In 2009, I was investigating a report of footprints near the Minnesota River when we found a structure we now refer to as the Minnesota River Valley Tee-Pee.
In early April of 2009, I drove down to Southern MN to meet with a witness who had found possible sasquatch tracks in the snow near the Minnesota River. He had found the tracks in a sheltered valley through which ran a stream that drained into the river. I was very familiar with the valley as it is a county park, and, while going to college, I spent many days there birdwatching.
I was rather skeptical of the witnesses’ claims. His pictures showed what could best be described as possible sasquatch prints, but, in my opinion, they could just as well have been human tracks that had enlarged in the melting snow. However, the witness also reported hearing possible vocalizations, knocks, and even thought something had thrown a rock at him.
A big part of my skepticism about this site is that during the day, many people use the park, including college students from two nearby universities. That said, the park is also known for strictly closing at sunset, a rule enforced by a large metal gate. The trails and areas people use, only cover a fraction of the area, the rest being covered in woodlands in steep, twisting ravines. This is just the sort of location that we do get sightings from in Southern MN.
After meeting the witnesses, I was no more convinced than I had been at the start. The prints had all but melted away by the time I got there, so there really wasn’t much to see. There actually was not much snow left in the park, except in a few isolated areas. I really could not tell much from the prints that were now nonexistent, so I decided to search the area for other sign. The witness was very eager to convince me that there were sasquatches there and was interpreting almost anything as sasquatch sign.
I did find a couple of arches that were possible, but, given the facts that people also go to that park, and they were near a trail, I could not justify calling them sasquatch sign. After spending a couple hours hiking the trails, I decided to head out. As we were walking out along a main hiking trail, I noticed that a tree near the edge of the trail had a branch about 8 feet up, twisted back and down. I stopped and looked at it. It was definitely a twist break and too high for a person to have easily done it.
Going to the twist break, I noticed that just beyond it, through a screen of brush, a clear, concave trail led away from the main human trail, straight up the side of a steep hill. I called the witnesses and my family back and we decided to check out this new find. We followed the trail into the woods about 200 yards, rising about 50 feet above the valley below. This trail had been cleared of all sticks and even leaves, with a bed of soft, packed dirt. I found no sign of deer prints nor any boot prints. All along this trail, branches had been broken down and back away from the trail to a height of about 10 feet. It appeared to be a classic sasquatch trail.
At the top of the hill, a deer trail crossed the trail we were on. It was very obviously different in nature than the trail we were on, being pock marked with the passing of deer hooves. A small tree was broken like a gate across the trail we were on, about 3 feet off the ground, right next to the deer trail. I speculate that it was done to keep the deer from using the main trail. The main trail we were on continued past the deer trail, disappearing down into an isolated valley beyond.
As I was inspecting the broken tree, my wife noticed a structure about 30 yards to our right down the deer trail. It was a large tee-pee structure made of logs and sticks. It was very large, and yet somehow was constructed in such a way as to not stand out as unusual. The main beam of the structure was made of a very large log, set at an angle and embedded in the ground. Smaller logs and sticks were placed all around it forming the structure. There was an entrance on the far side, about 4 feet high. Inside, I was able to stand without difficulty (I am 6 feet, 3 inches tall). There were openings on the side with the deer trail. Across the deer trail in this area were placed a series of large, broken logs, laid out in such a way that the easiest path for a deer to take would have been to walk only a few feet from the openings in the side of the structure. I firmly believe that this structure was built as a deer hunting blind.
One other thing to note, is that this structure was positioned such that one could sit in it and watch people going by in the park far below, and yet from below, even without leaves on the trees, we could not see the structure without knowing exactly where to look.
As with any stick structure, I cannot rule out that this one could have been built by people. It would have however taken a lot of very strong people to have built it. The structure was also built up a long hard climb from the part of the park where people went. There were many other locations that would have been far better for industrious kids to build a fort than up that hill. Furthermore, as the witness reported to me over the next several months, the structure kept changing, often at night when the park was closed. Both the structure and the trail were being maintained by something.
Shots from all angles:
Picture of the structure as seen from the human trail in the valley below: