future of his clan, which he had forced from his mind would not stay away. He had been a good leader of his people and had done his best to hold to the old ways. He understood the importance that tradition played in keeping the Clans together. Oogork was one of those rare men who felt that they had indeed done all they were capable of and could also feel pride in the way he had handled all that the fates had mete out to him. He could not understand why Anichnoc had not supported him at the clan meeting. Perhaps this was what was bothering him.

Oogork had lost sight of Minchuk as the terrain became rougher with increasing altitude though this was to be expected and should not have disturbed him. The wind was funneling up the ravine and masking out all but the sound of its’ passage. Oogorks hunter’s instinct told him there was something near, something dangerous, that he ought to be aware of. He grasped his spear tighter in hopes that this action would ward off the evil he could feel.

Misha waited on the inside of a hook shaped turn of the trail. She was now just a few feet upwind of Oogork and she listened carefully to each sound he made as he neared. The wind was not an impediment to her hearing. She made a low growling sound but it was lost to Oogork as he continued forward. Oogork had just passed the point of the hook when he became aware of the presence behind him. Turning he had only an instant to look into Mishas’ eyes before her huge paw with its knife like claws swiped across his neck and chest ending his life before even a scream could break free from his throat. Misha would feed well today.

Minchuk found what was left of Oogork several hours later, and taking the evidence as an omen of the creators will, headed back to find the rest of the clan.
Yakut and Nanuchka had followed the small stream, moving ever further south. The way had been easy and they had covered many miles in the three days since they had left the clan site.

They had seen no sign of large game in the land the traversed but the sight of many birds, gulls, turns, and even the great eagle were signs that their path was true.
Late on the third day, just as the hours of twilight were beginning, Yakut spotted the track of a beast so large that he knew it must be that of the Large Foot that he sought.

He pointed out the track near the edge of the stream to his son and said. “Nanuchka, look, do you see it?”

Nanuchka peered at the ground were his father pointed and could see nothing but an irregularly shaped puddle until Yakut traced the outline with his fingers.

“Tonight, my son, we will rest, for tomorrow we will see where the future of our clan is to be.

In this prediction Yakut was wrong, for it was not until three more days had passed, that he and Nanuchka, breasting the top of a small rise, saw in the misty distance, the form of Ursak …retreating towards the South and into the lands where the Chukis would soon follow. The lands where they would prosper and multiply.

The descendants of the Chukis would over the next 10,000 year spread across the width and breadth of the entire Northern and Southern American Continents.

Two other waves of immigration would follow from the west but it was a third group, coming across the ocean to the east, that would eventually lead to the retreat of the Chukis from the land they would hold for thousand of years.

New France
1490 AD.

The French influence in North America began in Newfoundland and spread along the banks of the St. Lawrence River. That river saw it’s first European, John Cabot, an Englishman, in 1497. It was explored by Jacques Cartier, who, in 1534, left a few settlers at the site of present day Quebec. These early colonist, finding no immediate riches and unprepared for the harsh climate stayed less than a year before heading back home.

They were followed by a hardier breed, including from the first many of the French Basque fisherman, who were making frequent voyages to these northern waters. The Basque language interestingly enough, shows no similarity to the Indo-European tongues of the rest of the continent. Their isolated culture had produced traits uniquely suited to the colonization of a new land. In 1608 the permanent settlement of Quebec was founded.

The first deep penetration of the Canadian interior by a European was that of Frenchman Samuel de Chaplain. Using the St. Lawrence as his highway, Chaplain explored the regions around what would become Montreal and then leaving the waters of the Great Lakes went north and west. By the year 1615 he had pushed the French claim to the new world all the way to the Georgian bay region of lake Huron. Lake Superior, known to the French as Lac Superiur or sometimes ‘Upper Lake’ was first seen by a European, Etienne Brule, in 1622.

In 1625 there were perhaps 500 permanent European settlers in New France and 2,200 in English and Dutch colonies to the south. As of 1650 the figures were about 2,000 and 105,000. By 1700 the English had made the Dutch lands their own and they outnumbered the French by better than 10 to 1. Some 20,000 to 250,000.

