Monday, September 6, 2010
Squatchin' with Cliff and Craig
Posted by Guy Edwards
Clearly seen, circled in red, are two of the best guy's to go squatchin' with.
You know Cliff from NorthAmericanBigfoot and Craig from CrappyLittleDreams, but to be honest, until you spend a weekend squatchin' with them, you don't really know them.
Between Cliff's encyclopedic Bigfoot knowledge and Craig's survivalist skills it was the perfect formula for our greenhorn artist Guy Edwards to understand what field research can entail. Guy left us as a poser, and came back to us a bonafide field researcher.
That was the beauty of Cliff's message, anybody can do field research, and he encourages everybody to do so. Bring the 10 essentials, your camping gear (tent, tarp, matt, sleeping bag)and anything you can use to document your findings (a camera, measuring tape, and casting material). If you need to buy some of these essentials, you can use this REI Coupon Code here to help you save.
On the two full days we spent with Cliff we followed a similar pattern. First find a perching spot with steep access, overlooking a narrow valley. Then check out the valley floor for prints during the day and try some calls at night.
The perching spot seems to have multiple advantages. The first is from the perspective of Bigfoot. A perch allows Bigfoot a clear view of the valley floor to watch all the fauna (food) criss cross on the multiple trails below. Another advantage is the acoustics. Due to the nature of being on one side of a narrow valley, there is almost always a facing wall on the other side. Especially If the facing wall is concave its like an amphitheater and all the sounds will bounce back to you. Cliff explains it the video below.
We hike down from the steep perch, which its easier than it looks, unless your trying to keep pace with Cliff Barackman, who happens to be half gazelle or mountain goat. When he says, "If you want to see Bigfoot, you have to be Bigfoot," he is serious.
The goal is to get straight to the waterway, and then follow it up or downstream. Bigfoot have soft padded feet and the best chances for a print is going to be right at the edge of a stream with the wet sedimentary mud.
We noticed Cliff cataloged every significant clean print he found, mostly bear and cat. Although we did see plenty of deer track. With a digital camera and a retractable measuring tape he took multiple shots of each print.
Before dark we work our way back to camp, which was always uphill and, as you would expect, more challenging.
Theres enough time to prepare food and eat before we get back to squatchin'. A campfire and a dutch oven of boiled potatoes fed the crew the first night. Due to the greater exposure of our second camp, we went without campfire, the second night. Thermal underwear would have been handy.
Darkness finally falls and the audio recorder turns on. We begin with a little wood knocking, to get their attention and peak curiosity, then it switches to trying out a few calls. With a couple of "Bah-whoops!" we wait. The time between each knock and each call varied, although after each call we waited at least 20 minutes for a response.
We didn't get a whole lot of "action" either night, but Bigfoot Field Research seems very similar to fishing. Any fisher man will tell you why its called "fishing" and not "catching".
OTHER LESSONS WE LEARNED
1. Bears do sh*t in the woods--often
2. Around a campfire, cougar stories are way scarier than ghost stories
3. Cliff Barackman can traverse 50 yards of any type of terrain, deep brush, river, river bed, cliff face, swamp in the blink of an eye.
Cliff's Blog NorthAmericanBigfoot
Craig Flipy's Crappy Little Dreams