5 Unsolved Mountain Mysteries in the Western United States
The Mountains of the U.S West Coast, or the Pacific Coast Ranges, are a popular destination for hiking and camping recreation. From the volcanoes of Washington to the Grand Sierra Nevada mountains of California, hikers, campers, and adventurers alike have crossed many of these beautiful peaks for generations.
However, these beautiful mountains hold terrible secrets. There have been many legends and mysteries surrounding the mountains of the west coast.
From planes being swallowed up by the mountains, never to be seen again, to mysterious creatures that roam the wilderness, here are five unsolved mysteries surrounding the Mountains of the West Coast.
Bigfoot – a Well-known Mysterious Creature
Bigfoot is a well-known creature that haunts the mountains and forests of the west coast. Many hikers have claimed to have seen a large, ape-like creature wander around areas of isolated wilderness.
Witnesses claim that the creature moves with the gait and stature of a man but was covered in a thick coat of hair from head to feet. The creature had distinct apes-like features, such as long arms, a flat, sloping forehead, large feet, and height more enormous than an average man.
Bigfoot has many photos and videos, but one of Bigfoot’s most famous sightings ever recorded was Patterson-Gimlin Film. In 1967, Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin spotted a large, bipedal ape creature while on a hike in Bluff Creek. The pair had a camera with them and recorded their encounter with the creature. The Bigfoot was large, hairy, walked on its hind legs, and had breasts. The filmmakers speculate the creature to be a female Bigfoot.
Both men went public with their recording, and interest in Bigfoot intensified. Many more recordings and pictures of the creature surfaced, some plausibly authentic while others were obvious hoaxes.
Despite the creature being one of the world’s most famous unknown creatures, we are still no closer to any answers to its existence. Witnesses and Bigfoot experts genuinely believe that Bigfoot exists, and new evidence is found to this day. Skeptics argue that the creature doesn’t exist and that the evidence and alleged sightings were either clever hoaxes or mistaking bears or other furry animals to be Bigfoot.
The Nevada Triangle
Dubbed The Bermuda Triangle of the Sierra Nevada, The Nevada Triangle covers 25,000 miles of land and mountains that have been the site of nearly 2,000 aircraft disappearances in the past 70 years.
The triangle starts from Reno, Nevada at the top of the triangle, down to Fresno, California in the south, then to Las Vegas in the East, then rounding back to Reno again in the northwest.
The Area 51 military base near Vegas and the China Lake Weapons Testing site southeast of Fresno border the triangle. Both bases have their own share of conspiracy theories about UFOs and government disappearances.
Of the thousands of planes lost to the triangle, one of the most well-known is that of the Disappearance of Steve Fossett. Steve Fossett was a renowned experienced aviator and adventurer. He held many world records to his name, many of them world records involving flying worldwide.
Fossett disappeared in the Nevada Triangle on September 3, 2007, while piloting a small plane. It wasn’t until next year in September when hikers found his Identification Card in the Sierra Nevada. The authorities found his crash site shortly after. Fossett’s only remains are two pieces of bone found half a mile from the crash site.
It is still a mystery today why the Nevada Triangle has claimed so many planes over the decades. Some claim the military bases are to blame for the disappearances; others say that area has a powerful, possible extraterrestrial force residing in it, while skeptics blame the area’s mountains and frequent poor weather for the crashes.
The Disappearance of Derrick Engebretson
Derrick Engebretson, an 8-year-old child, disappeared in Winema National Forest near Rocky Point, Oregon, on December 5, 1998. On the day of his disappearance, he, his father, and his grandfather were out in the mountainous wilderness to look for a Christmas tree for their family home.
It was only in the late afternoon of that day when his family noticed he was missing. They then immediately reported him missing to the authorities, but it was too late by the time they got there. The winter weather had intensified into a blizzard, slowing down the search effort to find the boy.
Although the authorities found tracks and even a snow angel near the disappearance site, they never found the boy. Many claim that the boy had died from the harsh conditions of the mountainous Winema National Forest during the winter.
However, Engebretson’s parents contend that their child was used to traversing steep terrain and spent much of his childhood hiking and camping in the mountains.
As the investigation continued, new evidence seemed to suggest that Engebretson was kidnapped. A bookmark, candy wrappers, and some blood were all found near where Derrick went missing. A witness stepped forward, claiming to have seen a man struggling with a young boy near the disappearance site the same day Engebretson disappeared. There were also additional reports of a suspicious man driving around the area of Engebretson’s disappearance.
Frank J. Milligan, a man guilty of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy in Dallas, was a suspect in Engebretson’s disappearance. However, the detectives couldn’t bring anything new to light from investigating Milligan.
Mount St. Helen
The great volcano of Mount St. Helen in southwestern Washington is responsible for one of the deadliest eruptions in American history when it erupted in 1980. Due to its infamy, geologists and volcanologists have studied and monitored the slumbering volcano for decades to prepare for another eruption. Simultaneously, risk-taking hikers try to make a name for themselves by climbing such a dangerous and infamous peak.
This volcano holds a secret that scientists have grappled with ever since they laid eyes on it, Mount St. Helen is a volcano that shouldn’t exist.
Mount St. Helens is part of the Cascade Volcano Arc that stretches from Canada to northern California. However, Mount St. Helens is out of line with the rest of the volcanoes in the arc; further adding to the confusion is that Mount St. Helens lies under an area of rock that is too hard and too cold to form lava. Yet, despite this, Mount St. Helens is one of the most active volcanoes in the Cascade Volcano Arc.
Why is Mount St. Helen so active and dangerous? Scientists are still baffled why.
But the answer may come soon. Advances in technology may allow scientists to look at the volcano below to uncover why this dangerous volcano that shouldn’t exist even exists at all.
The Santa Lucia Mountains are home to tall, shadow-like figures that would stalk hikers and travelers on top of trees or ledges. The locals call them “Dark Watchers,” and legends about them existing as far back as early Spanish settlers in California.
Dark Watchers are tall, shadowy figures that appear above cliffs in the Santa Lucia Mountains. The figures appear at dawn or dusk and appear to stare at travelers who observe them.
The early Spanish settlers dubbed them Los Vigilantes Oscuros and they have been the subject of speculation and mystery ever since they were first seen. No one knows what Dark Watchers are. They are like apparitions or spirits, but their true nature remains a mystery. Some claim they are lost spirits or tricksters.
Dark Watchers are given a brief mention in John Steinback’s short story “Flight,” where the protagonist encounters them out in the wilderness but chooses to ignore them, claiming that it is better not to attract the Dark Watcher’s attention by being interested in them.
If you plan on hiking in the Santa Lucia Mountains, be sure to look out for Dark Watchers.
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