Yes, this track is real! It’s a depression in the ground, and as such is a physical fact. But was it made by Sasquatch? That’s the sixty-four dollar question. With virtually all tracks attributed to Sasquatch, we don’t have a film or video record of what actually made the track at the time the track was made. We have to infer what might have made the track after the event.
First off, the track in question was part of a series videotaped by Paul Freeman. An edited portion of this video surfaced some years ago in a TV and DVD documentary entitled Legend Meets Science, produced by Doug Hajicek. The video that this screen grab was taken from was recently uploaded to YouTube, and contains shots of a trackway that appears very ‘Squatchy.
One track in particular caught my eye, and it appears at about 43 seconds into the video. The track contrasts strongly with the surrounding forest litter, as there is very little debris in the track itself. To me it appears to have been excavated rather than created by compression. I came to this conclusion because some years earlier I had made various tests using large prosthetic feet. One test I performed in my front yard. As you can see in my photo, there is plenty of green moss and fine vegetation in both the bottom of the track and the soil surrounding it. I made this track by repeatedly stomping on a Ray Wallace style wooden prosthetic. If you look closely you can see an impression of my own size 12 shoe to the right of the track.
Various details can be gleaned from this simple test, but the obvious one here is that a compressive event, such as a heavy mass pressing into the earth should mash the vegetation in with it, and the vegetation should remain. From this I would conclude that the track seen in the Freeman video was not made by a singular or even multiple compressive event, and as such cannot be attributed to an animal.
I’m not the only person who concluded that Paul Freeman’s tracks were fake. In 2005 a fascinating book entitled Tracker was published by Joel Hardin (ISBN 0-9753460-0-8) which included a chapter entitled Tracks of Bigfoot. Hardin details personally investigating a trackway associated with Paul Freeman in the Mill Creek watershed near Walla Walla, Washington in 1982. Hardin devoted 20 pages to detailing an extensive onsite investigation into this trackway. Unlike me, Hardin is a professional tracker, and perhaps not surprisingly concluded that the trackway was fake. It’s an excellent book, and deserves wider recognition within both the Bigfoot and skeptic communities. After reading Hardin’s book, the notion that an 8 foot tall monster could wander the North American continent and remain impossible to track becomes rather ludicrous.
Despite Hardin’s professional appraisal, the evidence put forth by Freeman has been taken quite seriously by Bigfoot advocate Jeff Meldrum, who devoted a considerable portion of his 2006 book Sasquatch Legend Meets Science (ISBN 0-765-31216-6) to arguing that Freeman’s evidence was real.