With spooky season around the corner, what better way to get in the spirit than by sharing a few local legends and mountain mysteries? The history of Stanley, Idaho and the surrounding Sawtooth region is rich with intriguing stories of all kinds- we highly recommend diving into them all yourself! However, in the spirit of this season, allow us to introduce you to a local legend that is sure to give you the chills… Read along if you dare!
The Camas Wild Man
Throughout the Sawtooths and into the Wood River Valley was said to roam a truly fearsome creature- the Camas Wild Man. The “Camas Terror” was claimed as a local version of the celebrated Bigfoot; although the original Bigfoot was allegedly gone, long since slain and buried in Owyhee County in an unknown grave. Locals claimed sightings throughout the valleys, spreading fear about a fang-baring giant beating his hairy chest and chasing anyone unlucky enough to cross his path in the woods. People said he was massive, furry all over, furtive in its movements, a terrifying face, and uncommunicative except for a sort of yodel. Local papers continued to chase his sightings and spread his fame and fear. The story grew, til the Camas Terror was truly horrific, adding to his size and weight til he was absolutely monstrous. They even hinted that he lived among the snakes.
In Wild Territory
One day, a gentleman named Mickelhenny was out traveling among the hills with his crew, when he wandered a few hundred yards from the camp to shoot some ducks. Alone except for the shotgun he held, Mickelhenny was focused on his hunt, not expecting what was about to occur.
Face to Face
A loud shriek struck terror into his heart and caused him to shudder as he was frozen by the scene before him. The Camas Terror had jumped out from the forest and made for Mickelhenny with the ferocity of a savage beast. Stunned, yet forced into action, Mickelhenny emptied both barrels of the gun into the charging wild man. He fell, presumably dead.
The End of An Era
Cautiously, Mickelhenny approached the giant, lifeless form. Terror filled his soul once more as the savage man began to revive, causing Mickelhenny to put his foot to the man’s neck and call to his companions to bring the axe. Running to the scene, they arrived just a hair too late; the Camas Wild Man broke free and with a deep moan, had regained his feet and started to run. A companion threw the axe at him, and as the legendary wild creature took one last glance backward, was struck in the center of the forehead, dropping him lifeless to the ground. A sigh of relief was felt by all. The Camas Wild Man was finally dead, no more to haunt the valley and its residents with his menacing presence.
“On examination he was found to be rather tall, with full, clear eyes and and extraordinarily large head. He appeared to be about forty-five years of age, although not a gray hair could be seen. The beautiful, wavy black hair of his head hung low down onto the body, and his bushy beard was about two and a half feet long. The body was also covered with a thick growth of hair about two inches in length. This was also black and very fine. The finger and toenails were two inches long and resembled claws more than nails.”
And so goes the legend of the Camas Wild Man! The Sawtooth Mountains are rich with unique history and legends- true or not, they are surely fascinating! For more intriguing reads, you can find this and many other engaging stories in “Sawtooth Tales”, a collection of memories and local lore compiled and written by Dick d’Easum. Or, save this spooky tale in your back pocket for the next time your campfire calls for a ghost story. Best served around a campfire in the Sawtooths!
Visit the Sawtooths!
Reserve your stay in Stanley, Idaho at the cozy Redfish Riverside Inn today! Whether you’re looking for a place to celebrate the season of Sawtooth spooks or just to enjoy some blissful peace this fall, you’re sure to find it at Redfish Riverside Inn!