It is Sasquatch summer again; the time of year where I make my way to the mountains and the forests to commune with Nature. This year, I ventured out to ECETI and when I arrived the staff left me a present on my bed – it was a Washington State customized license plate with the word “BIGFOOT” emblazoned over a mountain scene.

For those who don’t know, I saw what appeared to be a Bigfoot at the ECETI compound on a Sunday morning just before I was ready to leave for home. There were at least two other witnesses to the appearance and a cast of the foot of what appeared to be a juvenile Bigfoot was taken at the ranch.

This is common in the area because there are two counties in Washington that have the most Bigfoot activity.

During a get together at the cabin at the compound, I was speaking to award winning director Vince Ynzunza about the projects he was involved with. He was talking about all kinds of weird topics that he was interested in and he also told me about a map that he found that linked Bigfoot sighting areas to the path of totality during the last eclipse.

Joshua Stevens, a cartographer for NASA developed a map of the August 21 total solar eclipse matched up with reported sightings of Bigfoot, he called it his Sunsquatch map.

Using data from the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, Stevens plotted known Bigfoot sightings and then highlighted the ones that appear in the eclipse’s path of totality.

Every state in the path of totality had at least one sighting of Bigfoot.

In fact, a week before the eclipse there was a sighting in Boone, North Carolina. There was footage of the creature that was taken by an anxious videographer whose dog even chased after it.

The Greenville, North Carolina police issued a Tweet saying that if you see a Bigfoot at all, do not shoot it. Even South Carolina issued a peculiar statement asking people to watch out for Lizard Man and Bigfoot during the eclipse.

NASA may not be fully in the loop on South Carolina’s “Lizard Man,” but their Scientific Visualization Center did publish “Sunsquatch,” map where you could potentially see the eclipse and “bigfoot” at the same time.

In the area that was actually on the edge of totality on the map are the Washington State counties where Bigfoot is seen in Washington. Of course, that area is where ECETI is.

The area of Klickitat and Skamania counties in Washington State were recognized 45 years ago as a refuge for Bigfoot. The Skamania County Sasquatch Refuge is actually the closest thing to official government recognition the creature has ever had. In Skamania County, it is illegal to kill a Sasquatch.

Skamania County, Washington is nestled in the center of the Columbia River Gorge, which serves as the dividing line between the states of Washington and Oregon. With towering Douglas Furs, and lush, green wilderness, the people of Skamania County have had a long relationship with the outdoors and an even longer relationship with Sasquatch with sightings and encounters going as far back as the legends of the Selahtik Indians.

Native American Indian tribes have talked about these creatures for centuries. White settlers have recorded their presence as well and the stories have continued throughout history.

The natives of the area would report that a band of ape like creatures living in the caves along the Cascade Mountain range, would attack all who passed by.

A Bigfoot flap in 1969 prompted authorities to pass what has become known as The Bigfoot Law, making it a felony to kill Sasquatch. Commissioner Chair Conrad Lundy, Jr., and Prosecuting Attorney Robert Leick signed the ordinance into law. The fact that it was adopted on April 1 did not escape people’s attention.

However, City Commissioners maintained that this wasn’t a gag. “Although this ordinance was adopted on April 1, this is not an April Fool’s Day joke,” Commissioner Lundy told the Skamania County Pioneer at the time, “there is reason to believe that such an animal exists.”

The region was featured prominently in an episode of the 1970’s TV show, In Search Of, where the city officials involved maintained the legitimacy of passing such an ordinance.

The ordinance was reviewed by the county and redefined in 1984, reducing the penalties from $10,000 or 5 years in jail, to $1,000 or 1 year in jail, but the revisions also declared Sasquatch as an endangered species living in Skamania County. As Prosecuting Attorney Leick summed up, “I think Sasquatches are at least as important as the spotted owl.”

Skamania County still receives several Sasquatch sightings a year, and has hosted several Sasquatch related festivals in the past.

I am going to busy again this weekend as I am heading out To Kennewick, Washington for the International Bigfoot Conference. While Kennewick is not necessarily a Bigfoot town – they are famous for the area where the controversial Kennewick man was found.

The Kennewick Man was described as having more Caucasoid features than the modern Natives in the area where he was found.

