Portland’s Forest Park spans over 5000 acres. Over 62 species of mammals can be found in Forest Park. Racoons, beavers, elk, mice, rats, skunks, bats…and that’s just to name a few! In fact, one species you might spot in Forest Park is sasquatch! Yes, bigfoot himself lives in Forest Park.
Now – don’t get too excited, as the Forest Park Bigfoot rarely makes an appearance. In fact, when one googles “Bigfoot Forest Park,” one really only find a few joke postings on tripadvisor and such sights. There’s even a YouTube video that jokes about finding Bigfoot, when actually the pranksters just show a wooden statue. In fact, while Bigfoot hunters all across the world flock to Oregon to find Bigfoot, they never try to find Bigfoot in Forest Park. And yet one particular bigfoot finds his home in Forest Park.
Firstly, let’s get one thing straight. Sasquatches are intelligent creatures. A member of the great ape family, Sasquatch possess a lot of the same advantages that gives humans their distinct advantage in nature: extraordinary brains, opposable thumbs, and a long lifespan. One thing that differs sasquatch from humans, however, is the inability to speak. Bigfoot can howl, but not form words. This means that communication amongst sasquatches, and certainly between humans and bigfoot, is limited at best.
Sasquatch – just like humans – have deep emotional needs. Sasquatches need to feel loved, and sasquatches get lonely pretty easily. Usually sasquatch fulfills their emotional needs with other sasquatches. Sasquatches that live a more solitary lifestyle, however, need to fulfill their need for companionship in other ways. The Forest Park Bigfoot is a textbook example of how sasquatches might fulfill their emotional needs when none of their kind can be found.
How Bigfoot found his way to Forest Park.
In 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted, killing anywhere from 55 to 60 people. At least one sasquatch perished in the wake of the eruption as well. A female sasquatch ran with her mate from the destruction on the mountain, and yet could not outrun the destruction. No one knows how she died, but her mate was knocked out by a falling tree. The surviving male landed unconscious in the Toutle River and eventually floated into the Columbia River. When the male sasquatch awoke, he had landed somewhere near Scappoose, Oregon. This sasquatch wandered for probably a year, before finding himself deep inside of Forest Park. The male sasquatch had no idea where he was, or how to get home – and even if there was a home to get back to, so he settled in and made the best of the situation.
Forest Park Bigfoot from 81-86.
Forest Park provided a decent enough home for this sasquatch. He was able to hide if the need arose. Still, this bigfoot also liked watching people. He knew that he couldn’t interact with people too much – as humans are a scared sort of creature and prone to violence. The bigfoot just enjoyed that others were around, even if they were not of his kind. He especially enjoyed that the people in Forest Park were usually in a decent humor, as Forest Park is not a place where one works – but a place where one goes to have fun.
As time went by, the Forest Park Bigfoot got a little braver, and would get as close as he could to the humans without the people actually seeing him. Sometimes the bigfoot even let a child see him. The bigfoot would often hunch as low to the ground as he could, and smiled at the children. If the kid cried, Bigfoot fled from the scene so the parents wouldn’t see him. Usually though, the kids laughed. Sometimes the kids would wave back. This bigfoot really liked that.
Bigfoot continued to entertain children for about five years. While this was far from the companionship bigfoot longed for, it was enough to keep him.
The Forest Park Bigfoot goes too far…
One day in 1986, a trio of children along with their father walked along the Wildwood trail. Bigfoot followed closely, and smiled at one of the little boys – the little boy smiled back. This melted bigfoot’s heart as it always did. Bigfoot so loved the children smiling at him. Something came over Bigfoot, and forgot about the adult. Bigfoot came from out of the trees and right onto the trail. Bigfoot grunted a greeting, and all three kids turned and laughed. The father, however, also turned and Bigfoot knew he went too far this time. The father screamed “Kids, run!” and scrambled from the scene.
Bigfoot retreated back into the woods, heart broken as he knew this would not end well. Adult humans were a scared bunch, and hated what they didn’t understand. No doubt the Bigfoot would have to hide from even the children for quite some time. He might even have to leave his home and find a new dwelling.
A day or so after, the father came back, along with several other adults. The adults chanted angrily, waving all matter of pitchforks, rakes, axes, knives, and even a few guns. The mob hunted bigfoot for several days, seemingly around the clock. Bigfoot could not rest, as he feared being found by the angry humans! Finally, after a week, the humans gave up their search – well, most of them did.
Once a week, the father would trek out alone, with an ax in his hand and an angry scowl on his face. Bigfoot wished this man would just forget the incident, but every week the man came out to find Bigfoot. Still, as the weeks passed, the father seemed less and less enthused. The man’s angry face seemed to turn to a sorrowful face, and sometimes he didn’t even have the ax. When he did bring the ax, the man dragged it across the trail, as he dropped his head downward.
The Forest Park Bigfoot confronts the man.
One day, several months after the encounter, Bigfoot spotted the father wandering Forest Park. No ax this time, and no real aim. The man just seemed to wander about – maybe he wasn’t even hunting Bigfoot anymore. The man sat down against a tree, and started to cry. Bigfoot felt moved by the man’s tears. He knew what it meant to be sad…and despite his best judgement, Bigfoot approached the sobbing man. Bigfoot sat gently besides the man, and tapped him on the shoulder.
The man, pulling his head from between his knees, looked up, and almost screamed. Bigfoot put his finger over his mouth, he knew if the man screamed, Bigfoot would have to run. Bigfoot smiled at the man. The weeping father looked at the beast besides him, and realized he was in no danger – if Bigfoot would have killed or maimed the man already if that was Bigfoot’s intentions.
“You’re….you’re not a bad guy after all, are you?
Bigfoot grunts, nods, and opens his palms to the man.
“All those people I brought with me….they…they think I’m just a nut case now. They think I made the whole thing up.”
Bigfoot put his huge paw on the man’s shoulder rubbing it as though to assure the man.
“My gosh, you’re intelligent…aren’t you? Wow! What…what do you want from me? What did you want from my kids that day?
Bigfoot squeezed the man with a friendly side hug.
“You’re just lonely, aren’t you? Well I’ll tell you what! I’ll come visit you with my kids every couple weeks. Would you like that?”
Bigfoot’s eyes widened and his mouth formed the biggest grin ever seen by man. He nodded yes.
Happily Ever After
From that day forward, Bigfoot knew he had a friend. The man visited every couple weeks, and usually brought his kids with him. Bigfoot loved playing with the kids. Once more, Bigfoot didn’t have to hide to do this anymore! Yes, Bigfoot had to hide from other humans, but that didn’t matter so much. Bigfoot got the love and companionship he needed. Bigfoot wan’t lonely anymore!
Even to this day, the father visits Bigfoot. The kids are grown and have kids of their own. Sometimes they visit Bigfoot with their children, and even their spouses. Bigfoot has found his family, and while he’ll never replace the mate he lost on Mount St. Helens, Bigfoot has found his joy.