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A bigfoot sighting in Northern Kentucky.

woods and trees at night
Northern Kentucky woods. Photo © Julie R. Neidlinger. All rights reserved.

[My sisters, niece, and two grand-nieces recently took a road trip. This is our story.]

Weeds poked up through the rocks in the steep dirt driveway that led to the cabin in the northern Kentucky woods. A van full of six women slowly crunched its way up the narrow drive, crushing the smaller stones under its tires with no small amount of noise. The leader of the group wisely parked the vehicle by backing in next to the cabin so that a fast escape would be easy.

What did she know that the rest did not?

A cozy living space with sofas and bunks, draped in buffalo plaid blankets, brought out all the oohs and aahs as the women piled into the cabin. They felt prepared, both in food supplies and knowledge of concealed carry laws.

The cabin was supposed to have a view. It was late and the sun was dropping much faster than it did back home, thanks to a different latitude and time zone. Distant sounds of thunder lightly rolled across the darkening sky, and a bright splash of lightning from miles away could be seen now and then.

Wisdom would say to wait until morning before exploring the woods of northern Kentucky, especially if you were a flatlander with no knowledge of the area. Yet the beginning of the path near the cabin was faintly visible and all six women threw wisdom aside. It was a lovely night outside, and that warm air beckoned.

Within a few feet, the trail veered sharply upwards, growing steeper and less distinct with each step. One small flashlight and a mobile phone was all that was showing the way as the sun had officially dropped far below the tree line. Thick clay, made slick from recent rain, only added to the difficulty.

“I better not blow out my knee again,” one of the women said, though at least two others were thinking it.

Concentrating on finding stones and sticks for footing on the steep, slick path, no one heard the sound at first. Lost amongst the rustling of the women scrambling to stay upright, grabbing at saplings and bushes in the dark hoping it wasn’t poison ivy or a chigger convention, the thuds and cracking sounds went unnoticed.

Until they stopped to catch their breath. In the silence filled with wheezing and regrets at bad choices, a cracking sound could be heard. It sounded as if a giant was jogging toward them, breaking the kinds of twigs and branches they were using as their lifeline to haul themselves up the steep hill.

“Do they have bears here?”

“I don’t know.”

“Maybe it’s Bigfoot.”

“Why would you say such a thing?”

The cracking noise grew closer.

“We need to get out of here. Whatever that is, it doesn’t sound like it’s out for a leisurely night stroll!”

Turning to head back to the safety of the cabin was the first good idea the women had had in a string of bad ideas leading up to that point, but as any hiker knows, going downhill is actually harder than going up. The slick clay hill only made it worse, and soon, in a panic, the women were tripping and falling as the noise grew closer.

And now it had a peculiar smell. Whatever was bounding towards them in the woods reeked, a mix of fetid body odor, Doritos, skunk, and rot.

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