The rural forests of the Pacific Northwest are a daunting and labyrinthian sea of trees that undoubtedly house many dark secrets, one of which may or may not be the crafty, camera-shy Sasquatch.
Jermy, a Sasquatch hunting expert, knows this about as well as his name is ridiculous.
“They spelled my name [ed: Jeremy] wrong on the birth certificate and didn’t give me no last name neither,” Jermy explained. “But I never changed it outta respect for ‘em.”
Jermy, a 42-year-old Skamania County resident who would prefer we not share his name with you (though we did anyway), lost his parents in a house fire when he was a teenager. Although his parents’ home was in a densely populated suburban neighborhood far from the deep forests of Washington state, Jermy maintains that they were actually murdered by the elusive Sasquatch and not burned alive because they fell asleep while smoking cigarettes in bed. Jermy now makes it his life’s work to track down Bigfoot and exact his revenge.
Hunting Bigfoot is serious business for the man, but even so Jermy was kind enough to take us along on a trek to hunt for the elusive creature. After making us roll naked in mud to mask our “city scent,” we found ourselves on a miles-long hike through the deep forest north of Washougal, Washington, a popular stomping ground for Sasquatch, according to our guide.
“To all the naysayers who read your magazine or whatever, I say that Sasquatch has to exist. The proof is all around us.” At this point Jermy raised his arms and spun around, pointing to the dense forest that surrounded us. “There wouldn’t be no woods here if not for him. Ya see, he plants the trees.”
Jermy raised several such enlightening points on our journey into the forest. Though we never spotted a Sasquatch or anything more than a few squirrels and crows, Jermy told us more than enough stories of adventure and intrigue to sate our Bigfoot-hunting palates. One such anecdote took place on a life-altering night drive.
“I was driving through them woods up north and east of Seattle. It was real dark and I couldn’t see nothin’ but the road in front of me and the tree branches all whippin’ past me on either side. And that’s all I did see that night. I never saw no Sasquatch because they know not to cross the road when any cars are comin’. They know that you’re comin’ before you even know you’re comin’. And that’s the night I realized: These Sasquatches is smart. Think about it. D’you boys see any Sasquatch on our drive up here?”
We responded negatively.
“Proof,” Jermy said.
“Can you honestly say the lack of seeing a Bigfoot on the road is proof of his existence?” we asked.
“Bigfoot? Yer kiddin’ me, right? There ain’t no such thing as a Bigfoot. Sasquatch, on the other hand, now he’s real,” Jermy said. “Ya know where the name Sasquatch comes from, ya city slickers? The official scientific name Sasquatch is derived from the Halkomelem word Sésquac, meaning wild man. The vulgar term ‘Bigfoot’ is disrespectful for Sasquatch hunters of my ilk. Show some gat’dang respect.”
Jermy may be an experienced hunter who knows the woods like the back of his meaty paws, but he doesn’t rely on his wits alone. Though he seemed hesitant, Jermy gave us an exclusive look at his arsenal of surveillance equipment.
He uses standard video cameras that record straight to video cassette, as well as a “night vision” flashlight, mousetraps and darts he has stolen from bars over the years that have been dipped in NyQuil.
His favorite tool for tracking Bigfoot is a device he calls the Floatograph, which is pretty much just a fancy way of saying a second-hand weather balloon with a plastic one-time-use camera he bought at Goodwill attached to it. The idea is that the balloon is launched into the sky where it hovers over the canopy of the forest in the hopes that it will capture the nocturnal activities of the monster. Despite Jermy’s failure to realize that the camera is not digital nor capable of automatically taking photographs, he maintains that the Sasquatch is at fault for deleting all of the Floatograph’s pictures with aid from psychic powers.
“One night last week I got woke up from my slumber in a real cold sweat by the sound of some terrible screechin’. I raced down the trail, but what I thought was the howls of a wounded Sasquatch was actually the boisterous matin’ sounds of two North American black bears.”
Not all of his adventures have brought him closer to Bigfoot, however. Perhaps the most heartbreaking moment for Jermy since losing his parents was when he attended Sasquatch Fest 2013, assuming it to be the secret meeting place for all Sasquatches. Thinking that he had outsmarted Bigfoot once and for all, Jermy burst into tears amidst a crowd of 20-somethings while “some shit-assed kids [ed: Vampire Weekend] sang some song about that Mexico drink [ed: Horchata].”
“Ya know, I may never find ‘im, but gat’dang, I know he’s out there. Y’all ever hear a’that guy Oxum [ed. Occam]? He’s got this razor, see, which is a fancy way of sayin’ the simplest somethin’ is better than some complicated somethin’ or whatever. You think all them peoples who been seein’ him been makin’ it all up? It’s much more simpler just’ta believe it’s all the true: Sasquatch is real.”
After several hours and miles hiking through the woods, we returned to civilization in defeat. Unable to find Bigfoot in the wilderness, we departed nature to drown our failure at Jermy’s favorite bar, the conveniently named Sasquatch’s Speakeasy.
Behind the bar stood a monolith of a man, easily 6 feet 5 inches and covered in hair. From under his knit cap, flowing hair cascaded down and met with a beard that would put Tolstoy to shame. The sleeves of his flannel were rolled back showing long, lanky arms where hair grew so thick it was impossible to see naked flesh. The large creature grinned at us and slid an ice cold brew down the stand.
“I haven’t caught ‘im yet,” said Jermy, just as he caught the beer, “but I’ll get ‘im one day. I’ll hunt down that Sasquatch if it takes my whole gat’dang life.”