INVESTIGATING THE HAIRY MAN OF OZ
Does a bigfoot-like creature roam the coastal mountains of eastern Australia? In April and July of this year I was finally able to investigate the Yowie phenomenon some twenty years after first hearing about it.
My first stop was Springbrook National Park which is located 25km west of Coolangatta on the Gold Coast.The dominant habitat here is subtropical rainforest and the region has a history of regular sightings since the late seventies.
Unfortunately,the area was hit by a storm about a month prior to my arrival resulting in damage and closure to the 15km Warrie circuit which I had hoped to explore.I was therefore limited to a couple of shorter but still very interesting trails.Luckily enough I did encounter two veteran park rangers clearing debris and I was able to have a lengthy discussion about Yowies in the area.
They were both extremely skeptical and after years of working in the bush they had encountered nothing nor found any signs or evidence to indicate that a massive creature resembling a bipedal gorilla inhabited the region.They did say that most of the recent reports were coming from the semi-rural Hinze Dam area just north of the park. However,one of them added that a good friend had spotted a Yowie a few years back while hiking up the infamous Mount Warning,which is just a two-hour drive south.
After a week of camping and exploring the the trails it was time to head for the coast for some sight-seeing.My final thoughts on leaving were that the area was just not “wild” enough to conceal a breeding population of large hominoids, even if they were nocturnal and semi-nomadic as it is widely believed.
Some ten weeks later I boarded a plane for Sydney,the goal this time was to explore the southern portion of the Blue Mountains and set up a couple of trail cams which I would then retrieve two weeks later. After a fair bit of research and several email exchanges with local Yowie enthusiasts, I decide to focus my efforts on the bush-walking and fire trails near the vicinity of Springwood. The forests around this town on the Blue Mountains Line, have long been considered to be the number one hot spot for Yowie sightings in the country.Local residents have been encountering large creatures with glowing red for almost four decades and some have even claimed habituation with the beasts.
The weather conditions were perfect for long hikes,with highs around +15C and evening lows around +3C. Most of the Blue Mountains are classified as a wet eucalyptus forest but the more exposed sections have a very dry and somewhat arid appearance.However,the deeper gullies are dark and damp and can be bit menacing when explored for the first time.
After purchasing detailed maps of the area I set out on some very long bush walks in search of ideal cam spots.After a week of hiking through some beautiful and moderately challenging trails I selected two locations that I thought a large creature might just potentially pass through ,I then flew up north to the Townsville.Two weeks later I was back to retrieve my trail cams and to my amazement I had recorded more than 600 photos.After quickly playing back the pics I was quite surprised that only a feral cat showed up on one of them.Strangely enough my bait (pieces of fruit) was completely untouched, as I had hoped to at least catch some forest wallabies in action.
If these present day sightings and aboriginal legends are to be believed then what exactly are we dealing with?Since there are no primates in the Land Down Under the likelihood of a creature related to a gorilla or orang utan or some robust form of Homo erectus is probably nil.
The best theory I have heard was put forward by a local researcher who hypothesized that Yowies were a relic population of Australian mega fauna.Large marsupial creatures that have survived to this day and and through convergent evolution superficially resemble large gorillas that primarily locomote bipedally.Sounds very plausible and it would explain the three and four-toed tracks and claw markings on trees that are found from time to time.
Alternatively,we could be dealing with something a bit more sinister but I will leave that hypothesis for another day. (Mr. Dan)
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