Campus group aims to find, gather evidence for Bigfoot

By Claire Johnson

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A red shirt with Bigfoot pictured on the front and “believe” written in bold set the tone for a road trip with eight people on Saturday night.

The eight, who are a part of UK’s new Squatchin’ Club, set out on their first official Bigfoot expedition at Red River Gorge. Katie Applegate, president of the club and a senior psychology major, was wearing the Bigfoot shirt  and said she saw a sign at the Gorge a few weeks ago that read, “Warning, sighting of unknown creatures have been spotted within seven miles of Red River Gorge.”

What would normally cause serious hesitation to the average hiker only sparked more interest for the group.

“We could make history,” said Alex Wright, a political science senior and the social media manager for the club.

Wright said the famous primatologist Jane Goodall serves as inspiration to the members. Goodall is a supporter of the belief that Sasquatch exist in North America, according to an interview with NPR in 2006.

“Someone might do it sometime, so why not maybe have it be us?” Wright said about finding a Sasquatch.

Members Garrett Sinnard, Alli Curd and Lilly Neidhardt arrived with the club officers ready to explore. The only light through the trail was provided by their flashlights. In a single file line, members hiked down the narrow trail, stopping every so often to try to communicate with the creature.

Wright  was making calls by banging a baseball bat on a tree trunk, causing an echo through the forest. He said primates use these “wood calls” to communicate through long distances.

Wright said large chimpanzees found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, named Bili Apes, developed a nickname from locals called “tree beaters” because of the noise they would make on the trees to communicate with one another.

Applegate and Wright also called out to the Sasquatch, trying to conjure up a response, while club treasurer James Robinett  took video.

The group discussed how a Sasquatch in Kentucky wouldn’t likely be a classic 8-foot-tall beast.

“You have to think about environment and climate,” Applegate said. The club officers explained that if they encountered one, Bigfoot would be slightly larger than a chimpanzee and built like a strong football player.

While members have researched the topic of their club, the expeditions aren’t just about work.

“My primary goal is to document evidence of Sasquatch, but my secondary goal is to have a good time,” Wright said.

Throughout the hike, they traded stories and shared laughs while reminiscing on previous bigfoot searches.

UK’s Squatchin’ Club wants to be involved with the entire community of Lexington to prove the legend of Bigfoot is true.

Before heading back home, everyone looked up to admire the stars.

Applegate paused and said, “There is so much more to it than just finding Bigfoot.”