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"Monster Hike" takes author - and reader - into Texas wilderness, in search of Bigfoot

Anomalist Books
"Monster Hike" was written by Austin, Texas-based author Avrel Seale.
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BOOK REVIEW: Monster Hike: A 100-Mile Inquiry Into the Sasquatch Mystery by Avrel Seale (Anomalist Books) 2017

Reading Avrel Seale’s new book, Monster Hike, about his personal journey on the Lone Star Hiking Trail north of Houston, Texas, you get a pretty clear sense that Seale approaches life with a sense of appreciation and an almost child-like, wide-eyed wonder.

And those qualities work well in a book where the just-turned-50-years-old author puts you right there on the wooded trails in late October and early November 2016, when he was taking this personal journey to hike all 100-or-so miles of the LSHT (built between 1967 and 1972) and perchance happen upon a Sasquatch – a cryptid long believed to inhabit those woods and swamps.

Things do take a strange turn when, early into his hike, Seale has set up camp and is settling in when he hears a helicopter in the distance, seemingly hovering low, circling and continuing to hover. This is followed by gunshots. Those shots are then followed by the sound of a deer being killed. But by what?

This is then followed by a “crunching” sound of leaves and underbrush being stepped on. A bird? Armadillo? With Seale familiar with previous reports of Sasquatch (bigfoots?) being seen in that remote, forested area of the state, he gets nervous, even texting his wife that maybe he made a poor decision in even embarking on this “monster hike.”

Where Seale’s experience takes an even stranger turn is the next day, he comes upon two buff dudes carrying light loads and looking serious. Were they military? Seale is polite and the two guys get right to it: “Have you seen anybody out here who looks like they might be seriously injured?”

Seale admits he has not and the two men say a large “pool of blood” was discovered on the trail and a trail of blood going on for a mile. Seale plays dumb a bit but he’s thinking of the night before. The gunshots. The helicopter. Were these two guys in Special Forces? Were they a “clean-up” team, like the military’s alleged “UFO retrieval teams” that sanitize a crash site after a saucer goes down, like the one out of Aztec, New Mexico back in the 1940’s?

The two burly dudes don’t respond when Seale suggests it may have been a deer … or “maybe something bigger …” They don’t take the bait, hiking on down the trail to find a creature of unknown description that has clearly lost a lot of blood.

Maybe. It left Seale with a  lot of questions, for sure. And while that may have been a bit of a shock, Seale is determined to continue on down the trail, although breaking it up with stays at a home in a nearby town, getting picked up by a compatriot on a regular basis.

Seale, a native of the Rio Grande Valley, but living in Austin, saw this hike – and his longtime interest in all things Bigfoot – as a way to prove to himself that he could do it. And, hopefully, discover some evidence that the elusive cryptid really does inhabit a wooded area merely a stone’s throw from one of America’s largest cities.

And while something does seem to be in the vicinity of his hiking trail (note the photo on the cover of the book, which Seale took himself!), it’s more than just looking for Bigfoot. It’s a book about a middle-aged man facing the elements and learning more about himself and his environment. There is something Walden-ish about Monster Hike that I did not anticipate when I first picked it up, after reading a positive review by paranormal author Nick Redfern, also from Texas.

In fact, I could relate a bit to Seale’s style because I too will soon be in that “neck of the woods” on my own writing journey, seeking answers to mysteries in that general area and further afield.

I’m glad I read Monster Hike because I appreciated Seale's honesty and wonderment, even at his age, when we are told that believing such creatures exist is plain silly. Seale gives us some positive philosophy, personal insights, a bit of Texas history and a sense that pushing forward is what keeps us all asking those big questions. Monster Hike is as much about ourselves and our place in nature as it is about "monsters." 

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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