Unlike the English practice of permitting the immigration of shiploads of religious and political dissidents, the French let in only those loyal to France and under the control of forces directed by the home government. This fact along with a generally harsher climate in the North, and land less suitable for agriculture, were the primary reasons for the disparity in population.

In any case the three main exports for both groups were fish, lumber, and furs. It was the fur trade which gave rise to a unique class of men.

The Voyager
1726 AD.

Emil Luc deVilliur paddled steadily onwards, along the shoreline of the Great Lake Superior. It was early May and time that the first Voyagers were heading out for another season spent collecting the beaver and otter pelts which made this territory so valuable to the merchants living their comfortable lives in far away England and France.

The ice had broken up several weeks earlier than usual this year and so along with the rest of the French Canadian trappers, he had left the rude fort, which guarded the Saint Marie’s river, for another season in the lands about the upper lake.

The fort was the smaller of the two which protected French influence in the lands surrounding the northern Great Lakes. The other, Fort Michlimacinac, founded by Fr. Marquette in 1600, stood just 60 miles to the southwest and guarded the passage between lakes Huron and Michigami. In time this, the smaller settlement, would grow to become the town known as Mackinac City, Michigan.

Jean-Baptiste de Saint-Ours Deschaillon’s, had a few years earlier, in 1721, founded Fort Kaministiquia, later to be called Fort Williams, far to the Northwest at Thunder Bay. It would in time be a major transfer point for furs being carried east to Montreal by Voyagers who did not trap the fur but made their living from bringing supplies outwards and returning with pelts, 3000 lbs per canoe and with only 21 days worth of food and supplies to make the 2000 mile trip back to Montreal. Kaministiquia, as of yet, could not support the over winter stay of year round residents.

At this date in the early 1700’s Sault Ste. Marie was only a collection of perhaps twenty-five log cabins inside a crude stockade. The sawing pits just outside the walls were the evidence of, and a beginning to, the lumbering industry which a century later would bring thousands to the north seeking their fortunes. Now however it was home to a small French garrison and a missionary Catholic church along with a trading post and winter lodgings for men such as he.

Emil stroked rhythmically, in tune with the slight rocking of his canoe. This was a pace he could carry on for hours at a time ignoring the pain and numbness working its way slowly into his arms ads shoulders. As he paddled, singing a tune taught to him by his mother when he was just a boy, his thoughts drifted away from the dull boredom of the winter past, to the life he hoped to be living soon.

If the trapping went well this year, he could see an end to his time spent in this cold, harsh, unforgiving land. There were no thermometers here nor meteorological records kept, but had there been, temperatures of -30 or -40 degrees would not have been uncommon. Along with the cold came winds so swift that an unprotected man would freeze solid in minutes. During the winters, which lasted for the better parts of six months, from the dropping of leaves in October till the ice breakup in April or May, the snow, unmelting till spring, could reach a height of ten feet or more.

It was not only the winters that made this land difficult and a constant trial and threat to the men who sought the skins of the elusive beaver and otter. In the early spring and summer the mosquitoes and black flies were so thick that they were almost unbearable, so thick that even breathing became a chore. The welts raised by the flies’ bites could cause so much swelling of a persons joints that waking could become difficult or impossible. Some men, it was said, had been driven mad by their inability to escape the hellish torment. No relief from the insects would be found until the land dried out in late summer.

The large black bear, inhabiting this area on both sides of the Great Lake, was valuable for its fur, and claws. The claws were used to trade with native Ojibwe Indians. The bear were usually extremely shy and difficult to locate, though when encountered they were unpredictable and could be extremely dangerous. Moose were common and a regular source of meat. The Indians told stories of something else, a large and terrible manlike creature living deep in the woods. Emil never took seriously the claim of any European who said he had seen such a monster.

The native Ojibwe, semi-nomadic hunters, with legends stating they had lived in this land from the time of its’ creation, numbered fewer than 5,000 in an area that stretched from the shores of Superior to the Arctic Ocean and St. James Bay. They would most often trade peaceably for the knifes, trinkets, iron goods, and other paraphernalia, which the trappers carried, but at times, especially when stirred up by the English, they too were responsible for the deaths of lone Voyagers such as Emil.

