Of sticks and Sasquatch

More mysteries in the woods.  Do Sasquatch use sticks and trees to mark their territories, trails, or preferred hunting areas?  My friend Richard Soule, author of the Nox Gigas Study, suspects that they do.  One thing is for certain, and that’s once you start looking, you will see some odd formations in the forest.

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Branches and logs apparently placed in formation over old stump, Pattee Canyon, Missoula, Montana.  Photo mine

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Rob with arch in Pattee Canyon.  Photo by Richard Soule

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Abundance of arch structures in deciduous forest in Iowa.  Photo by Richard Soule

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Small tree broken about nine feet up, Pattee Canyon.  Photo mine

What causes these unusual-looking tree and stick formations?  It’s difficult to say.  Wind and/or falling debris could theoretically cause a tree snap like we see just above.  Bears might push over or otherwise destroy old trees while looking for the nutritious insects living therein.  Trees could serendipitously fall on other trees, bending them over and pinning them into an arch.  Hikers of the human variety could break branches to create unique markers to find their way off-trail.  Survivalists could practice their outdoors skills by building primitive teepee-like structures.  Well, you get the picture:  there are a million and one reasonable, logical explanations one’s mind can find for some of this weird stuff.

But then, as Richard and our faithful sidekick Rob found, you might see something like this.

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Rob with arch, near Lincoln, Nebraska.  Photo by Richard Soule

Here is Rob standing before an arched cottonwood.  It appears to be systematically held in place with a series of woven trees and branches, rather than a random windblown conglomeration of debris.  And just how does a tree of that size — especially a notoriously brittle cottonwood — bend without splintering?  It’s weird.  The sheer size and weight of the trees involved would seem pretty much to rule out human construction.  You’d think you’d have to have a big old crew to make something like this — and why the heck would you even bother?  An 8-foot-tall, 500- or 600-pound creature, however, could knock this baby out in a matter of minutes.  Theoretically.

But why?  Under what circumstances is a Sasquatch undertaking these construction projects in the woods?  It’s not like they’re in a job-training program or something.  Or that at least seems unlikely, even in this economically challenged age.

Richard theorizes that alpha male Sasquatch — that is, the somewhat grumpy dominant males of a given population — make such structures as seen above to show off their physical prowess to other Sasquatch who may happen to wander through the area.  Sort of a KEEP OUT sign in Sasquatch language, in other words.  As for smaller structures, perhaps juvenile members of the species are “playing” like a human child would with blocks or Legos.

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Teepee-like structure in Pattee Canyon.  Photo mine

I have many, many times seen human kids build structures similar to this one above in the public gardens where I work each summer.  However, it takes a horde of little ones to do it; they tend to lose interest within fifteen minutes; and anyway, it’s unlikely children could even pick up branches of this size, let alone manipulate them into place.  This particular teepee is suspiciously close to a trail (which you can see running along just behind), and that will pretty much always put “people” into the front of my mind.  The National Guard does on occasion do trainings on this site, so perhaps this one could have been built as part of a wilderness survival training course.  With a covering of pine boughs, this teepee would make a serviceable shelter in a pinch.

The moral of this post, and I do have one:  just use your head.  Are people around who could possibly be messing about in the woods?  Has there been a recent severe windstorm in the area?  Do you have bears or other known creatures who could have cracked, scratched, broken, or pushed over the trees or stumps during the course of their normal foraging?  Obviously there are many factors at play aside from possible Sasquatch intervention that could create strange and fascinating formations with sticks and trees in the deep, dark forest.  Most times, a pile of sticks in the woods is just a pile of sticks.  But occasionally, logic may fail to explain what you see.

Richard’s field guide to stick structures may be found here: Forest signs of the Sasquatch