Bigfoot Encounters

Puzzling Prints
What caused tracks on Whipple Creek Road on
February 3, 2002 ??

By Leila Kheiry, Daily News Staff Writer


Lillian Jaehnig first thought the tracks were made by a grizzly bear when she noticed them in the snow Sunday while bouncing down Whipple Creek Road in her truck. But when she got out and looked more closely, she said, she realized they were no bear prints.

The tracks, about a foot and a half long and a full 8 inches wide with what appeared to be four toes - belong to a two-legged creature, she said.

Jaehnig, who works in road security for the private Whipple Creek and White River roads, led the way to the tracks Monday morning. They start near her home on Whipple Creek, said Jaehnig, and continue for about two miles along the middle of the road.

Rain on Sunday and Monday had melted the tracks somewhat from the day before, she said but they were still identifiable as footprints.

On Monday morning the main part of the prints looked very similar in size and shape to a human foot, but surrounding that were less obvious indentations that could have been made by toes. The stride - which Jaehnig estimated at three feet, was a big stretch but readable for a 6-foot tall person.

Jaehnig and Robert Alley - a local Sasquatch enthusiast who is working on a book about sightings in the area - made a plaster cast Sunday afternoon of one print that showed particularly clear markings. The cast is of a large footprint with four splayed toes. Jaehnig carried it with her as she pointed out the markings on the road.

"Here's a toe. And here," she said, indicating indentations on one of many tracks in the ribbon of snow leading up the road. "This is my first footprint," Jaehnig said, carrying the plaster cast back to her truck. "It's pretty exciting."

Alley who has been looking into bigfoot sightings for years, said that when Jaehnig called him about the prints, he assumed they were made by a large bear that had come out of hibernation early. But when he went out to look, he said, it was immediately obvious they were biped, made by a hominid.

From his observations, Alley said, whatever made the prints was in a hurry. He said there are recent wolf prints along the same path, which could be connected with the mysterious tracks.

He said it is unlikely someone made the tracks in fake feet. The placement of the toes was not regular, said Alley, and the number of toe prints varied 'as though the maker of the tracks had some kind of digital dexterity.'

Alley said the tracks found Sunday are comparable to prints he has seen before. This isn't the first discovery in that area either, he said: Last year and several years ago, tracks were seen along Whipple Creek, Located north of town. Alley said there are many stories about the Bigfoot in the Ketchikan area. This year there has been "non-stop activity with a number of reports this past summer in the Herring Cove area, which is located south of downtown Ketchikan. Boyd Porter, a wildlife biologist at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Ketchikan, said Monday that he periodically hears about Sasquatch sightings in the area. We've had hair brought in, pictures of different things that people thought were Bigfoot beds or nests, he said.

Porter said he had not been contacted about the Whipple Creek Prints and likely will not go inspect them. He said that if he hears a report about fresh prints, he would be willing to look at them. (The remainder of this article was missing)

© Ketchikan Daily News, Alaska February 5, 2002

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