Ferdinand Magellan. Vasco de Gama. Sir Francis Drake. Leif Erickson. These are all names of so-called explorers whose exploits will seem like meagre trifles compared to my greatest accomplishment. My correspondences, dear editor, have been sparse over these cold winter months. It is not from some hardship, but from a desire to present to you hard evidence that a ‘squatch stalks among the silent sentries of College Woods. This mild winter has been both a blessing and a curse for a truth seeker such as myself. The lack of snow has made my more frequent trips to the woods more palatable. However, the lack of snow has made it difficult for me to effectively track the beast’s movements. And since that fateful night passed in the woods, my quarry has eluded me.
It started, as most interesting stories seem to, at the stroke of midnight. At the twelfth toll of the twelfth hour, my companions and I became aware that something else was among us. We sat silently behind a large rock with an adequate view of what seemed like a natural game path. The original eye-witness, who I will now call “Jane” for short, was in her typical good spirits, however naïve she was considering the magnitude of what we were about to see. My other companions and seasoned cryptozoological investigators, Ben and Bob, were behaving in their usual fashion as well. By that, I mean of course blissfully unaware of what was going on. So, out of the four people present, I was the only one truly prepared.
I took a large bite out of a Crunchy Peanut Butter Clif Bar at the same moment I heard the rustling. Was this what I was waiting for, or my mind confusing the sound of my delicious snack for something else. I stopped chewing and leaned closer to the path. Not hearing anything further, I continued with my snack. Just as I was about to swallow, a shape peered out from behind a wide tree. My tasty treat caught in the back of my throat, stifling a gasp. As I choked on the Clif Bar, my eyes gained extra focus. Crossing the path, briefly, to another area of thicket, there he was: my elusive, bewhiskered antithesis who had been ceaselessly dancing within the confines of my mind. Six feet of hair and muscle, 20 feet from me. My oxygen deprived brain was struggling to relay my next move. My companions were looking at their phones. I fumbled with my camera and dropped it. The sound startled the beast and it loped off, deeper into the woods.
I missed my best opportunity. With the help of some water, I dislodged my snack and finally said to my companions: “Did you see THAT?”
They looked up from their Instagram accounts, and shook their heads incredulously. I collapsed in exasperation. But, inspiration struck! The footprint on the trail! I ran over, disregarding the obvious danger from having such a powerful predator nearby. I got to the place where the animal crossed the game trail and sunk sadly to my knees. The frozen ground had not yielded. There was no footprint to be found.
I have spent so many sleepless nights ruing such a missed opportunity. I have been back into the woods during many fits of insomnia and subsequent frigid days trying to find the hairy Houdini Hercules once more, but to no avail. All I can produce for you, dear editor, are the drawings that I myself have made regarding the incident. I cannot thank you enough for publishing these tales and getting the word to the people on what lives so close. My only hope, now, is that these words can inspire others to search for the same. I will find the proof that you so desperately need. You may think my opening was premature, but have a little faith. The beast has been spotted twice by me. I will not miss him a third time.