The Beast from Boulder Creek
The night the mountain reigned terror on us!
Written by Barbara Ann Campbell
Published October 21, 2015
For Northwest Central Interior BC Bigfoot
It was during summer holidays that we decided to check out the historical town and park of Barkerville. I had never seen it before and thought it would be a nice change. Feeling somewhat parched, we thought we'd stop by the old saloon and have ourselves an ice cold root beer. We then went on to have our photo taken. I was a saloon girl and Brad, a cowboy with a hexagon barrel rifle.
Some time later, we found ourselves drawn to a trough where a crowd stood around watching others pan for gold. We thought we would give it a try and came away with a small vial containing the flakes we successfully panned. We hadn't realized it at the time, but we both had been struck with gold fever. If it ran, we panned and the more we panned, the more infectious it became. Our favorite TV program was Gold Trails and Ghost Towns, hosted by Mike Roberts with historian storyteller, Bill Barlee.
A book called Trails to the Timberline would set the course for our next adventure. We were going to explore all locations mentioned in the book, starting with the Old Straw Creek trail because that was near the ranch. The name of the creek had since been changed to Boulder Creek. I made arrangements with mom and dad to come look for us if we weren't back by Monday morning. We were only going for one night and had planned to be back by Sunday evening.
In all honesty, we were unprepared for what we were about to face. Our minds were set on gold and anything else we might find around the miner's cabin. Brad was bringing his rifle and we would also have a radio in case of an emergency, but it never occurred to us that we might not be able to send or receive a signal from the cabin. One or both would need to climb to the top of the mountain peak. Driven by the fever, we were about to face the most terrifying night of our lives.
The following morning, we made two trips to the drop-off point. The first was to unload the trailer and then finally, the quad, and our supplies. We could have hiked in, but that would have taken all day. We wanted to make the most of the time we had.
We didn't know what condition the trail was in. If we were able to quad in all the way. We just hoped we could make it, one way or another. We tossed our packs in the trailer. Brad wrapped his rifle in a thick blanket. He then rolled it up, tied it with a cord, and then strapped it across the handlebars. We both climbed on the machine and away we went. Buster followed in behind.
We hadn't traveled very far when the forest began to change. It was like stepping back into Jurassic times. Old growth hemlock towered high above us. The forest floor, covered in a thick layer of rich, green moss. The berries were the largest I had ever come across. I felt like Alice in Wonderland. It was incredible!
I started thinking about bears. I could just imagine how large the grizzlies were around here. I hoped we would not have to worry about them. Soon we came across one of the largest piles of bear droppings I had ever seen. Right in the middle of the trail.
We traveled along the ridge line, heading up towards the top of the mountain. Boulder Creek separated the next ridge. We could see mountain goats grazing across the other side, so we stopped to enjoy the view.
I remembered a story I was told. A local guide heard eerie, high-pitched howls or screams coming from this area of the mountains. The vocals were so strange that it terrified the man, and he had been a guide for many years. Maybe it had been a Sasquatch. We might hear howls too!
Buster was thoroughly enjoying himself. I thought he might tire out. He could have ridden in the trailer, but he was quite content to explore the new sights and smells.
Soon we came to a slide area, where the trail continued along in switchback-fashion. Below us, a steep slope led down to Boulder Creek. I remember seeing red material sprawled out below. It looked like someone's clothing. I must admit, it really gave me the creeps. What if someone had fallen down there?
It was beginning to look like we might make it all the way to cabin, but on the final leg of the switchback, the trail suddenly vanished beneath a large mound of rocks. We stopped and turned off the engine. I volunteered to survey the damage that lay on ahead. We could pack the quad across, but the rubble covered too large an area. We would have to leave the quad and hike in from here.
Brad was headed in my direction when Buster's demeanor suddenly changed. He leaned hard against my legs. I couldn't see any danger and couldn't understand what was going on. We had a clear view of the entire slide area. There was nothing we could see. What was the matter with him?
Sensing possible danger, my husband turned and walked back to the quad. He reached for his bundled up rifle and was in the process of pulling it out, when a very large mass of fur appeared over the edge of the trail - right next to him! As quickly as it had appeared, it suddenly turned and then disappeared back down over the edge.
Brad caught sight of it as it disappeared. He thought it might have been an 800 pound grizzly, but we couldn't see the animal to confirm it. What else could it be? It had only been a couple feet away and could have attacked my husband. It was like it wanted to cut Brad off at the quad, but didn't realize that he had already returned. I was literally stunned. How could we not see the animal in the slide area? Why wouldn't Buster bark?
We should have turned around, but we had a rifle to protect ourselves and we could always use the miner's cabin. Or so I thought. We turned the quad around, grabbed our backpacks and then continued on foot. This time, however, we were constantly looking over our shoulders for sign of a grizzly. Little did we know that from this moment on, we would become the hunted.
A short while later, we finally reached the basin and much to our disappointed, discovered there was no cabin anymore. Only a small pile of debris lay in its place. I think that was the moment I realized we were in trouble, but the afternoon was getting late.
We set our tent next to a small creek and scrounged for firewood. Our eyes constantly surveyed the outer perimeter. In all likelihood, the bear would be somewhere close to the trail leading to the slide area. On that side of the basin. We could feel its eyes on us. The bear consumed our thoughts. The expression was in our faces, and the fear, in our eyes. If it was a grizzly, we had reason to worry. Once these animals set their minds to food, there is no stopping them.
