Source: Northern British Columbia Canoe Trips, Volume One, by Laurel Archer.
Author: G. Stewart Nash
Most of this novel is based on historical fact, including the actual names of rivers, mountains and towns — a few of which were christened by those who actually constructed the telegraph line. By early 1866, the overland telegraph line had been built to Fort Fraser, east of Prince George. Exploration had been conducted to a point a few miles north of Kispiox Village, near Hazelton, one of the Gitxsan villages currently under land claim negotiations. Explorers had been sent northward out of Fort Fraser and along the Nass River watershed in the early winter to search out the last unexplored stretch to Telegraph Creek. The remainder of a proposed route had virtually been explored through Alaska and Russia. These last three hundred miles were crucial to the Western Union Extension Company, based out of San Francisco, to close the final gap in becoming the first communications of its kind to link the two continents.
Stephen Doyle, land surveyor, is hired by the Western Union Extension Company to find and map out a possible route for the completion of the telegraph line through these last three hundred miles of unexplored dense wilderness. Having lived his life in mostly urban centres, he has no idea of what to expect out in the vast wilds of British Columbia. From assassins to Bukwas, this novel is packed full of action, adventure, history and legend.
Barb's review in relation to Bigfoot Research
For Stephen, the legend begins the moment small boats were loaded and headed for shore. Unfamiliar sounds emanated from the forest and could be heard by the crew aboard the ship anchored out at sea. The land surveyor would soon learn of creatures known as Bukwas from the local Indians. It was believed no one would make it out of the forest alive if you came across a Bukwas. Prior to setting out on his new adventure, Stephen had seen this creature in a dream.
Two prospectors met a violent death when one of them shot and killed a Bukwas. Its mate quickly sought revenge. Stephen happens upon the prospectors' remains a year later. Upon hearing hideous screams and outcries he comes across a Bukwas trapped in a log jam and opts to help the creature whose leg is trapped and badly damaged. He shows the Bukwas how to use a stick as a crutch. There is even a moment of humor where the Bukwas laughed at Stephen. An entire chapter (chapter 8) covers this dramatic encounter and rescue. He didn't know it at the time but he had just made a new friend and his act of kindness would later save his life. Stephen would encounter another Bukwas who was readying to kill him but his new friend came to his rescue. The friendly Bukwas visits Stephen at his camp one night to exchange gifts of food and gives Stephen a crutch when he became injured.
There are numerous mentions of the Bukwas throughout the book with more than one encounter. No matter how the author shared Stephen's story, the legend of Bukwas IS real. Sightings have continued to this very day. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in historical accounts and legend. Especially if you are from this area!
Referred to as:
Katamnkniest – Man of the Mountain
Bukwas – giant, hairy, wild man – a devil that carried off women and children. Local indians did not like to speak of Bukwas. They were considered to be bad. The devil. People who were taken were never to be found.
Stephen did not believe the creatures were animals and would come to learn the Bukwas were intelligent and that they did NOT like rifles. A prospector and Stephen both had their rifles removed. The Bukwas held the rifle above its head, snapped the wood stock like a twig and then bent the iron barrels like a bow or quarter-moon shape.
He was told the Bukwas tore the heads off of the ancient ones, stole children who played among the trees, stole fish from nets and stole caribou from the hanging pole.
“Awwwoooo wooo wooo”
Hollow high pitch scream, strange howling, wailing sounds, whinny, sharp whistles, deep throaty grunts, screaming like a woman ending softly like a baby's cry, meowing sound, cackling sounds, powerful huffs and guttural growls.
Leaned back, titling its head upwards to make several wailing sounds which ended as it leaned forward again.
Description of a Bukwas:
Smell – strong, overpowering, pungent, like rotting flesh. Worse than a grizzly sow's breath.
Skin – dark colored flesh beneath the hair.
Hands – 2 to 3 times larger than man. Dark skin. Bare palms.
Arms – nearly 6 feet in length. Almost as long as the legs. Upper arms nearly a foot in diameter. End of fingers hung just below the knees.
Body – covered mostly with hair, not over an inch, not as thick as a grizzly.
Face – nearly barren of hair, large flat nose, narrow lips, forehead sloped back toward top of head, scalp hair nearly reached thick wide eyebrows and sides of head covered with thick sparse hair.
Eyes – small, dark, deep-set and piercing.
Height – towered over surveyor who was 6.1, massive upper body, chest half as thick as it was wide. Known to be anywhere from 7 to 9 feet tall.
Head – cone shaped sloping back to a higher point on top. Ears hidden beneath longer hair.
Teeth – big, human-like, flat tops (no fangs).
Hair – grey or light brown to black and glossy reddish-brown. Almost black with silver tips.
Legs – massive. Stride twice the length of an average person.
Feet – toes squared at the front.
Size of tracks found in snow – 18 inches. Heel was a good half-foot wide.
About the Author
Stewart Nash was born September 23, 1942, schooled in Preston, Idaho, then Twin Bridges, Montana, and started surveying at age 17. He became a licenced surveyor at the age of 30. After trying his hand at sales, services for realtors and microcomputers, he kept coming back to what he knew best - surveying. He is still in the profession today. He now resides with his wife, Sandy, in South Hazelton, BC, where he enjoys fishing, hunting, archery, gold-panning and travelling.