By Nan McKenzie
Many years ago, I spent time in an isolated cabin in the wilderness. Once a week or so, I’d hike two-and-a-half miles through the snow with a small backpack and stay over alone for a night in the cold. On a sunny April afternoon, I was enjoying the minus 25 degree air, when about halfway to the cabin, I spotted tracks coming down a hill to my right and disappearing past the road, down on my left. Animal tracks have always intrigued me, studying them, wondering what made them, where they were going. I couldn’t make much sense of these tracks since there were a few bare patches in the snow and sometimes I’d lose the thread.
I hiked along, cold, but turned around and came back, a thrill of fear racing down my back. Was that a bear? And where was it, did it like to eat women alone in the woods? No, it wasn’t a bear, the tracks were too far apart, at least seven feet, and there were bare toes on the end of them! They were too narrow, and way too long to belong to a bear’s foot. I followed them over the hill, across the road, down to where they circled two trees, like a dog might, looking to pee its way around the trunks. The tracks were close to the trees, way too close. A bear is too heavy, too round in the middle to get so close to a tree.
I ranged along beside them, following to the creek where the something had stopped, bare toes seen in the snow at the edge of the creek, probably getting a drink from the icy water. I could see that that it had stepped across the creek, at least ten feet wide, and continued on the opposite hill, climbing up, again, steps about seven feet apart.
It had to be a Bigfoot! There had been stories told in the local bar about people seeing monsters in the woods, barefoot, ten feet tall, big teeth, long hair, ugly as sin, and with a legendary stink about them, as if they were carrying dead bodies on their back.
I hurried much faster to the cabin, kept looking around, rushed in and locked all the doors. I’ve never seen one of these creatures in person, but realized that the big noises I’d heard in the night must be monsters and they making the dead smell that was walking around the cabin. Their voices sounded like slowed-down records, deep and mysterious.
And so I began writing about these fantastic beings, long before I wrote the first Bigfoot novel. And I met several people who had seen them, describing their experiences as if the listener might not believe them, and shy about telling their fantastic stories.
You don’t have to ask me if I believe that there are creatures different from us in the far-back woods. I know there are.