Past, Present and Beyond – If you go down to the Woods today…

Bring a snack - or a camera - because you may have unexpected company.

A Sasquatch runs through it.

A Sasquatch runs through it.

There’s a wonderful line in the 1939 film version of the Sherlock Holmes adventure “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, in which several characters are discussing local legends. One man is asked if he believes them, to which he replies, “No. If I believed all the legends about this place, I wouldn’t live here. I wouldn’t have the courage.”

I don’t know how many people believe in the legends told about Bigfoot, or Sasquatch; but if they do believe, and they choose to live in some of the more remote parts of this area, then they have a good deal of courage. The creature has, according to reports, been seen from Lytton to 100 Mile, and from Lillooet to Logan Lake, with stories ranging from the mundane (tall, hairy creatures have been glimpsed by the sides of any number of area roads) to the unusual (in 1993, a group of Cub Scouts camping overnight in Upper Hat Creek were awakened by “blood-curdling screams of intense volume”) to the very odd indeed (in 2000 a couple camping near Logan Lake reported “several incidents of their campsite being disturbed, missing food, missing clothing, finding 18-inch long, barefoot, humanlike footprints, and finally seeing a reddish-brown, 7 – 8 foot tall Sasquatch in their camp throwing stuff around”).

In early 2009 this paper reported on the furor created by a report that a pickup truck traveling on Hwy 1 south of Cache Creek had struck something. When the occupants of a vehicle traveling behind the pickup stopped to see if help was needed, they found that the creature was a “big hairy thing laying in the road, arms halfway down his legs and huge hands and feet and was walking upright before the guy hit it. It smelt really bad.” The creature was supposedly loaded into the back of the pickup, and the driver was going to take it to “the RCMP in Cache Creek [sic] to find out what the heck it is”. When the story broke, Sergeant Dave Prentice, then in charge of the RCMP detachment in Ashcroft, had to assure people that no creature fitting that description had ever been brought to the attention of the police.

And yet the legends persist, with the area bounded (roughly) by Chilliwack on the south end and Yale on the north having yielded up a rich trove of sightings over the decades. In 1884 there were reports of a small creature, “half-man, half-beast”, captured by a crew working on the CP line near Yale Tunnel, although “Jacko” (as the beast was named at the time) appears to have been about as real as the Cache Creek monster 125 years later. More persuasive is the 1941 sighting at Ruby Creek, between Agassiz and Hope, when a mother and her children were terrified by a strange creature that wandered out of the woods towards their cabin, causing them to flee. Those who were first back to the site reported seeing huge, bare, human-like footprints in the mud around the cabin, and a barrel of salted salmon had been torn apart. The area around Ruby Creek continues to throw up more than its fair share of people claiming to have seen large, hairy, upright creatures that aren’t bears, and are far too large to be people. Someone close to the author reports seeing such a thing, crossing a field towards the river at dusk.

Another person close to the author recalls hearing, many years ago, a strange scream one evening, near a cabin located on the side of Cornwall Mountain near Ashcroft. It was about 9 at night, and the cry – which sounded like a screaming baby, and unlike any animal he could remember hearing – came (as far as he could judge) from a spot near where the road leading away from the cabin turned and disappeared into the trees. “I don’t know what it was, but it sounded pretty close, about two or three hundred feet away. It was dark enough that I wasn’t going to go out there to look.”

This would have been in the early 1970s, and not many years later, in conversation with someone who used to live in the area, another, even stranger, story surfaced. The person in question used to live further up Cornwall, and had been in hospital in Kamloops following a minor operation. She got into conversation with another patient in the same room, an elderly Native woman. When the Native woman found out where my correspondent lived, she grew quiet, and then said that she had lived for a time in that same area – Three Sisters – but had left when she was a teenager, because she had seen a Sasquatch one day. The experience had so terrified her that she had left the place immediately, and never been back.

It’s a story that’s stayed with me for many years (although I’m glad I didn’t recall it, the day this past summer when our van broke down at Three Sisters, until well after I was safely home). Are the legends true? Is something out there, roaming the woods, or can all the stories and tales be explained away in a perfectly rational fashion? I don’t know. But keep your eyes open, next time you’re out in the woods, or driving along area roads. And have your camera handy, for good measure. You never know what might be waiting around the next bend in the road.

All accounts in this article, save the ones related directly to the author, are from the websites British Columbia Sasquatch (http://sasquatch-pg.net/British%20Columbia-sasquatch-sighting-reports.htm) and Phantoms and Monsters (http://naturalplane.blogspot.ca/2008/12/hbcc-report-sasquatch-hit-by-truck.html)

Barbara Roden

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctors urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

Most Read