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JOE HAAS, LOST IN THE MOUNTAINS

By Bud Loomis


In February, 1915, Joe Haas - a bachelor who settled on the north side of Lake Quinault, in 1898 - took a notion to go elk hunting alone. With two feet of snow on the ground he didn't intend to go far. He started along the lake up toward Canoe Creek, swung wrong on the mountain and got behind a big hill that hid the lake. So, he didn't know where he was.

He was a big strong fellow, and he just kept traveling in the snow. But the higher he got the deeper it was. Finally, he realized he was lost and decided to camp for the night. But, he had no bedding. Nothing to eat. And, he couldn't get a fire started. So he covered himself up with snow. The next day he began following a creek down. He was out two or three nights in the snow, and even lost his gun.

Somebody reported him gone and they organized a search party. But, it had snowed again and filled up his tracks and they couldn't follow him. Hunted the country all around. Finally, they came to Humptulips and told me about it. Wanted ma to go to Montesano and get a deputy sheriff who had some bloodhounds that could follow a man. I went and got in touch with the man.

However, he didn't think his dogs could follow a man's scent in the snow. It was stormy weather and he flatly refused to go. But, I said, "You're coming. You're going to give your dogs a chance to find him. The man is lost and dying for food." I used a lot of persuasion, so he finally agreed.

I took him right up to the Lake. But, when we got there, word had been received that Joe had come out on the Kelly Ranch on the Queets. From Kelly's clearing he could see Jack Cooper's house across the river, and managed to crawl from the trail to the riverbank. Coopers saw him, came across, and got him, and put him to bed. He hadn't had anything to eat for three or four days, so he was ravenously hungry. But, Mrs. Cooper wisely fed him just a little at a time. They kept him about a month before he was able to travel. Then, they took him down river in a boat. He never entirely got his health back.