Look closely to the right side of Ape Canyon. That’s @rehanah! While spectacular for its botanical and geologic features, the Ape Canyon and Plains of Abraham trail on Mt. St. Helens also has a humorous cultural history behind its name. In 1924 a group of mountain miners were allegedly attacked from above by “apemen” while ascending the canyon. Fred Beck, one of the miners, later became famous in local lore for his ape sightings. His tales, along with many more, represent the Northwest’s fascination with “Bigfoot” encounters. However, the attack in 1924 was more likely a troop of rowdy boys who were simply throwing rocks. Still, the name stuck and many visitors to the pre-eruption mountain claimed to see Bigfoot tracks in the snow. Again, more likely, they were seeing the farcical ploy of Harry Randall Truman. Famous for his refusal to evacuate his cabin in the bast zone in 1980, Truman loved to hike in the snow with large foot prints attached to his ski poles, perpetuating the mythology of Bigfoot. It took many to create the legend of Bigfoot and many more choose to believe in it. The legends reflect much more about us than the elusive and mythical furry creature we’ve created. Still, Ape Canyon and the Truman trail are places where the mythology of Bigfoot first appeared on the mountain.
Join me in interpreting history outdoors. Look around and discover history in the real world! #outdoorhistory (at Mt St Helen’s National Monument)