Now, Dad was quite a man, and being an ex-serviceman who had gone ashore on D-Day, he wasn’t scared of much, but I remember one time his face turned white with fear. We had been contacted by a company that wanted to send two big tracked backhoes away up north in Manitoba to Leaf Rapids. So dad looked at the maps and figured out a price, and away we went. The Backhoes were used but still fairly new, and we had no problems loading them at the auction site just outside Toronto and tied them down extra well.
Toronto to Winnipeg was no problem, and as this was in September. The leaves were all turning, traffic was light, and it was a great drive with both trucks running well and only one flat on an outside dual to slow things down. We ended up spending the night in Winnipeg and headed north the following day. It was a beautiful Autumn morning with lots of sunshine and fairly warm temperatures. We were not travelling too fast and ended up spending the next night in Thompson. The next morning, after a good breakfast and a thorough inspection of the trucks and loads, we headed out a little late, but we didn’t have far to go so we were not too worried.
I was following Dad, and just as we came to Tumbelling Lake, Dad spotted a little pullout and pulled off to the side. I pulled right in behind him. He hopped out of the truck, waved at me with a roll of toilet paper in his hand and said, “I’m just going to step into the tree line and do a job, be right back.” I hollered at him to take the shotgun in case of bears, but he was halfway to the trees and yelled back, “I’ll be OK. You can come running with the rifle if you hear me yell.”
I got out, watered a tire, and was standing beside the truck when I heard the un-godliest roar I had ever heard. I turned and saw Dad, pants still halfway down, come out of the bush and head for the truck on the dead run. He yelled at me to get the rifle, and I jumped in my truck, grabbed the 30-30 and hopped back out. I could not see anything, but there was a big old pine tree just about where Dad had been, so I fired a shot into the tree just in case a bear was behind him to scare it off. Dad managed to get his pants up, hopped up into his truck, came back out with my pump shotgun, and stood by the truck. His face was as white as snow. I ran up to him and asked him what had happened. He told me that he was just wiping his butt when he turned, and about ten feet away, he saw the largest brown bear he had ever seen. He said that when it stood up from a crouch (his words), the darn thing was about 10 feet tall, making the roar I had heard. We stood there for a couple of minutes, then hopped in our trucks, and took off.
Later as we unloaded, Dad told some of the locals at Leaf Rapids what had happened. They told him that it was not a bear. It was a Bigfoot. I casually mentioned that they might want to watch their outhouses as Dad had left ¾’s of a roll of toilet paper behind, and Bigfoot might just get used to the softness.