MOSES LAKE — Rick Graser has no doubts about what he heard that Friday afternoon fishing in the Quinault Indian Reservation.
“Reuben (Estavillo), our Indian guide, wanted to drop the anchor and fish the spot a little longer, take a breath and talk,” said Graser, a retired fishing guide, former professional baseball player and long time Moses Lake resident.
It was March 1, around 3 p.m.
“It was a beautiful day,” Graser added.
And then Graser, along with Estavillo, fishing lure designer James Beasley and magazine editor Nick Amato heard it — a very loud “powwww-whoop!” that echoed through the gorge.
Not just once. Or twice. But three times.
“I heard it first, couldn’t make out the noise over the motor, and just as (Reuben) turned off the motor, it ended,” Graser said.
So, they sat quietly in their boat, listening to the wind, waiting to hear that sound again.
A little more than two minutes later, they heard it again. That loud “powwww-whoop!”
“I said, ‘That’s a Bigfoot,’” Graser said. “No doubt for me what I heard. As sure as I’m alive, speaking to you right now, I know what I heard.”
And then, about five minutes later, from much farther away, came the sound again, much fainter this time, as if someone — or something — was answering.
“Oh wow, this is some serious stuff,” Graser said.
“We heard it twice,” said Beasley, owner of Port Angeles-based Wicked Lures and the reason the four were out in the Quinault wilderness to begin with. “It was so loud it almost hit you in the chest coming through the tree line.”
“It was very strange, very clear, very loud in a very remote place,” said Amato, editor of Salmon Trout Steelheader magazine and himself not a believer in Bigfoot. “I’ve never heard anything like it.
“We were just sitting in the boat, chitchatting, and we all heard it,” said Estavillo, who has lived, hiked and hunted on the Quinault Reservation for most of his life. “It didn’t sound like an owl, or cougar, it wasn’t an elk or a coyote. It was more like vocal chords.”
“I don’t know what made the noise,” Estavillo continued. “There are a lot of Bigfoot sightings here. People hear them, people see them.”
Like Estavillo himself, who said he came upon a Sasquatch walking across a logging road a few years ago.
“At first I thought it was an evergreen tree broken in the middle of the road,” he said. “Then it walked to my right, and I could see it as it walked into the woods.”
Although Graser has never seen a Bigfoot, he is a believer, and has been interested in Sasquatch since he first read about the creature in a 1969 issue of Reader’s Digest. He has met the legendary Bob Gimlin, who along with Roger Patterson shot in northern California the famous 1967 short film of a tall, hairy creature many believe to be Bigfoot, and even has a plaster cast of a Sasquatch footprint that had proudly displays in his den along with a sporting goods store worth of rods and reels.
While no one recorded the sound that day, Graser and Beasley — a former professional musician who claims to have perfect pitch — recreated the sound, and then had it compared with other alleged Bigfoot “whoops.” And it’s nearly identical to other recordings, Graser said.
“When I heard it, I was in awe of what I heard, and immediately knew what I heard,” Graser said. “Two emotions just crashed in on me, and I felt kind of light-headed for a second. I can’t believe I heard that.”
“It was a life-changing event,” Graser added.”The power of the voice, for as far away as it was. If you hear it, you will know what it is. There’s no doubt.”
Graser hopes what happened to him will help in the continued search for Bigfoot.
“I want it to be known that they are out there,” he said. “So we can find out what they are. For science.”
“I want to prove it,” Graser added.