Slide-Rock Bolter - [Fearsome Critter]
• About this Critter:
Slide-rock 'Bolters' are massive, aggressive, monstro-sized beasts with eerie fire-red glowing eyes and an undeniably large gaping maw, they have a single 'limb' ending with a clawed tail-fin which they use to cling to the peaks of mountains. often described as “whale like” however they lack the blowhole and fins.
[Fearsome Creatures by William T Cox 1910]
Supposedly these creatures live near the peaks of Colorados rocky mountains: they lurk juuust behind the tree-line just out of sight: though they are rare to see before they strike, their population thrives in places such as "lizard head" (a 13,119-ft summit.) as well as the surrounding steep regions of the Rockies (thriving anywhere with a 45-degree angled slope.)
The Slide-Rock Bolter was said to swallow up whatever man or beast found itself in its path. It seems to have a preference for sightseers and campers: It was said that the creatures greasy drool would drip down the mountain side creating a river of sleek oily slime, then when a tourist passed by underneath, it's hooked tail would let go: causing it to bolt down in a thunderous land slide consuming all in its path, then when it reached the bottom, it would simply continue rocketing all the way up to the next rocky ridge, leaving a mess of fallen trees and a quarry of pebbles in its wake.
In one story included in 'fearsome creatures' (1910.) it was written that 'A forest ranger, whose district was in the rough county between the Ophir Peaks and Lizard Head* Conceived the bold idea of decoying a Slide-Rock Bolter to its own destruction: A dummy tourist was rigged to lure the creature from the mountaintop, given a plaid jacket, khacki pants, and a backpack filled with explosive gunpowder as well as 'a guide book to Colorado.' the dummies body was also stuffed & laced with t.n.t, rigged to explode on impact. - The ranger thought he was smart, tricking the Bolter to its own death, but the fool had rigged it in a bad position, and the whale slid right into the flourishing mining and mill town: Rico** – half the town was demolished in the process, The Bolters guts caked the surrounding achres, left for the birds & buzzards to enjoy.’ – Interestingly, only a year after the book was first published, reports say that Lizard heads 'face' would also be changed forever due to a land slide, this happened less than a year later (1911)
...Locals claim that similar dummies can still be found in the mountains to this day! - (though, they don't usually contain T.N.T.) - [if these are simply scare crows or an animal decoys of some sort is unknown! (Perhaps a local custom/prank, nod to this story?) Perhaps it's another mystery worth investigating...?]
The bolter was the campers go to campfire yarn & explanation for sudden land slides & the echoes of distant TNT explosions (newly invented and used for mining at the time.) it has been suggested that stories of the bolter where also used as an explanation for the mysterious remains of old quarries: the leftover debris from decades old mine-shafts, remains of the colorado silver boom of the 1880s (depending who you ask, stories of this critter might go back even further. then 1919 (at least, orally.)
[**in reality: the town of Rico's sudden drop in population was due to a decline in interest in mining (caused by the cost of silver plummeting.) by the end of the century the towns population had dropped to just 811 (& in modern day, the population seems to have steadily dropped to only 200!)] .
[* a map of the described area.]
There are also smaller variants from Maine, which are known as the "Wedge-Ledge chompers"
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