Willow Creek, forty miles east of Arcata, is the self-proclaimed gateway to “Bigfoot Country”. Reports of giant 350- to 800-pound humanoids wandering the forests of northwestern California have circulated since the late nineteenth century, fuelled by long-established Native American legends, but weren’t taken seriously until 1958, when a road maintenance crew found giant footprints. Thanks to their photos, the Bigfoot story went worldwide. However, in 2002, the bereaved family of Ray L. Wallace claimed he made the 1958 footprints, a hoax they had promised to keep secret until after his death. But the number and variety of prints (more than forty, since 1958) still points to a Bigfoot mystery, and the small Willow Creek-China Flat Museum (bigfootcountry.net) in Willow Creek has details of Bigfoot’s alleged activities, as well as local Native American artefacts.

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