Saturday, 26 November 2011

Hiking the Redwoods with California's 'Squatchers'

Amateur researchers in the United States continue to eagerly search for the mysterious creature known as Bigfoot, staking out California's redwood forests at night in their hunt for the elusive beast. Despite many claimed sightings, the existence of Sasquatch has never been proven. Yet that hasn't stopped the obsessed from pursuing his giant footprints.

The plaintive howl echoes through the forest sounding like a muffled "whoop, whoop, whoop." Brandon Kiel pauses to listen in the dark, holding his breath for a moment before drawing air into his lungs.

Once again, Kiel cups his hands in front of his mouth and imitates the call: "whoop, whoop, whoop." The sound echoes back through the night, but all else is silence. Bigfoot isn't answering.

"The season is favorable," Kiel says, with a touch of disappointment. "But it's always possible that the animals are not in the area." The blueberries are ripe, and the calves of the Roosevelt elk, one of Bigfoot's favorite foods, haven't matured yet.

Kiel, 41, is a field researcher with the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO), a group based in the United States. The creature he is looking for is said to be clever, shy and stealthy -- an expert at camouflaging itself. But here in the redwood forests of northern California, Kiel is hoping he'll be blessed with hunter's luck. He and 20 fellow field researchers are on an expedition to track down Bigfoot.

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