Byrne talks about that in his book, as I recall. However, he gets certain details wrongly (like the current film site location, I believe). The map in his book is UTTERLY useless, and completely off scale. It is actually 12N13 that goes over the bridge, and then down to Louse Camp. This is also the road where the current road (not there in 1967) spurs off down from the ridge to the PGF site. The 12N10 is the road that goes down to Louse Camp from Onion Mountain, and used to go back up to the ridge but has since been closed. It spurs up right above the bridge over Bluff Creek, where 12N13 goes over and past the bridge, so the confusion in the statement is understandable. The old 12N10 ran along the western ridge above Bluff Creek and eventually met up with Lonesome Ridge Road.
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19 downloads Bridge with clear old road cut entering creek.
From a tip from Al Hodgson about where he and others put in to the creek to access the film site, back in the old days before this bridge and the road down were built, he said that there was a ford across the creek. This spot can be found on your topo map if you head up from Louse Camp about a mile to where the road hits a high northward tip, and then drops back down southward. The ford went across the creek or up the creek, as this area was basically a triple junction. We looked under the bridge and at the banks of the creek, and indeed there are faint traces of where the ford was apparently cut, with a road cut totally obvious at the area on the east bank heading down into the creek.
From Barbara Wasson's book, SASQUATCH APPARITIONS, we got that Patterson and Gimlin had crossed the creek at the bridge above Notice Creek (NOT the Notice Creek bridge itself), the one where it actually crosses Bluff Creek. The Notice Creek bridge (marked 1958, during Jerry Crew's time) is down by Louse Camp. Wasson says they proceeded up the creek here from the Bluff Creek bridge about a half a mile or so, and there they established their base camp site. Interestingly, it is very close to Gimlin's statement of 2.5 miles from this camp, up the creek, to the PGF site itself, it being about 3.5 miles from Louse Camp. Our associate, Robert Leiterman, measured the distance when he hiked up the creek, using a GPS unit, to get these measurements.
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21 downloads Map red dots are the bridge and the PGF site, the more faint one is Onion/Blue Creek Mountain junction.
On our second trip we went past the first gravel/sand bar up from the bridge, our initial suspect for the P-G base camp from our first trip, and we found a much better prospective area. This spot is a more raised sandbar, and is pretty much exactly a half mile upstream. At this spot we spotted an old piece of rebar metal pole, and we suspect that this may actually have been hammered in here by Rene Dahinden to mark the site. Rene did this on the PGF site as well, so why not here? Of course, we can't prove it; but it is so close to what Wasson says that we feel very close to convinced. After all, Wasson had many dealings with Rene, most surely her source on these matters. This would have been an ideal camp area, with fodder and room for horses, the only problem being that the "road" up the creek would have had to ford a couple of times to get to it (unless they just drove up the creek itself).
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18 downloads Probable P-G base camp site, with rebar marker.
Indeed, from my conversation with Jim McClarin recently, we knew that the old road (built in again after the 1964 flood for salvage logging in 1965-66, according to Al Hodgson) did indeed go up the creek, fording it frequently as the creek meandered back and forth in its bed. McClarin went up in a Jeep driven by Richard Henry, about two weeks after the film was shot (source, Daniel Perez; though McClarin recalls it being earlier). I have pretty darn good descriptions from him of the road up, the "horse camp" or "corral" down from the film site, and the film site itself with the creekbed road going up along its southern/eastern side. He was there after Titmus, and notes that they found plaster remains on the sandbar and around the ten tracks that Titmus cast.
There is much confusion and speculation on this old creek "road," part of which is now still present on the maps as the "Bluff Creek Trail." From all I can find about this, it was never a proper road, but more of a cat trail that was periodically bulldozed through to allow access for logging or other operations. It apparently had gravel put down on it at times, according to McClarin. However, there is no way it could be called a real road in the places where one would have been forced to enter the creek or ford it. In the summer season until October the road would have been easily drivable by a Jeep or even a logging truck, as the creek runs rather low and shallow until the rains come. Recall that Gimlin was unable to exit this way due to mudslides and flooding that night of the 20th (morning of the 21st, actually), and they had to take the road up the ridge toward where they got stuck and had to retrieve a backhoe from the Blue Creek Mountain construction zone to get back out.
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13 downloads Road cut just down from "bat boxes" landing and film site.
In our second day we paid special attention to the old signs of road cuts as we hiked all the way up the creek to the PGF site. These cuts are still readily visible in places, as is the course of the track over flat areas that have not been subject to erosion by the creek. We filmed and photographed these, and our observations all correspond with McClarin's characterization of the road's disposition. At the area of the film site McClarin describes the road coming in on the northern or "western" side of the creek (at this point it has bent to the east, causing many oldtimers to have the directions off when the describe it), and then fording at the area at the western edge of the "bat boxes" clearing (this took a touch of interpretative work on my part to place where he was describing). At this point they proceeded just a little ways (he says maybe a hundred yards) upstream to the south side of the film site, where the road proceeded around the site and beyond. There is a sketch by Richard Henry in BIGFOOT TIMES (I'll post it if Daniel Perez will give permission) which shows them parking on the film site's "big bend". Looking at the site and the creek in general today it is difficult to imagine there being a road in through there. One has to remember that there was a lot more sand and gravel deposited on the bars, due to the 1964 flood, and that the road had been either buried or washed clean away by that flood. I'd imagine that it had to be regularly plowed through to be useful at all, though the creek provides a generally good access (illegal now, I am sure) for a good off-road vehicle and a driver with the guts to take it on. There has been much erosion and settling, such that the creek today generally looks like it has returned to its original natural state.
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14 downloads Image: not much room for a road today. Images above (save for book and map) by Steven Streufert, free to use with citation and blog link. CLICK TO ENLARGE
More will follow on my blog. Pictures, too. This is just a short overview.
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Members of the "Expedition," October 9, 2010
I believe it was Peter Byrne who indicated that there was a small road on the east side of Bluff Creek, coming off of 12N10 near Notice Creek. I think he believed that Patterson and Gimlin were riding up that small road. I don't see anything on your maps that matches his map. Do you know if he was correct on that? If not, do you think that P and G were off road at that time?