S cot Violette saw the marks in the muddy cut bank beside a road in the Elkhorn Mountains, and he thought of a hairy beast.
Or Sasquatch, if you prefer the Anglicized version of a Native American tribe’s name for the hulking biped that some people believe roams the woods, as yet unrecognized by science.
Violette is one of those people.
The Baker City man, who grew up in Summerville and graduated from Imbler High School, last year turned his nearly lifelong interest in Bigfoot into a more formal operation — Blue Mountain Bigfoot Research.
Violette, 55, has assembled an array of motion-sensing cameras, a drone and other equipment to aid in his search.
He drives a four-wheel drive Dodge pickup truck emblazoned with his organization’s logo, a black, no-neck, long-armed creature standing in front of the silhouette of a mountain range.
But Violette didn’t expect that he would make what he calls his most significant discovery of purposed physical evidence of a Bigfoot’s presence barely half an hour’s drive from his home.
It all started Saturday, June 16, when he invited a friend, Don Endicott of Baker City, to go for a walk in the forest.
Violette, who solicits reports of sightings, tracks and the howls and other sounds attributed to Bigfoot on his website, squatchoregon.com, said he has received about half a dozen accounts over the past year from the east side of the Elkhorns, the densely forests mountains that rise above the west edge of Baker Valley.
Violette declined to give the specific location, but he said he and Endicott walked for about two miles on a road that has been blocked to vehicles by a “tank trap” — a moat dug in the road. The site is on public land.
It was about 4 p.m. when Violette saw the marks.
Although he describes them as tracks, and specifically what he believes to be footprints from a primate you won’t find in any biology textbook.
“I’m always looking for tracks,” Violette.
There are four in all, and Violette photographed each of them both Saturday and the next day, Father’s Day, when he returned with a tape measure and plaster of paris to try to make rigid casts of the prints.
Violette believes three of the tracks were made by an adult Bigfoot, and one was left by a younger animal.
He contends that it’s possible to distinguish marks left by individual toes, and a narrower, rounded heel.
Violette said the three larger tracks are 16 inches long.
The smaller track, at 9 inches long, is the only one he was able to cast — and that one was a challenge, he said.
Because the cut bank is very steep, it wasn’t possible to keep plaster from flowing out of the indentations from the three larger tracks before the substance had hardened, he said.
At the top of the cut bank, which Violette measured at 12 feet tall, the ground is covered by grass, brush and moss, and he didn’t find any other possible tracks.
Nor were there any on the road, which has a gravel surface.
See more in the June 22, 2018, issue of the Baker City Herald.