Here are some pictures of a trip I took solo to Tull Canyon in the
northeast section of the Olympics in Washington...
Having been a
couple weeks since my last trip, I decided to go up to
in the Buckhorn Wilderness on the northeast edge of Olympic National
Park. I'd last been there in July of 1989, and
was curious how the area was being impacted by visitors. The primary
attractions in this area are the old Tubal Cain copper mine, and an airplane
crash site at the mouth of the canyon. I had planned to go up for three
scramble the ridge
. But the sun never really came out, and I knew weather would threaten the last
day, so I came out the second day. Too bad, the colors would have been
spectacular with better light... Also on this page, details concerning the
last flight of 746...
The Hike Up...
The hike to the mine includes a fairly steady trail through wild rhododendrons, and
only takes about an hour. At 3 miles, a spur heads up to the
canyon. In 30 minutes, the
is achieved, and several campsites are evident. There are
also a couple of old dwellings that have have fallen apart, part of an old
mining camp. The trail continues up to an
, and then pretty much dies out. The last time I was
there, a running creek from snow fields provided water. This year,
the mountains received only 60% of the normal snow pack, and the creek was
dry. I dropped my pack, and followed the creek bed up to see if any
water remained near the canyon pass. I was now one half mile past
the last running water, and wanted to camp at least 15 minutes from
water. Fortunately, near a select area to set a tent, I found a
10 square foot patch of snow
. It was the
water remaining in the high canyon!
Choosing a place to stay...
Once I found water, I chose a flat area nearby to set up my tent. The
area was very entertaining, as
three large boulders
were there to provide lots of fun stemming, and climbing around.
The previous evening was pretty blah, so I turned in early so I could get up
early for dawn colors. I wasn't disappointed!
The high point of the trip was to catch the meadows at near peak colors.
It seemed like everything was out, and the grass was super green. Unfortunately,
the sun never really came out, so the colors were difficult to capture,
The plane crash...
In January of 1952, a rescue mission was dispatched
to search for a ship in distress off the coast of Washington. Unable
to locate the ship, the aircraft, a converted B-17, was attempting to
return to Seattle. For one reason or another, the altimeter in the
plane was off by more than 1500 feet. In a driving snow storm,
unable to make out any land marks, and vectored too far south by the
tower, the airplane flew right into the canyon slope, and ended up in a
marsh at the canyon mouth. Over the years, the wreckage has been
picked pretty clean by souvenir hunters, but major pieces still set where
they have for over 50 years:
While viewing this site, Bob Reese sent me this information having to do with the
crash, along with some links...
Last Flight of '746
The following is the Accident Report Narrative from the
official accident report. It was written by Captain
Hybki for the board of inquiry.
The accident occurred at 1832 hours, PST, 19 Jan 1952. When the
aircraft hit the top of the hill, I was thrown out on top. I
could hear the aircraft still falling (going down the hill). I
walked to the edge of the hill and waited there. At this time, I
could hear nothing. I started down the hill towards what I
thought was civilization. When I was 1/3 of the way down the
hill, I stopped to rest and heard noises. I blew the whistle on
my Mae West, I could now hear the others at the aircraft, and
joined the rest of the party. The others searched for clothes,
got a jacket and boots for me, put me in an exposure suit, and
sleeping bag. I was shivering, but not from cold. I believe this
was due to shock. Two hours later I fell asleep.
The rest of the party was removing equipment from the wreck and
building a windbreak with the cutes. A life raft was used to
make a floor in the shelter. The engineer (who was also injured)
and I were bedded down. When I woke after dawn, I awakened the
rest of the party. The engineer and I were removed from the
sleeping bags and fitted with warm clothes, which were obtained
from the crew's bags. Our wounds were now dressed. We could find
no first aid kits from the airplane and had to use the ones from
the rescue kits. The only dressings available were compresses,
which were very bulky hard to put on and harder to use when
applied. Some Band-Aids would have been very useful.
The three who were not seriously injured began gathering dry
wood, pine needles and inflammable parts from the wreck to use
in the fires. Dry wood and pine needles are fine for building
fires and the rubberized materials from the plane are excellent
for making smoke. Fire was provided by matches that the crew had
and from matches that were found in the emergency kits. We now
started a fire. Every kit was broken open and flares and smoke
bombs were removed. The abundance of kits was a big morale
booster. The boat, with supplies, was never found. Red and
orange chutes, all our yellow equipment, sea marker die, and a
streamer were put out.
Aircraft were heard overhead but they passed over. I suppose
that they were going to previously assigned search areas. When
aircraft were heard, we sent SGT Farmer to the top of the hill
to shoot flares. About 80% of the flares functioned properly.
Only 1 out of 3 of the smoke flares worked. It was very
difficult to get the tops off the smoke flares. It is almost
impossible to do with gloves or mittens on and with cold bare
hands it is very difficult. Some method should be devised so
that one's teeth could be used.
Finally about 1000 hours a C-46 spotted the party and a few
moments later, many aircraft came over the area. I believe a
URC4 transmitter was dropped. Food was now broken out using
first the tins with candy. We only ate one candy bar apiece,
however, because we thought that the candy might make us sick.
This food was edible and in good condition. The IF4s were opened
and the food was frozen in them. Sterno was used to heat the
food but was very ineffective because the flame would go out in
the slightest breeze. We all think that cook cans would be much
more satisfactory. This is the kind that heats the food by
letting air into an outer casing. SGT Scargall tried to make
some coffee but due to using snow and having difficulty with the
sterno pots, the coffee was no good. The water jugs on the plane
could never be found. No attempt was made to look for the three
others because no one was in good enough shape to conduct the
search. At this time the helicopter came and took us away.
Additional information secured from the others:
The URC4 was used to signal but because of the topography (we
were in a valley) no signal was heard. The Gibson girl was
smashed in the crash. Some other method of storing the radio
should be planned as the present method is not enough to keep
the Gibson Girl from tearing loose. Mittens should be placed in
the emergency kits, as they keep the hands warmer than gloves.
There was no real arctic equipment in the emergency kits but
there was plenty of mosquito netting, repellent, etc which did
not do us any good.
Tubal Cain Mine...
In the early 1900s, the hope of profitable mining of copper and manganese
were attempted in Iron Mountain. The mine lasted only for
a few years, but what is left is an extensive network of wet
shafts in the generally stable rock. Here, I'm standing in
front of the main entrance to the mine, about a half mile past
the spur trail that leads up to Tull Canyon. If you want to
explore, bring some waders and bug repellent, and of course a
good headlamp. This entrance, and a smaller one on the
Tull Canyon trail, have a continuous flow of running water out
of the mine...
Back to Tom in the mountains...