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By Annette Jordan
The Uwharrie National Forest covers over 50,645 acres in Randolph, Montgomery and Davidson counties.
A haven for campers and hikers, it has a reputation for winding trails, teeming wildlife, trickling streams and hauntingly beautiful vistas.
Over the years, I’ve had folks tell me it has a reputation for being hauntingly different in other ways. Folklorists spin yarns of a headless horseman legend. UFO enthusiasts spy mysterious orbs of light hovering above the forest or bouncing through the woods. And then there’s folks like Lee Woods, of Asheboro, who prowl the forest in search of another kind of creature, the legendary Bigfoot.
Does Bigfoot exist? And does he indeed roam our national forest?
Those who claim to have evidence of his existence have been featured on Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot.” Another episode is planned for later this year featuring Woods.
For more than seven years, Woods and his buddies have camped out, equipped with audio equipment and cameras, hoping to snare evidence even doubting Thomases can’t ignore. Among the items they’ve accumulated: An audio of inhuman screams taped about 4 in the morning, a thick pelt of coarse brown and black fur stuck in tree bark six feet off the ground (that hunters swear couldn’t belong to a bear or deer); huge human-like footprints photographed in the dirt; and once a blurred photo of a tall creature peeking from behind a tree trunk.
But they have never spotted Bigfoot up close.