Date of incident: July 7th, 2021
Location of incident: Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Description of incident:
I am a fire fighter from [REDACTED], Washington and myself and three others had a strange encounter in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest during the week of July 7th, 2021 near Lake [REDACTED] in the Indian Heaven Wilderness.
It was about 11pm when we heard the first sound arise from the forest around us, it sounded like a wood knock but also like a loud clap to the north of our campsite. We determined it was probably a limb breaking off of a tree not didn't think much more about it. At about 12:30am we heard footsteps coming through the forest towards our camp from the same direction we heard the wood knock/clap sound. We believed it must be a person because it was definitely on two legs. Two members of our group, both military combat veterans, walked away from the fire and posted up near the tree line just outside of the light of the fire. We all stayed silent for about five minutes, but the sound had stopped, but we were pretty sure whatever made the sounds was still in the area.
While we were focusing our attention to the North of camp we heard a loud wood knock, three in quick succession, to the Southwest of camp. Much too fast and powerful for a human to swing an axe and smack it with the same velocity we heard. It sounded as thought it was about a quarter mile or half mile from camp. About three or five minutes, maybe longer than that, after the wood knock to the Southwest we heard something splashing on the opposite side of the lake from camp. The two Veterans shined flashlights in the direction but didn't see anything and we decided it was time to throw a lot of wood on the fire and turn on some music to scare whatever was out there away from our camp.
For another 45 minutes the night was silent, we were all on edge, but things appeared to calmed down. That's when we heard a faint whistle, hard to describe through email but the whistling sounded friendly. Almost as if it was trying to get our attention. We didn't whistle back, instead one of us yelled at whatever it was to show itself. We warned it that we were armed and were ready to protect our campsite. The whistle only sounded three times, we thought we heard heavy footsteps again to the Southwest but they faded so quickly we couldn't decide if we made it up in our minds or not.
None of us slept, we packed up our gear as soon as the sun started to rise and hiked back to our vehicles near [REDACTED]. When we returned to our Station we told a few coworkers and a Captain about our experience, our Captain said that He had found footprints in that area about twenty years ago and had heard strange howls and screams during his time solo camping in the area.
I must say, I'm not sure if I will ever go back to this site area. It's a strange feeling to know that something large was stalking our campsite and we had no way of sheltering from it. Our vehicles were about two miles away, and there was no way I would have made that run in the pitch black no matter how scared I was.