Dianne writes “I was with my husband on one of our backpacking trips, this one later in the season to avoid the bugs. We had hiked in from Chepeta Lake to a remote small lake that was one of our favorite spots. We always would take day hikes from our camp exploring the surrounding miles of wilderness.
It was early when we took a day hike onto the Highline trail and as we did a lot, we used a compass and went off trail towards a tiny lake. I was having foot problems so when we reached a beautiful small meadow I decided to stay and let him continue the 4 mile round trip farther with our border collie. I had a chihuahua that I carried in my daypack for company with my poncho for a blanket to sit on. It was a high overcast day with even bright light. I was happily working on a colorful beadwork project for about an hour when suddenly my dog started whimpering and trying to crawl under my leg. A wall of stench I’ve never smelled before hit me. I knew something was not right by that smell and went into high alert mode. To my right through the trees I could see a huge black mass silently approaching nearer to the woodline. At this point I had gone through in my mind every possibility of what large game it could possibly be and knew nothing smelled or behaved like this. All I can say is I knew that I was in the middle of nowhere way off trail, unarmed, all alone, and with no options. As it came closer it stopped right behind the wood line. I could see the massiveness of this creature. It had to be over 9′ tall and shoulders 4′ across. I could only see parts of it. It seemed to know it was obscured by the trees. I could see the torso area of shiny black hair. At that point I lost my nerve to keep looking and frankly if I would have seen it’s face I probably would have had a heart attack. My body went into what I’ve coined LIQUID TERROR. My insides felt like jello. I decided to pretend everything was just ok and with shaking hands I started beading again. It actually helped me calm down but IT WOULDN’T LEAVE. I thought if I ignore it it will go away. No such luck… it was at least 15 minutes (but felt like 2 hours) that it just stood there, smell and all, watching me.. During that time I felt a human sense of curiosity coming from it. I never dared to directly look over there as I could only handle that much. I would glance from the corner of my eyes once in a while to see if it left. I have been around chimps and somehow knew don’t give it eye contact.
I was fascinated though at it’s silence. I continued beading when the smell finally seemed to retreat. That was the only way I knew it was leaving. Well at least I thought it did. My husband returned several hours later and we hiked the 3 miles or so back to our camp. I did not tell him what happened. Well all hell broke loose.
We made dinner and at dusk we were circled with the sound of coyotes and wolves with the circle getting tighter as it got dark. Their sounds were odd and we kept trying to analyze the sounds but we just knew they were getting very close even though we couldn’t see anything. We had no weapons except our dumb little 3 inch knives.
We never made fires while out before but I said we are tonight! We quickly gathered a huge pile as it was darkening. My husband went for more wood and came back freaked out saying there was something crouched with huge yellow eyes that are way too big for a mountain lion. Ugh, and all we had was a stupid little cloth tent. I never saw the eyes.
Nevertheless we made a futile attempt at sleep and at first light packed our stuff and hauled ass out of there. But we were flanked by 3 or 4 bipedal “somethings’ all the way back to the main trail. Then the footsteps stopped, thank God. We never went backpacking there again. I never told my husband what I saw until I heard your show many years later.”