There were many ethnic groups that colonized the New World. Some scientists believe that, in addition to those who came from Siberia through the Bering Strait, people may have come from Europe by following the heavy ice sheets surrounding Greenland. There have been some theories that the Yeti migrated from parts of Russia across the Bering Strait to the Pacific Northwest. This is why the most Bigfoot sightings have happened in Alaska, Vancouver, British Columbia, the island clusters surrounding Vancouver Island, Washington State, Oregon, and Northern California.

While there are no direct Sasquatch connections to the Kennewick Man, it does suggest that primitive men made journeys to the new world using the oceans and land passes to migrate.

This rekindled an interest in the works of the late Lloyd Pye who was actually the man who squashed my skepticism about Bigfoot.

In his book, “Everything You Know is Wrong” he explained Bigfoot in such a way that to me was an attempt to scientifically prove its existence. There were no supernatural or dimensional theories that were presented and soon I was back to believing in the possibility of an intelligent, migratory mountain ape that has still been elusive to this day.

Back in 2015, it was reported that two partial skeletons were found in a South African cave of a previously unknown species. The discovery team named them Australopithecus Sediba. The discoverers claimed they contained elements of both the apelike hominids from which man is believed to be descended, known as Australopithecus, and early modern humans.

One of the fossils is of a male child, eight or nine years old, while the other is of an adult female in her late 20s or early 30s. They are dated between 1.95 million and 1.78 million years old , and reveal a species with long legs and a sophisticated hip bone, making them able to walk and stride like humans. But they also still had the strong hands and long arms more reminiscent of primates.

Both were just over four feet tall, with the female weighing in around 70 pounds and the child around 55 pounds.

Although small, their brains appear to have been more advanced than other similar species.

As we have been told countless times, the human story seems relatively straightforward.

It began roughly 5.5 to 6.5 million years ago, somewhere in an east African forest, with a chimpanzee-like ape. Some of its descendants would eventually evolve into modern chimps. Others left the forest for the savannah. They learned to walk on two legs and, in doing so, launched our own hominin lineage.

By about 4 million years ago, the bipedal apes had given rise to a successful but still primitive group called the australopiths, thought to be our direct ancestors. The most famous of them, dubbed Lucy, was discovered in the mid-1970s and given arch-grandmother status. By 2 million years ago, some of her descendants had grown larger brains and longer legs to become the earliest “true” human species, Homo erectus.

This new combination of human and ape traits always leads to the “official” conclusion that the creatures in question have to be “prehuman” because they walk upright.

Lloyd Pye believed that it would make just as much sense to claim they were upright walking primates. Why? Because the exact same type of creatures are found in the fossil record for millions of years, to well beyond Lucy at 3.2 million years ago.

Dating back to the 1920’s sightings of the entity called the Sasquatch in Canada and Bigfoot in the United States raised issues about the possibility that a small group of hominids existed that had aboriginal roots and were quite possibly wild men that lived in the forests of the Northwest.

From 1925 to 1958 if any one of these entities were seen, it was generally believed to be a Sasquatch.

In 1958, the word “Bigfoot” came about in the United States. It had been around before then, but was not wide-spread. As a result of the foregoing, the degree of “humanness” or “apeness” depended on which hominid was sighted. When people describe something that d it not fully fit the “traditional sasquatch” in appearance, the standard reply from sasquatch/bigfoot researchers would be, “That’s not the creature we are looking for.

I believe that in the beginning, science was hot on the trail of a living breathing “missing link.” This is the reason why most of the research that was done by hunters and regular researchers was dismissed and later rendered to a tabloid status.

Over the past 15 years, almost every part of our story, every assumption about who our ancestors were and where we came from, has been called into question. The new insights have some unsettling implications for how long we have walked the earth, and even who we really are. It also calls into question the DNA make up of humans and whether or not specimens of Neanderthal, Homo erectus, or Homo heidelbergensis are still among us. Whether they are a mixed breed or a remaining record of Gigantopithecus is anyone’s guess.

Every year, we hear how close we are to finding evidence of Bigfoot and simultaneously we are seeing strange new species showing up or they are at least detected in the fossil record and in the DNA strands.

All of this has called into question every assumption about who we are and where we came from. It turns out our evolution is more baffling than we thought.