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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 Tull Canyon 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 days and 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 crash site 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 open meadow , 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 roughly 10 square foot patch of snow .  It was the last water remaining in the high canyon!

Alpine meadow in Tull Canyon...

Alpine Meadow at Tull 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.

Camp site at Tull Canyon...
Dawn colors... - The previous evening was pretty blah, so I turned in early so I could get up early for dawn colors.  I wasn't disappointed!
 West canyon rim...
 Mount Ranier and Adams from the canyon pass...
 Mount Constance, Warriors and the Gargoyles from the canyon pass...


First light over Tull Canyon...
Flowers... - 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, but still:
 Nature's perfectly arranged garden...
 Purple hillside...
 Flowers next to my camp...
 Multi-colored hillside...
 The perfect meadow...
 And still more flowers...


Alpine meadow on Tull Canyon...
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:
 Myself next to a still retracted landing gear...
 One of the two engines that can still be found...
 Myself next to the other engine that could be found...
 Side view of a wing strut...


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.




Crash site at Tull Canyon...
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...

Tom in front of Tubal Cain mine...


Back to Tom in the mountains...




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