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Jaime Avalos, Bigfoot Tracker

I attended Oregon's first Sasquatch Symposium in Eugene this past weekend, and it was fantastic. All the speakers I saw were great, including of course, Autumn Williams. On her very excellent and important presentation, more to come at a later time, as well as many of the other presenters.

I got to meet Craig Woolheater and Sharon Lee, both very nice and real people. I was disappointed I couldn't attend all the events but hopefully next year! And I do hope there's a "next year" -- Toby Johnson, the coordinator, did a fantastic job putting all this together. Planning events like this is not easy, as anyone knows who's been involved in such things.

One of the presenters I want to discuss is Jaime Avalos. Avalos has an amazing and varied background, which is posted on his YouTube channel. He's an emergency room RN, ex-Marine, taught water safety in the military, and much more.

Jaime came up on the stage dressed in gear; all black, complete with backpack, walking staff, goggles. He looked a little intimidating. But it was a good way of getting his point across to field researchers -- experienced and newbies alike. Jaime explained his points: wear black, so you're consistent. You're not wearing red one day, blue the next, but black, which makes it easy to blend in the shadows. Wearing black consistently serves the purpose of having the wildlife get used to your presence.

Another point that can't be stressed enough: patience. Patience is key. If you can't be patient when looking for Sasquatch you're missing the point, and you'll probably never see one. Wait. Listen. Pay attention to the signals, the behavior, of all the animals around you.

Avalos made it clear that clanging around while looking for Bigfoot is stupid. (I don't think he said "stupid" he was very precise but also diplomatic.) I've been commenting on this for a long time; every time I see a documentary on Bigfoot, there are researchers out there doing the stupidest things. They're banging around, talking, blasting calls, tree or wood knocking, roaring up in motor boats and vehicles...doesn't it seem obvious Bigfoot knows you're around long before you've arrived?

Avalos said researchers need to be quiet, as well as patient. If you must talk to the people with you, do it by moving water. Moving water, such as a stream or waterfall, disguises sound.

Another point: do not carry a gun. Carrying a gun, he says, puts you in a different frame of mind, whether you consciously have a negative intent or not Simply the act of carrying a gun with you changes your mind set, and that is conveyed to the environment around you. Carrying a gun changes behavior. Avalos compared this to driving a car. Some people, when behind the wheel, become almost a different person; more nervous, or agitated, defensive, angry, etc.

As to call blasting and wood knocking, which you almost always see people doing on Bigfoot documentaries, don't do it, Avalos says. "We don't know what we're saying," when we thump trees with sticks, clank rocks together, or play, in the middle of the night at loud volumes, calls of Bigfoot and other animals. Sure, Bigfoot might knock back, but why? What is it Bigfoot thinks we're saying to it in the first place?

Avalos is serious (not to say he didn't seem like a warm and funny person, and he's obviously a kind person, given his medical work in Latin America, helping people who can't afford the medical they need ) but about searching for Bigfoot, he is intense. He suggests fasting before going out, because this puts you in a heightened state of awareness. Disguising the scent of what little food you bring with you is a good idea as well, he said.

Patience, quiet, respect, listening. That will bring success in your search for seeing a Sasquatch.

Seem like excellent advice.