The First 2020 Outdoor Adventure Writers

The judges of our Annual Inside the Outdoors Adventure stories thought you might enjoy a couple tales which won passes to the Central Washington Sportsmen Show in Yakima. The first comes from Dale Emken of Cooke Canyon, northeast of Ellensburg, and the second is by Ellensburg’s Dwight “Lee” Bates.

The Golden Eagle Rescue

“For years we have watched a pair of Golden Eagles ride the currents above our canyon. Our spirits soar with them as they slowly circle hunting for small mammals or perhaps just enjoying the view.

“The Friday after Thanksgiving as my husband was plowing us out from the latest snowstorm I was walking along Cooke Creek in back of our house when I spotted a Golden Eagle trying to take off from the deep snow. It was soon apparent that the huge snow balls hanging underneath him hindered his efforts. Time and again he would flap his large wings only to move his body slowly up the trail, then pause exhausted. Sure death awaited him for as cold as the day was the snow would not melt.

“By this time my husband had joined me to watch and marvel at our first close view of this majestic bird. Having never rescued an eagle we called the Ellensburg Animal Hospital for advice. They said that if we would bring the eagle in they would rehabilitate it. Right, two old people were going to go pick up and eagle, put it in their car and take it to the hospital! They suggested that we call the State Wildlife department who would come out for the eagle. It was the middle of the afternoon the day after Thanksgiving. No one at the wildlife department was answering the phone. The onus was back on us. I called the hospital again. They suggested we use a blanket and gloves – very heavy gloves.

“Gloves on and blanket in hand we slowly approached the eagle who just lay, wings outstretched, watching us, exhausted. The first toss failed. On the second my husband quickly wrapped the bird and picked him up. There was no struggle then or all the way into town. In fact we were afraid that he had died. However once he was uncovered in his cage in the hospital his bright eyes showed him to be very much alive if not moving.

“The following Monday as we were leaving to go visit him we spotted his buddy perched on the rock outcropping at the end of our driveway looking for him, perhaps. Luckily we were able to catch Dr. Michael Fuller in between patients. He reported that x-rays showed no broken bones. But the bird was suffering from a dietary deficiency. Apparently, easily obtained junk food is a bane for animals as well as humans, even if it tastes good.

“This great adventure has a good ending. Last we heard the eagle was on his way to Benton City where he will finish his rehabilitation before release to again soar in our skies.” Dale Emken

The General Meigs Shipwreck

“In 1968, my wife and I drove to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula to camp at Shi Shi Beach. We wanted to see the General Meigs shipwreck and we camped right next to where the wreck was hung up on the beautiful rocks.

“It was hard to sleep that night because the loose boiler kept thrashing around inside the ship. It was an old World War 2 troopship which broke the towline as it was being towed to San Diego to be scrapped. With no time to reattach the towline in the storm, it went up on the rocks at Shi Shi Beach. (We were told by some hikers that a scuba diver was killed the day before on the wreck when exploring it.) My wife Diane took a photo of me sitting atop a lifeboat that had washed ashore.

“Twenty-eight years later, in 1996, my brothers, their kids and I backpacked into Ozette and camped on that beautiful beach. When I got to our campsite I ate a couple sugar cookies and set the box down on the picnic table. It disappeared. I saw the thief, a raccoon, peeking out from the brush. (Later we caught the mother raccoon and her two kits stealing food, so we hung it up in a tree.) We caught and ate a lot of surf perch. One was huge and I said it probably would set a state record, but my brother wanted to eat it. We did. I later found out that it would, indeed, have been a state record.

“When hiking about a mile south of our Ozette campsite we discovered a lifeboat wreck sitting on the beach. I recognized it as the General Meigs lifeboat I had seen on the deck of the ship in 1968. It had washed 10 miles down the beach. The General Meigs shipwreck is now gone, taken by the harsh weather. It was neat to see the lifeboat 28 years later, although only the frame and the engine were left.

“We in Washington are lucky to have the Olympic Peninsula and its miles of pristine, beautiful, and discovery-rich beaches.” Dwight “Lee” Bates


Written by Jim Huckabay. Posted in Uncategorized

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