TWILIGHTERS ARE TRAVELING to Forks from all over the world hoping to meet a vampire or a werewolf. They can get pretty upset if they don’t.
“Where are the vampires?”
“Where are the werewolves?”
Inquiring minds want to know.
I’m not about to ruin someone’s hard-earned vacation just to be a know-it-all.
As a fishing guide, I have a good supply of excuses for any occasion — everything from “The sun got in my eyes” to “Should have been here last week.”
So when a frantic tourist asks me where all the vampires and werewolves went, I blame the government.
“You should have been here last week,” I told the Twilighters.
“The Border Patrol just rounded up all the vampires and werewolves in the country.”
“Why did they do that?” the Twilighters asked.
“You need a license to be a vampire or a werewolf in this country. The government does not like competition.”
As a journalist, I think it is unfortunate that all of this fuss and bother over fictional characters like vampires and werewolves have distracted us from the critical, real life issues we all face here on the North Olympic Peninsula.
Like my hunt for Bigfoot.
This large hairy creature, also called Sasquatch or Stick Indian, has haunted this land since before the beginning.
In the good old days when the newspaper industry accepted its social responsibility for increasing the sphere of man’s knowledge, they would finance expeditions to fill in the gaps in our understanding of the great unknown.
The Seattle Press Expedition spent the hard winter of 1898-99 slogging up the Elwha River into what was then “terra incognita” in the rugged interior of the Olympic Mountains.
This lavish expedition was financed by the Seattle Press, a newspaper that was the forerunner of today’s Seattle Times.
The Press boys went up the Elwha River. They had been warned of Seatco, the evil giant that was said to wipe out entire tribes with landslides or knocking trees over with a stick.
That’s why they were called “Stick Indians.”
The expedition was hoping to find the big lake that the locals had told them about.
Yarning the tourists was a pioneer tradition. The only hard part must have been keeping a straight face long enough to sell the expedition their supplies that included enough green lumber to build the party barge.
Gertie was supposed to float the expedition up the Elwha to the lake.
Anyone who has ever floated down the Elwha knows the impossibility of floating up.
Gertie was eventually abandoned as a testament to one of the cruelest practical jokes ever played on the tourists of the Olympic Peninsula.
The expedition continued on foot, plagued with bad luck. They lost their barge, they lost their way.
The only thing they couldn’t lose were their worthless dogs that kept spooking the game and eating anything that wasn’t nailed down.
Seatco remained undiscovered, that is until now.
My research has uncovered a vital clue to tracking the creatures that I’m prepared to share with you now.
Technological advancements have given the search area a narrower focus.
The fact is, the backcountry access fees have priced the Sasquatch right out of Olympic National Park. This eliminates a million acres of some of the toughest Bigfoot-hunting country there is.
Future research will be able to focus on the lower elevations, say along a lake. That’s where the party barge would come in handy.
Until the newspaper industry or private researchers step up to the plate to fund this vital effort, we’ll be stuck answering questions about vampires and werewolves.
Pat Neal is a fishing guide and writer. His column appears in the PDN every Wednesday.
He can be reached at 360-683-9867 or [email protected] See his blog at patnealwildlife.blogspot.com.