by Ray Linville
Now that Halloween has come and gone, maybe you won’t be too spooked by the story of Sasquatch. You decide if it’s the truth or a legend, but either way you will be curious and want to know more. Regardless, the story is told and retold in our area, particularly on hiking adventures and camping trips with people of all ages.
Ground zero for finding Sasquatch is Montgomery County. More sightings of this mysterious, mythical creature have occurred here than many of us want to count. However, a group — known as the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization — does just that, and a scientific pursuit — known as cryptozoology (a serious inquiry for believers) — documents these experiences. (The nickname “Bigfoot” incidentally comes from footprints reportedly up to 24 inches in length.)
The Uwharrie National Forest is just the ideal location that Sasquatch would want to call home. (Confusing Uwharrie with U. R. Harry is a diversionary tactic by skeptics to poke fun at believers convinced that Sasquatch is real.)
With abundant game animals such as deer, turkey, rabbit and squirrel in the forest, Sasquatch has many choices for a meal when taking a break from snacking on the abundant fish. After such a rich diet, Sasquatch can obviously travel quite a distance before returning home.
In the same month, he was observed in both Montgomery and Richmond counties. Now that you’re aware that Sasquatch can be seen locally, make sure you use the handy form on the BFRO’s website to report when you see this creature. (The form is easy to find online — just search for “BFRO report form” — filing a report adds you to the list of contributors. I always have a form ready just in case.)
Because Montgomery has the overwhelming number of the 94 sightings of Sasquatch in our state (as recorded by BFRO), this county is the obvious place to begin a search. (Harnett, Moore and Scotland are the only counties in OutreachNC’s distribution area without any sightings.)
If you’re curious, the most promising way to find Sasquatch is to venture into the Uwharrie. When you do, the best advice is to remain calm. A police warning in 2017 advised, “Please do not shoot at him/her.” (However, this public safety advisory was intended to avoid harming “a fun-loving and well-intentioned person wearing a gorilla costume.” Obviously, some officers aren’t convinced about the seriousness of such sightings.)
That Sasquatch is more than a legend is confirmed by how seriously our neighbors believe this story. A fall festival in honor of the creature is held at Deep River Park, a 40-acre park near the community of Cumnock in northern Lee County. For look-alikes, contests are held for the hairiest man, best beard and, of course, the biggest foot.
The park’s association believes so much in the sightings that it quotes Sasquatch, “Believe in yourself, even if no one else will.” Even the Lee County Co-op Extension Center last year held a series of lectures about this truly awesome creature.
Sponsoring an aerobic search, the nearby town of Troy has held Chasing Bigfoot, a five-kilometer trail run in a nature preserve. Although the run was successful, no credible sightings were reported. Troy has also included Sasquatch in the logo for TroyFest, its annual summer festival.
The network Animal Planet even sent a crew to Montgomery County to film part of its series “Finding Bigfoot.” Perhaps it was influenced by the Class A sightings (the most reliable category) from there since 1990. Souvenirs abound along NC 24/27 in the area of the forest for explorers and researchers looking for Sasquatch and needing to take home something tangible.
Camping outfitters and outposts have statues, t-shirts as well as bumper stickers that help in telling the story if the pictures taken aren’t in focus. With such credible evidence, it’s surprising that only 16 percent of Americans believe that Sasquatch exists. If you do miss seeing Sasquatch, at least take a photo of its statue in Troy (at the intersection of North Main and Chestnut streets).
For me, I’m content to find Sasquatch on the menu at Crawford’s Diner in Troy. There you can munch on the biggest sandwich — the Sasquatch Burger — with three huge patties and three slices of cheese. Finding Sasquatch in the forest is easier than finishing the burger. Soon I’ll need a longer hike in the Uwharrie.
Editor’s Note: OutreachNC Magazine continues a bimonthly feature to explore places in our area that would peak our curiosity if we knew more about them.
Ray Linville writes about local connections to Southern food, history and culture. He can be reached at email@example.com.