Searching for Sasquatch in Provo Canyon:
I was deep up Provo Canyon around 3 am when I let out some whoops and left apples scattered in a perimeter about 150 yards from my camp. I sat up most of the night, my ears and eyes searching the darkness until sleep overtook me.
I awoke early in the morning. Nearby, cowboys were unloading and saddling their horses. The sky was a deep early summer blue. I had slept with my boots on in case I needed to move fast. The night had brought no interruptions. I walked my perimeter, checking the status of the apples; they were all there. I looked for signs, footprints, snapped branches at the eight-foot and higher levels, and I sniffed the air for strange odors.
I avoided the paths of man and instead followed game trails to higher elevations. I took note of my surroundings so as not to get lost. By a stream, I found a divot. It appeared that fingers had uprooted a large clump of grass in one pull. I could clearly see the lines where four fingers penetrated the earth. Nearby I found a large tuft of coarse red hair. It was about four inches thick and six inches long. This was no fox tail. I took photos and moved on. Had I already met Dr. Jeff Meldrum, I would have bagged it and taken it to him to be DNA tested.
Lava Hot Springs
A few weeks later, I was in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. I was relaxing in a local secret hot spring after a great evening of music and beers. Some cowboys were sharing beers with me as we conversed about our lives — mine as a traveling country singer and theirs chasing eight long seconds under incandescent rodeo lights.
I asked them what they thought of Bigfoot. “Oh, Sasquatch?” one of them exclaimed, letting loose of his grip on the cowgirl of the night. “My uncle’s got a ranch in New Mexico. He has seen one.” Another cowboy piped in, “If you go to Pocatello, you gotta talk to Dr. Meldrum.” It just so happened that I was bound for Pocatello the very next morning.
Meeting Dr. Jeff Meldrum
Dr. Jeff Meldrum is considered by many to be the world’s preeminent expert on Sasquatch. He is an expert on early hominids and bipedalism. If someone claimed a track was from a Bigfoot, he can tell in seconds if it’s a fake. When I met him at his lab at Idaho State, he showed me the world’s largest collection of Sasquatch foot plaster casts. They come from all over the world. “What you want to look for is dermal ridges, similar to those made by a human fingerprint or footprint. You want to look for a mid-tarsal break,” he tells me.
Dr. Meldrum was kind enough to take two hours out of his day and allow me to barrage him with questions. We talked DNA, blood, hair, footprints, signs. We talked all things Sasquatch. Dr. Meldrum spoke to me of an ancient creature called Gigantopithecus, the largest primate that ever lived. It walked the earth as recently as one hundred thousand years ago. In the grand scheme, that’s practically yesterday. This creature or its relatives would be a prime candidate for a modern-day Sasquatch.
I left Dr. Meldrum’s office, pleased with the calm rationality with which he approaches his subject. I only hope that if I ever encounter the North American Great Ape, that I too will be as calm and collected and get that elusive photo all Squatchers dream about.