[Here is the second part of Randy Long’s epic “Bigfoot” story. If you haven’t read the first part yet, you can find it HERE… Now let’s get back to the adventure!!! —RFY]
More about Kid Valley.
I recall walking across the street, which was Spirit Lake Highway, down a trail through the woods, and the Toutle River was at the bottom of the trail. When I was just a child, I remember walking a trail along the Toutle River and walking into the side of the mountain where the train tunnel went in.
I remember bats flying around the entrance to the tunnel and someone saying to watch out and cover your head because a bat will fly into your hair and you’ll have to get your hair cut to get it out. Not to mention having to kill it as it struggles in your hair. That always bothered me.
When you came out the other side of the tunnel, there was a beach for fishing or swimming.
At Kid Valley was, basically, my uncle’s and aunt’s store, which was a gas station out front and two bedrooms upstairs. That’s where I slept in the summer time. It had a building on the side, kind of a garage. When I first started spending summers up in Kid Valley, there was a shack next to the road, which was called the burger bar. My sister and my aunt ran the burger bar. Behind the burger bar was a cabin that people could rent, and anybody heading to Mt. St. Helens would stop there because it was the last gas station before getting to the mountain. Any log truck drivers or anybody working in the woods or in the area or anybody living in the area would stop there.
Next to the cabin, and behind the burger bar and the other side of the store and gas station was a bare spot, like a parking area, and behind that, a big field where, in the mornings, you would always find deer.
The local legend was bigfoot, and I remember my uncle having a casting of a bigfoot footprint sitting inside the gas station on the floor. The footprint was huge and seemed kind of deformed. My uncle, Stan-Lee (No relation to the comic book writer), was a grouchy old fart most of the time, but pretty straight forward. But when he talked about bigfoot, he always became real serious. I even remember a local guy wrote and sung and made a record about bigfoot.
And all the locals would talk and tell stories about bigfoot. Bigfoot, around Kid Valley, was more than just a legend. Everyone had their own stories, but they all described bigfoot basically the same. There was a story I remember, and was sworn to secrecy, that this old gentleman told like this. He told me, “You swear you will never tell anyone?” and as he spoke he had fear in his eyes and voice. He said, “I trapped a pair of bigfoot in a cave in Oregon in the mountains near the California border. I could show you where.” About then, someone came in. He looked at me and said, “You swore.” I just shook my head. Nothing more was ever said by him, but I never forgot.
Back to Kid Valley. After a few summers, my Aunt Josephine expanded the burger bar. Where the bare spot next to the store and gas station was, she built a restaurant and retired the burger bar shack. The restaurant was called the Kid Valley Restaurant, with a dining area that had windows all around one side, towards the field, and also to the front side, facing Spirit Lake Highway, where occasionally log trucks would roar by.
My sister would start work at 4:30 in the morning, and the restaurant would open at 5:00 A.M. My sister was eight years older than me, and she was a very hard worker. Her name was Colleen, and she was a real spunky, cheerful gal. All the older guys would flirt with her. She would just take it in stride and keep working. The locals would come drink coffee, smoke cigarettes, and shoot the bull. The main topic seemed to always come back to bigfoot.
And yes, there really was a cast of bigfoot’s footprint. And everybody’s stories, if you ask them, they weren’t just stories, they were real.
I have very fond memories of Kid Valley. It was a much simpler time, carefree and slowed way down. A time before computers, and a time before the throw-away age, when Kid Valley was an enchanted place. As soon as you turn the corner and started up the hill, a large area flattened out to the right of Spirit Lake Highway, about 40 miles or so up to Mt. St. Helens, 20 years before anyone new about volcanos.
[Lots more to come!!!]