Two, maybe three more seasons, that was all it should take, and he would have enough money on account with the bankers in Montreal to purchase sufficient good land, and a wife brought over on one of the ships used to empty the orphanages and poor farms, enough to let him leave this harsh territory. He would settle down in relative ease and live the life of a free farmer, and sometime fisherman, as his father had done in far off Quebec.

It was just after sunrise, the air and water were perfectly calm. Without wind or wave to fight him, Emil could make forty to fifty miles in a day. He knew, however, that by afternoon, when the winds came up, building strength from the northwest, he would need to stop or risk swamping. If he could average thirty miles he would reach the mouth of the Long river in two more weeks.

He carried with him no maps or charts. Even had he had such documents the trapper would have been unable to read them, but the drawings would have been self evident. Three years in this wild country had engraved in memory the route he was following. He was, however, loaded down, though not as heavily as he hoped to be on his return trip in the fall. Emil carried with him the foodstuffs and trading goods he would need for this season.

For many days the voyager traveled steadily onward, following the shore of Superior. At first the land consisted mostly of gentle hills covered with aspen, maple and oak, though at this time of year their branches were still barren. There were wide beaches, with snow still piled deeply upon the sand as it rose gently to meet the hills inshore. In places ice forced by wave and wind rose in mounds and ridges against the land at the waters edge.

The ice had picked up sand, while grinding into the beach, giving it a dirty brown color. But the darker color would cause it to melt all the more rapidly, and the sand granules sinking through, and forming worm-holes in the ice, would make the pack break apart all the more easily at the touch of wind or wave.

Before he had traveled another three days, the hills became much steeper and the beaches narrower, and rock began to take the place of the sand beaches. Firs and white pine, cedar and spruce were becoming more and more prominent replacing the broadleaf trees he had encountered at first. Two days more, and the lake was bordered by rugged rocky granite cliffs which often plunged straight into the water leaving no room for any beach at all.

Emil, in past years, had trapped the streams feeding the southern and middle portions of the Long Lake. This year, it was his intention to explore and trap the northern reaches. In the process, unbeknownst to him, he would go further into the interior of the continent than any other European who had visited the American wilderness.

During this entire first portion of his trip, while he covered a distance of four hundred miles, he saw no direct evidence of human habitation. Only the occasional faint wisp of smoke rising from some small distant fire, away from the shore, gave silent testimony to the handiwork of man.

Emil had seen no one on his trip towards the Long Lac; but he had been spotted, and his passing noted by a number of the Ojibwe living near the coastline. These natives, though cunning, were thought of as a low and savage type, descendants of a once proud clan holding better lands on the south side of the lake; they survived, scattered across hundreds of square miles, in small bands, and were left alone only because the climate was so severe that none of the more industrious tribes wished to displace them. Given the legends hinting at evil spirits and monsters inhabiting the region, the area was deemed especially unfit for permanent habitation. Of course nothing of this nature was known to Emil as he proceeded steadily onward.

From sun-up to near dusk he paddled, his body aching for rest at the end of each day. And knowing the agony would begin anew each morning. So accustomed was he to the slight up and down motion of the canoe, that every time he stopped paddling the world around him seemed move up and down for a few moments before coming to rest. Emil passed many small streams, and several rivers of considerable size until he reached the mouth of the Long River. This was on the afternoon of his fifteenth day since leaving the fort. Here he turned north, leaving the comparatively easy route of the big lake with its known hardships.

On his first day into the interior, he was forced to portage his goods three separate times to avoid rapids. Once, he had to move all his belongings up a steep rock face at the edge of a falls. The elevation changed by almost sixty feet at this point. He crept, overburdened, along the slippery ledge, and silently cursed his fate, but gave no thought to turning around and finding an easier passage inland. Another three days of steady travel was into the ‘Long’ lake proper.

This lake was still covered with a layer of ice, except for a small open area at the southern end where the river left to feed Superior. In some places the ice was thin and becoming very soft during the day. Emil could have forced his canoe through it in many spots but the damage to the bark covered vessel would have soon rendered it useless.

Walking at this point was impossible. He could not transport the needed supplies on his back alone. So it was here, at the mouth of the river, that Emil set up camp, to rest and wait for the final breakup of the ice. This Long Lac he camped besides was seventy five miles from north to south and in places twenty wide. It would have dwarfed most of the lakes of Europe but here, amongst so many larger and more impressive, it was unremarkable.

For five days Emil Luc deVilliur rested, mending his gear and fishing. It was still weeks away from the spawning season, yet he could have caught a weeks supply in a few hours.

He noticed the wind, which blew strongly and steadily from the south, slackened off only for short periods of time in the early morning and late afternoon. It was as if the wind somehow knew how to pay respect towards the rising and setting of the sun.

On the morning of his sixth day in camp, he awoke somewhat later than usual. The sun was out in force, the wind was beginning to stiffen; Emil could see the telltale darkness of open water in the northern distance. With amazing speed the melt continued and two days later Emil was able to continue. During his entire stay at this camp he had not seen another man, nor even sign of other men, but he had been watched.

In the late developing, extremely short spring, as ice melted off the hundreds of streams, and thousands of creeks and marshlands, beaver, emerging from their lodges, began to feed and gather food for their newly born young. Then the beaver would evaluate and repair the damage to their homes caused by the last winters’ ice. Next they would enlarge their formidable fortresses to such an extent that all the time spent in building and repair would only balance the destruction caused by the forces of nature. The goal to have the largest possible pond dammed up as their exclusive foraging territory.

The Canadian beaver that Emil so earnestly sought, fully grown, could grow to four foot in length and weigh as much as 80 lbs. Its’ young, born in April and early May, while snow and ice are still thick, emerge from the lodge when summer nears. Until the coming of man the beaver had few natural enemies and could feel quite secure, as the only entrances to the lodge were completely underwater.

Because the animal had learned no fear of man it was readily trapped. But because of this it was doomed to become scarce in heavily trapped areas. This forced men like Emil to constantly push into new territories in search of more pelts.

The Kenogami River flows into the northern end of Long Lac. It, in turn, is fed by the Kenogomisis and Kawika, from the east, along with dozens of smaller feeder streams and creeks. It was near the spot where the Manitounamaig joins the Kenogami, about 5 miles from the northern tip of Long Lake proper, that Long Tooth established his lodge.

Long Tooth was an adult of the species C.canadensis, fully four feet long and weighing almost 75 lbs. With a tail a foot long and large webbed feet for swimming underwater. He had chisel like teeth to gnaw through the trees and brush he used to build the dams that backed up smaller streams and created beaver ponds where he, and others of his species, built their lodges. Long Tooth was ideally suited to his this environment.

Though he awoke from his months long slumber some weeks before, and went outside the lodge on several occasions, it was with the breakup of the ice, that Long Tooth could begin the spring chores. While his mate, and six young pups, stayed in the cozy warmth of the den, Long Tooth, began to explore and bring in food, and then, repair the damage of the last winter.

The water level was not nearly as high as it would be in another month, after most of the snow melted, still, instinct told him where the dam which created his local pond, must be strengthened. Likewise additional support must be given to his lodge if it was to survive through the summer and into another year.

Aspens and other soft woods were his primary building material as he went about the task of repairing the ravages of nature and time. His six inch long incisors could chew through a small trunk as fast as a skilled woodsman’s axe. Without stopping, and living mostly on the fat stored up from the last year, he began his task. Long Tooth had been working at his task for a week by the time Emil reached the northern end of the Long Lac.

The Voyager stepped ashore at the mouth of the Kenogami. The three day journey up the length of the lake had had been cold but otherwise uneventful. The winter’s snow was melted in areas exposed to the sun, in shaded areas it was still several feet thick. Emil walked fewer than one hundred feet from the edge of the lake before seeing unmistakable signs of recent Indian habitation. There was a fire pit, a circle of stones several yards in diameter, and surrounding it many charred and weathered bones and antlers that could only be the remains of moose, who dwelt in this area in abundance.

The level ground around the pit would have made an ideal campsite for the summer and fall but it lacked protection from the wind and would not be a suitable for year round living. Though Emil had no way of knowing, the Ojibwa Molson, the local clan of the greater tribe, wintered some fifteen miles eastward on the edge of a sheltered bay on Paguachuan lake.

The river was far too wide and swift for beaver to impede its’ flow at this point so Emil, after a brief time, continued up the Kenogami; alert now for further signs of Indian occupation, he saw none. Later that day, six or seven miles upstream, he found the site where he would build his base camp for the coming season and began its’ construction. Made with the materials at hand, it was little more than a lean-to with a piece of rough sailcloth thrown overhead. So be it. He would spend most of his placing and checking his traps.