Brad tried the radio, but it wouldn't work in the basin. If we needed help, one or both would need to climb to the top of the peak, but not if we were being stalked. No. We would just stay put.
Neither of us panned for gold that afternoon. Gold was the farthest thing from our minds. I kept thinking back to the bear. What would I do if I were the bear? I would head back to the quad and toss it over the side. Is the creature thinking this too?
I felt responsible for putting us in this situation. We should have turned around when the animal showed up. If I had known there was no cabin, I honestly would have called it quits, but by the time we reached the site, it had been too late in the day to turn back around. What have I done?
Sitting with our backs to the fire, our eyes were now focused on the surrounding darkness. We might have a chance to react, if we could see it coming. Our ears were zeroed in on every sound. We were on heightened alert.
Then, without warning, we were hit with a major storm. Strong winds collapsed our tent, and along with the rain, put out our fire. We were soaked to the bones and had no means of shelter, no warmth and no light. Even so, our minds were on that bear. It could attack at any moment and we wouldn't see it coming, but that wasn't all we had to worry about. We were faced with yet another danger. Lightning. We were the highest point in the basin, right next to a creek. We had to get the hell out of there and fast!
I vaguely remember packing up camp. It all happened so fast. We were in survival mode. Instinct told us that we were to leave immediately or we were going to die. The fact that we faced mortal danger by trying to escape, never even slowed us down. We were doomed if we stayed. We were going to fight our way out of here. We were both prepared to face the worst. It was do or die. We shoved everything we could into our backpacks. Everything else we attached to the outside of the packs and then we hurried off in the direction of the slide area.
My flashlight was useless in the storm. The beam of light couldn't penetrate the rain. Our only source of light came from the lightning. It allowed us to see where we were going, and also to keep an eye out for whatever might be stalking us. It just wouldn't stay on long enough and it was so black out that night.
The pots and pans I had secured to the outside of my backpack were making too much noise, so I had to let them go. I tore the ties and just let them drop to the ground. I dropped a number of items along the way. Anything that made a noise or impeded me in any way. I needed my hands free, but I still held on to the flashlight and in the other hand, a knife. Brad was carrying the rifle. Buster followed along in silence.
It was frightening walking out in that storm. I wasn't concerned about being struck by lightning as I was about being attacked by a bear. I could have sworn we were being charged so many times. Just by the sounds the water makes when it rains that hard, along with all that wind. Sometimes I had to stop breathing, just to listen to my surroundings. There was a constant struggle between imagination and reality. I just knew it would try to stop us from making our escape. We were close to reaching our quad now. If anything was going to happen, it would be very soon.
Brad quickly shouted what I was to do if he were to be attacked. I had already made up my mind to fight to the death. At least we were thinking along the same lines. We quickly shouted that we loved each other and then that's when I realized I was no longer afraid.
We reached the slide area in good time. That's when we heard movement not far above our location. It sounded big and heavy. Rocks were falling down all around us. We had to be careful otherwise we could easily fall down the slide. We could twist an ankle, break a leg or even lose our balance. We had to find the safest route to our quad, but also keep our attention on what was happening above us. Brad fired off a warning shot.
We could still hear it moving. A large swath of rocks and dirt came down on us. Brad fired another warning shot. He was able to keep it at bay, but it was not going to give up so easily. It would move every time we made a move toward our quad. The storm didn't help matters, but it didn't seem to bother the animal. It was as if it knew the predicament we were in. The storm was to its advantage.
I shone the flashlight everywhere I thought it was standing. I was using it to confuse and distract the animal.
We finally made it to the quad. Brad quickly fired off another warning shot, then kept watch while I unhooked the trailer. We were going to leave it behind and fetch it another day. It was more important that we get ourselves out of here alive. Brad then dropped his pack on the rack of the quad, and jumped on. I climbed in behind him and grabbed the rifle.
No sooner had we turned the first corner, when we heard it coming. It was going to try to take us out along the switchbacks. All we could hear, other than the wind and the rain, was the sound of those rocks coming down on us. Brad drove that quad for all it was worth and managed to get us off that slide. That's when a section of the trail gave way behind us. We nearly lost Buster along with it.
We kept on going, never slowing down until we reached the truck. I don't think two people and a dog ever scrambled inside a pickup as fast as we did. I don't even remember the drive home. I had the shakes for a week!
My husband went back the next day to fetch the quad and trailer. I couldn't go back. In fact, I have not been back since that night. I am still afraid, just thinking about going back there. I have often wondered though, what exactly had been stalking us? This beast from Boulder Creek. The Boulder Beast.
Years later, I would learn that Bigfoot sightings have gone on around this location for many years. It is also not far from where a cow had been found dead, with her head shoved inside her own chest cavity.
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Trace Unknown is the collection of fieldwork, and research of Barbara Ann Campbell. Her background includes UFO research, alien encounters & abductions, missing & gained time, paranormal, physical landing trace cases, unexplained animal deaths, and Bigfoot. (NWSURC, SPPRC Inc., UADR, CPTE, & Trace Unknown.) In her capacity as forensic researcher, she appeared on MonsterQuest's Cattle Killers episode.
Northwest Central Interior BC Bigfoot (NCI BC Bigfoot) is the collection of witness reports.
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