Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch… you know what we’re talking about! Giant, hairy humanoid-apelike creatures. Cousins of the Abominable Snowman — lurking in wooded areas of the Pacific Northwest eluding capture while sparking controversy, adventure and folklore.
The Hidden Coast Scenic Byway is not immune to the intrigue. Honestly, we help keep it alive by proudly immortalizing our tall, furry friend along the route. So far, we’ve identified nine easily spotted examples but before we go there — let’s dip a toe into Bigfoot history:
Sasquatch – What’s in a name?
The word ‘Sasquatch,’ a derivative of se’sxac meaning wild men, originated with the Salish tribe who hail from the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana and the Pacific Northwest Coast. The name “Bigfoot,” on the other hand, originated in Humboldt County, California.
Deeply rooted in a practical-joker culture, early California loggers spawned stories that included numerous sightings of big, hairy, human-like creatures. The tales, which had been perpetuated for eons, suddenly gained momentum in 1958 when a reporter from the Humboldt Times printed a letter from a reader that reiterated logger stories about a “bigfoot” creature. With just the right amount of mystery and adventure, the public loved it. More stories and reports of sightings were published and that’s how Sasquatch’s alter ego, Bigfoot, was born.
Sasquatch – The First Sightings
In 1976 Peter Byrne of Oregon’s Bigfoot Information Center and Exhibition asked the FBI to help identify hair and skin samples he thought were Sasquatch. The big hope was to prove whether or not Bigfoot actually existed but the findings went unpublished for decades, which only helped perpetuate the lore. Recently, the results were made available to the public and… drum roll please… the sample belonged to a deer. DANG!
Sasquatch – Quinault Tribal Ties
As reported by The Oregonian back in 1924, the relationship between the Quinaults (and other PNW tribes) and Bigfoot goes way back. In fact, the belief is that Sasquatch is an unidentified Pacific Northwest indigenous tribe of its own called the Seeahtik. Tall, hairy and talented these rarely seen Native Americans reportedly kill their prey with hypnotism, speak many languages and have special medicine they rub on their coats to help them appear invisible.
This short video of Quinault Tribe member Fred Pope reveals his personal experiences with Sasquatch and includes a detailed segment about their tradition of leaving food for them — a sentiment we’ve also heard from other members of the Quinault Nation.
Countless sightings, pranks, claims, caught-on-camera-moments, and major motion pictures surround Bigfoot. And yet we’re still guessing, searching, and hoping a creature that’s more magical, smarter, and stealthier than we are — actually exists!
The next time you’re on the Hidden Coast Scenic Byway, be sure and watch for Sasquatches along the route. We counted and mapped nine – how many do you see?