“By God! This damn meat be awful,” muttered Emil, as he gamely swallowed another mouthful of well burnt otter. “At least the skin’ll be worth sometin’,” he concluded.

Molson Ogemaw from scarcely more than thirty feet away watched while Emil ate his dinner. Ogemaw had watched the strange foreigner for several weeks. He had even crept into the white mans camp when the voyager was away inspecting his traplines. Ogemaw was careful not to disturb anything or leave signs of his visits. Tribesmen of the Huron and Iroquois had told the Molson of the power of these “White Skins”. Tales about summoning down the thunder, and clouds and lightning coming from a stick and killing at great distance. These tales had, over a period of years migrated even as far North as this. Though until now Ogemaw had not given full credence to the stories.

This was after all the tribal land of the Molson Ojibwe, and though they were not extremely territorial in nature, the stranger certainly bore watching. There was another, unbeknownst to Ogamaw, also paying attention to Emil; the Yeti Ursak, a descendant of those that came from the North and the West thousands of year before.

The Present
Munising Michigan, 2008 AD.

“Did you hear about our plan to stage a Bigfoot week at the Moose Lodge,” John asked me out of the blue one afternoon when I had stopped by after doing some shopping in town.”

It was early February and snowing, I wanted to get back home before I was plowed-in probably looked at him as if he were crazy, but I am a bit touched myself, and at the Moose we were always looking for ways to raise money. So, wondering what the scam was, I merely nodded, took another sip, and waited for him to continue.

He opened a folder and pulled out some pictures he had downloaded and printed from off the Internet. Pretty standard fare, but I could tell he was serious. “What exactly do you have in mind John,” I asked to speed him along. He would start telling jokes in a moment and I wasn’t ready for that.

“What we’re going to do is get as many people as we can to signup to go on a Bigfoot Hunt. Got a date set for March. We send them out in the woods with cameras and plastic bags.”

“Oh? Plastic Bags?”

“Yeah, to bring back fur, or bones ,or whatever other evidence they find. We’re having prizes and everything. Fun for the whole family and a sure cure for cabin fever.”

“What’ll you do if someone actually brings back a Bigfoot, or evidence of one?”

We’ll have a panel of judges award prizes for the best evidence.”

“Thanks, but no thanks,” I said “Too much snow on the ground in March for me to be tramping around.” John started up with the jokes and I finished my drink.

Three weeks later something happened that made me change my mind. It snowed the night before and most of the day, not heavy but drifting and constantly. The weather forecast said light snowfall over night and I figured I’d wait for the next morning to clear my drive. Sure enough next morning the snow had stopped falling and the winds died down enough that I could use the snow blower without having the snow coming back and covering me from head to foot. I went into the garage and started her up. I was half way up the drive, I’m about 400’ into the woods, when I saw them.

They were tracks, and large tracks at that. Must be a bear out early I thought. The depressions had mostly filled back in with snow so I couldn’t make out any details, like pads, or indentations made by claws. The tracks came out of a small creek in a heavily wooded gully that runs on the south side of my property line. I often see prints left by deer coming out the stream bed in about the same location. Bear tracks though are rare, and usually I see them in early winter before they den up or on wet ground in the spring after the snow melts.

I turned the blowers chute and so as not to cover up the track in case I wanted to get some exercise by following them later. Don’t laugh, it could happen! And then I noticed something very odd. It was the spacing, the order and distance between tracks. Where I first came across them they were couple of feet apart. But as I continued up the drive the distance increased until they were five feet from on another and in a mostly straight line. Who ever heard of a bare making footprints, each separated by that kind of distance from the one before?

A hundred foot further on the tracks, still widely spaced left, the drive and went back into the gully.

The snow was kicking in again by the time I finished the drive and returned to the house. But the thing was bothering me. Bigfoot? Preposterous! Yet I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind. Later that afternoon I laced on snowshoes, and went to take another look. I was too late, the snow had covered things up and no new tracks were visible. I never even got a picture.

Next time I was back in town I signed up for the hunt. One never knows.

To be continued.