“I’ve been looking into Bigfoot but not looking for Bigfoot. Plenty of others are doing that-true believers, whose hearts, souls, and wallets are on the line. I am not one of these. Even so, I felt the need to take my research to the hills, to confront the concept of Sasquatch on its own ground. I wanted to get inside the head of Grendel, to watch the fleeing forest from within. Most of all, I wanted a perspective only the mountains would give.”
Robert Michael Pyle “Where Bigfoot Walks; Crossing the Dark Divide”
The largest roadless area in western Washington state, comprising approximately 76,000 acres (310 km2) of wilderness on Juniper Ridge is known as the Dark Divide. The Dark Divide links Mount Saint Helens and Mount Adams in the southern Cascade Mountains of Washington. In 1995 a different kind of Bigfoot book entered American literature bearing the name of this vast and largely untamed wilderness.
Robert Michael Pyle is not your standard Bigfoot author, researcher or even enthusiast. Pyle, a lepidopterist and founder of the Xerxes Society for invertebrate Conservation, is a scientist far removed from the Bigfoot phenomena. Lecturer, academic and Guggenheim award-winning writer of all things involved with nature, Pyle wrote the definitive Bigfoot book that was not crafted for the reader to be convinced that Bigfoot exists, but rather that the world is big and mysterious enough for Bigfoot to live in as well as humanity. This book is “Where Bigfoot Walks; Crossing the Dark Divide.”
Robert Pyle has a Ph.D. in ecology and environmental studies from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and his dissertation focused on butterfly eco-geography. He has worked as ranger-naturalist in Sequoia National Park, butterfly conservation consultant for the government of Papua New Guinea, Northwest Land Steward for The Nature Conservancy, and co-manager of the Species Conservation Monitoring Center in Cambridge, U.K.
“I think there is something in us that wants to think there might be something beyond the campfire that is somehow either threatening or intimidating or at least mysterious. The more like us the better. But not quite like us. We all seem to need giants.
And yet the big difference to me with this one is that it might be an archetype that actually exists in the wild as well.”
Dr. Robert Michael Pyle (source: Willamette Week)
Earlier this year I was thrilled to learn that the book that I so thoroughly enjoyed was to be made into a film. I was sent the film’s description by producer Jory Weitz (executive producer for the film Napoleon Dynamite, and has worked on films including Edward Scissorhands, Dances with Wolves, White Men Can’t Jump and Nacho Libre).
The description of the upcoming film is as follows:
…an adventure drama that I’m producing starring David Cross as Dr. Robert Pyle and written/directed by Tom Putnam. The film tells the story of Dr. Pyle as he embarks on a one-month trek across Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest in search of new species of butterflies in 1995. Once in the wild, Pyle finds himself thrust into the middle of the clash between environmentalists and the logging industry, unexplainable Bigfoot encounters, and his own personal journey of self-discovery.
The film stars David Cross (known for Arrested Development, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Megamind) as Dr Robert Pyle. Veteran TV Actress Debra Messing (Will & Grace) and actor David Koechner (Anchorman, The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants) are also featured in the upcoming film.
On July 8, 2019 The Dark Divide’s movie page on Facebook released 12 still Images from the upcoming film with promises of more sneak peeks and “war stories” to come.
We asked David Cross if portraying Dr. Pyle changed his outlook on the environment, humanity or Bigfoot since the filming of the movie (luckily we weren’t’ berated for the ridiculous typo in the tweet). Cross stated:
“It was expanded by reading Bob’s work but not necessarily during filming.”
“It’s an animal! If it exists, it’s an animal that evolved and has an ecological niche like any other. To me, that’s all that’s required.”
Dr. Robert Michael Pyle (source: Willamette Week)
Pyle himself is said to be one of the nicest people there is, and he seems pleased with the treatment his story is getting from the film makers. The film is described as a “comedy / drama / adventure” which closely resembles the tone Pyle took in his epic work of nature and discovery.
More Images from “The Dark Divide”
Praise for the book “Where Bigfoot Walks; Crossing the Dark Divide“
“Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide is a unique book in the bigfoot literature, one that is not so much concerned with whether the creatures exist or not, but rather one that focuses on the value of the mystery itself. Dr. Pyle’s writing stands alongside those of the great naturalist writers and is full of wit and wisdom. Through his journey, we find that he intuitively understands what most lifetime bigfooters eventually come to know: that bigfooting is about the journey more than the destination.” —Cliff Barackman, field researcher and star of Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot
“I like the book very much. Only, I don’t know why you were so circumspect. To me, the evidence seems overwhelming.” —Dr. Jane Goodall, in conversation with the author
“Where Bigfoot Walks is a pleasure, whether he is helping a slug across the road, hugging a tree, crawling through a lava tube or discussing the colour of bear excrement, Pyle rejoices in the beauty of the world, and communicates his enthusiasm and expert knowledge with a rare modesty. His book should appeal to anyone with an interest in why people want to believe in the supernatural, when they already live in a world bursting with natural wonders.” —New Scientist
“Celebrated author Pyle, whose Wintergreen won a John Burroughs medal, is fascinated not so much by Bigfoot as he is by the people who believe that Bigfoot exists-and are trying to prove it.” —Library Journal
“A search for the Pacific Northwest’s fabled Bigfoot provides a jumping-off point for nature writer Robert Michael Pyle’s lyrical ruminations on wilderness, isolation, and the occasional triumphs of mystery over so-called progress. Pyle’s well-researched stomping ground is Washington State’s Dark Divide in the Cascade Mountains… Pyle’s route alternates between desolate clear-cuts and majestic ancient forests, between the inroads of civilization and the dark recesses of the wild. But never does the author get too caught up in proving anything to himself or the reader; this search for Bigfoot has as much to do with locating the wild nature within each of us as it does with finding a legend.” —Amazon.com Editorial Pick
As of yet there has been no release date set for the film, but the film makers will keep us posted on social media and news releases.
“The Dark Divide” Synopsis from Slated:
The true story of Dr. Robert Pyle’s month-long trek across the largest undeveloped wilderness in America and his encouters with the area’s notorious Bigfoot.
It’s 1995, and renowned nature writer, Dr. Robert Pyle PhD, receives a Guggenheim Fellowship to embark on a one-month trek from Washington’s Mount Rainier to the Columbia Gorge in search of a new species of butterfly. Named for John Dark, a 19th Century gold prospector, the DARK DIVIDE is the largest undeveloped areas in the United States. The Dark Divide is also ground zero for one of history’s most heated battles between environmentalists and big business. It’s where a rare species of spotted owl inhabit old growth forests up to 200 years old. Trees that the multi-billion dollar logging industry would love to harvest. But Dr. Pyle encounters something else along the way. The Dark Divide is also infamous for having more Bigfoot sightings than anywhere else in the world. Part Jack London, part campfire story, Pyle’s true-life journey leads him to discover a few things about the notorious apeman, and a lot about the human need for wilderness in our lives.
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