Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New Mexico Sasquatch

Jerry Padilla passed along a news account he wrote for the Taos (NM) News, involving a Sasquatch sighting in northern Taos County. From the January 18, 2007, edition:

Interesting find becomes scary experience for Costilla man

By Jerry A. Padilla

The Taos News

"In the interest of protecting a fragile ecosystem and a potentially rare and misunderstood species, the exact location of the following experience is best not revealed. Suffice it to say, the unusual encounter occurred in a canyon of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near the Colorado-New Mexico border in northern Taos County.

"Arturo 'Homie' Mart'nez, 67, of Costilla said he decided 'to tell The Taos News about my experience because many people Iíve shared the information with donít seem to take me serious. However, many do, and they have encouraged me to come forward with my story.'
"Mart'nez, originally of Arroyo Hondo, has spent a lifetime in the mountains, canyons and wilds of Northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, and can identify all the native wildlife, plants and animals, whatever the season or conditions. Not long ago, he and a person he calls a 'super friend' had a frightening, but very interesting experience while scouting for elk in preparation for a hunt. His friend has chosen to remain anonymous. Mart'nez made personal notes about what happened in this mountain canyon area Sept. 27.
"'I, myself, and my friend set out to scout for game, but something weird happened.'
"He explained that earlier the first day, while scouting in stands of aspens within sight of the community of Amalia from up high, Mart'nez found an interesting, naturally formed piece of aspen tree that strongly resembled a human face. 'Nobody carved it, it grew that way and I decided to bring it back.'
"After leaving the object at home, Mart'nez and friend returned to another area several miles away from where they had been earlier in the day. This time, while driving on another fork of the rough road, they found many tops of aspen trees cleanly broken off that were strewn over the road.
"'We decided to investigate who was breaking the trees and throwing them on the road. I asked my friend, "Who would want to do this?"' Mart'nez explained, 'These were aspens ranging in size from 3 to 4 inches to 6 to 8 inches in diameter, cleanly broken about 13 to 15 feet up the trunk of the trees. There were no tracks of bear or elk, or human tracks ó no tracks of any kind, no sawdust at the bottom of the trees and what was strange, it was as if they were thrown several feet away from where they were broken. There were two big aspens completely uprooted and thrown away from where they had been growing. If bears had broken them, they would have left claw marks. Bears leave a smell on trees they scratch or break.'
"'Elk in rutting battles leave the ground very disturbed. It wasnít, and seeing many broken trees we continued on to investigate who or what was breaking them. The broken tree tops were lying in the road as if something or someone wanted to say, "Nobody is welcome here." Rounding a curve, my tire blew out and things started getting very scary,' he continued.
"'We could hear elk bugling up higher and we decided to walk back down since it was late afternoon,' Mart'nez said. 'We needed to get a spare, and come back to change the tire. We were taking our time checking out more bro-ken trees, and there was easily over a 100 broken the same way. Thatís when I heard the scariest noise I have ever heard in my life.
"'It started at first, sounding like an elk bugling, then turned into a scary roar so loud it kept echoing through the canyon,' he continued. 'The elk up high stopped bugling. It kept making that noise at us, it reminded me of the noise the devil made in "The Exorcist" movie. Whatever was making the noise started breaking trees and throwing them in our direction a few seconds later.
"'Then I saw a huge creature moving through the edge of an aspen grove, about 30 to 40 feet from me. It walked upright, but hunched over, maybe 6 feet tall bent over, and standing straight was 7 to 8 feet tall with very dark fur all over. It was not a bear. Bears donít walk like humans. I am convinced I saw what many call Sasquatch. Even with my gun, I was very scared and we left in a hurry. It seemed to be following in the edge of the trees, breaking more, throwing them toward us and making that awful noise. It was almost dark and we had to get out of there,' he recounted.
"The two men fled down the mountain, and Mart'nez said every time the creature roared the noise continued reverberating through the entire area. 'I felt like at any moment something was going to grab me from behind all the way out of there.'
"They arrived on foot in Costilla well after dark, deciding no matter how scared they felt, it was necessary to return to the canyon, change the blown tire and bring Mart'nezís vehicle back. The two men returned to where the vehicle was parked, and by the time they changed the spare it was after 2 a.m. on Sept. 28.
"'We decided to stay until daylight and try to find out what it really was we had experienced,' Mart'nez continued, 'It was deathly quiet the whole time, nothing moving, no elk bugling, not a sound at all. At sunrise, we checked around, found more aspens broken the same way. Nothing else happened to us. There was no sign of anything out of the ordinary except more broken trees.'
"Not finding any other evidence of their frightening experience of the afternoon before, Mart'nez and his friend returned home. 'Like I said, I know what I saw. I know it is not a bear or any other of the wildlife I have seen around here all my life. I decided to tell my story because America, wake up, these creatures exist,' he said. 'Every time I go into the mountains anywhere from now on I will have a camera and an audio recorder with me. I have had other people tell me that even though they wish to remain anonymous, they have had similar experiences over the years, but donít say much because they get ridiculed. I know what I saw and heard.'"

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