‘In the mountains of Colorado, where in summer the woods are becoming infested with tourists, much uneasiness has been caused by the presence of the Slide Rock Bolter. This frightful animal lives only in the steepest mountain country where the slopes are greater than 45 degrees. It has an immense head, with small eyes and a mouth somewhat on the order of a sculpin, running back beyond its ears. The tail consists of a divided flipper, with enormous grab-hooks, which it fastens over the crest of the mountain or ridge, often remaining there motionless for days at a time, watching the gulch for tourists or any other hapless creature that may enter it. At the right moment, after sighting a tourist, it will lift its tail, thus loosening its hold on the mountain, and with its small eyes riveted on the poor unfortunate, and drooling thin skid grease from the corners of its mouth, which greatly accelerates its speed, the Bolter comes down like a toboggan, scooping its victim as it goes, its own impetus carrying it up the next slope, where it again slaps its tail over the ridge and waits. Whole parties of tourists are reported to have been gulped at one scoop by taking parties far back into the hills. The animal is a menace not only to tourists but to the woods as well. Many a draw through the spruce-covered slopes has been laid low, the trees being knocked out by the roots or mowed off as by a scythe where the Bolter has crashed down through from the peaks above…
A forest ranger, whose district includes the rough country between Ophir Peaks and the Lizard Head, conceived the bold idea of decoying a Slide Rock Bolter to its own destruction. A dummy tourist was rigged up with plaid Norfolk jacket, knee breeches, and a guide book to Colorado. It was then filled full of gunpowder and fulminate caps and posted in a conspicuous place, where, sure enough, the next day it attracted the attention of a Bolter which had been hanging for days on the slope of Lizard Head. The resulting explosion flattened half the buildings in Rico, which were never rebuilt, and the surroundings hills fattened flocks of buzzards the rest of summer.’
The words of one William T. Cox, written in his book ‘Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods,’ published in 1910. A tale of a creature most bizarre, one that dates back to folklore of the 19th century. Miners and lumberjacks would often come down from the mountains, with tales aplenty of a creature they described as a ‘land whale’ that lived on the sides of mountains, hooking its tail over the ridge, waiting for unsuspecting prey below. At which point, its clasp would be released, causing the mega beast to tumble down the slope, at terrific velocity, its mouth wide and its belly empty. Scooping up the poor creature or creatures below in one foul swoop.
Stories differ throughout history. In general, the Bolter is perceived to be as large as or larger than a blue whale, camouflaged to blend in to its surroundings. Some say its grey-brown coloured teardrop shaped body is peppered with scraggy, brush-like growths, whilst others say it appears to be little more than a fat, smooth rock. It’s said that once it is hidden, it cannot be seen. Its face flat, split apart by a hideous, scowling mouth. Its eyes small. Some claim its tail, used to anchor itself onto the top of mountains, is similar to a crab’s pincer. Others say it is forked with hooks. Some even say that it resembles big, hairy knuckles.
But surely such a creature cannot exist. The history of Colorado is littered with strange and unusual creatures. There are, indeed, many stories of large reptiles haunting the lands. Many fossils found here have never been seen anywhere else in the world. A state famed for its wild and untamed landscapes. A darkly mysterious place. One full of rural locales plagued with unexplained happenings, some resulting in injury and some even resulting in death.
It’s almost too fantastic to believe. No person alive today admits to having seen it. The stories of the Bolter have been passed down the generations for centuries. The origin of this tale is lost. Many agree that it came from a more primitive time, and was perhaps a cautionary tale of the dangers of the wilderness. A way to raise awareness of falling rocks and boulders, an all too real and present danger that many ignore. But if there was a creature such as the Bolter lurking high above, ready to gobble you all up, well, then, it would certainly scare many away. And perhaps this tale has spawned a unique belief in a creature of unimaginable horror. One that still baffles and confuses even to this very day.
So I’ll give this creature a 71 on my patented Cryptid-o-Meter, putting it 42nd the list of 44, with Gef the Talking Mongoose still bottom and Beast of Gévauden still holding top spot.
The Slide Rock Bolter. A fascinating cryptid indeed.
Image (Click on It to Enlarge)
1) A drawing of the Slide Rock Bolter
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