Monsters of the PNW: Sasquatch

IMG_4498You see sasquatch everywhere in the Pacific Northwest (as an icon, at least). On the Oregon coast, we’ve got Bigfoot’s Steakhouse, and the Elderberry Inn on the Sunset Highway sports the silhouette of a sasquatch next to a giant frying pan. Camp 18, another restaurant along the same highway, is known for its logging museum and carved sculptures. Among these are two sasquatch statues.

A fellow author who has written about sasquatch once told me the area around Camp 18 is a sasquatch hotspot, with a number of sightings having been reported over the years. I can understand why—halfway between Portland and the coast, the restaurant sits in the middle of a vast forest in the Coast Range.

As you drive along the highway, you can see swathes of open land, where timber has been harvested. For the most part, however, the mountains are still pristine, some areas seemingly impassable because they are so overgrown with trees and vegetation. It’s easy to imagine large animals thriving unseen in these wild places.

I have never seen bigfoot in those woods (or anywhere else), but I think it’s possible a large animal could exist in a place like that and be seen only rarely. Bears, wolves, and mountain lions live in our forests, but I’ve never seen any of those animals up close, though I’ve been hiking trails on the coast for nearly five years. I have seen plenty of elk, deer, and raccoons, but no sasquatch.

It seems other people have seen something though. If you go to and search by county, you can read about alleged sightings and get a clear idea about where they occurred. I don’t know how many, if any, of the reports are credible, but I’ll give you this: it is eerie to read about sightings occurring in places I’ve hiked.

Evidence about sasquatch has never been accepted by the scientific community, but I’m fascinated by the legends, especially those from indigenous people. Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest have acknowledged sasquatch’s existence for centuries. Skookum, a word referring to spirits, was also used to describe sasquatch. There are stories about Basket Woman, a cannibal ogress who kidnapped children and put them in her basket. I don’t know how hairy she was, but it’s interesting that she was a giant. And, of course, there is Ape Canyon at Mount St. Helens, where a number of sasquatch sightings have been reported.

I don’t know if sasquatch exists, but I would like to think it does. I love the idea that there are still puzzles to be solved, that, in spite of all our technological advances and global exploration, mysteries remain.

© Melissa Eskue Ousley 2016


4 responses

  1. I’m a Bigfoot believer. The NW forests are so dense and vast that it’s possible Sasquatch dwells in them. A drive to the coast through mist-shrouded woods inspired me to write No Substitute for Myth and use Bigfoot sightings in my fictional town of Reckless River as one thread of the mystery. Thanks, big guy.

    February 12, 2016 at 10:34 pm

  2. I can see that, and can understand how those woods can be so inspiring! I love living in the PNW, and I’m a fan of your books and the big guy.

    February 13, 2016 at 2:13 am

  3. Rick and Beverly Eskue

    Mel, Well done! I’ve been enthralled by big Bigfoot forever. I have a Sasquatch Field Guide and a Washington and Oregon Animal Tracks field guide including Bigfoot tracks Plus you gave me a journal to record sightings. thank you for reminding me. Love, Dad (Gaga)

    February 14, 2016 at 1:59 am

  4. Haha, thanks Dad. Glad you enjoyed the post, and that you like the journal. Hope it gets put to good use. 😀 Many thanks for the support–you’re the best. Much love!

    February 14, 2016 at 4:40 am

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