Of Amazing Views and Pleasant Hikes

I had a great hike around the Washington Sportsmen’s Show version of Fantasy Island in Puyallup, thank you. I found a couple things I thought might interest you, too.

Along one of the twisting trails on the island, I found a group of young men and women from Eastern Washington University. They have organized the EWU Sportsman’s Club to encourage young men and women to be more active in outdoor pursuits. I supported several groups like this at Central over the years, but they never quite got it together – as one of them once explained it to me, “We just find we are too busy hunting and fishing to get organized!” Well, check these Eastern folks out on Facebook (Fishing Club @ Eagles) and see what is happening.

My long-term friends from Westport and Ilwaco were unanimous in their positive outlook for fishing along our Pacific Coast this year. Even after deducting points for vested interests in the salt water fishing business, I came away anticipating halibut, lings, salmon and tuna for 2015. Let’s go.

Buddy Peter Kummerfeldt is excited about focusing more on his photography and Africa Tours, now that he is winding down 34 years of teaching survival at the sportsmen shows. The new guy he is bringing along will pick up the slack nicely. Go to www.outdoorsafe.com and see his commitment to your outdoor safety. Click on Outdoor Africa for his photography and a look at the future.

After a brief review of my end-of-week trip across Fantasy Island, one of the judges for my Annual Outdoor Adventure Writing Contest suggested all that hiking and those scenic views would be a good lead-in to Lee Bates’ winning essay.

Lee calls his tale “Solo Climbing Three Fingers Mountain.”

“I was drawn to Three Fingers Mountain because I saw it every day from the Boeing Everett Factory where I built 747s.

“In August 1988, I drove on a logging road for 30 miles and parked my car at the trail head for Three Fingers Mountain in the Washington Cascade Mountains. I hiked for 5 miles until I came to a wooden shelter where I spent the night. When I woke up in the morning, a curious deer walked up to the shelter within 10 feet of me. It acted like it had never seen a human before.

“Then I hiked up the trail for 2 more miles to Goat Flats. There I found an old wooden shelter used during World War 2 to watch the Straits of Juan DeFuca for enemy ships. I hiked up to a snow field where I saw Avalanche Lilies in the melt water. I spent the night sleeping out in the open without a tent. During the night, a climber woke me up in the dark asking where we were. I said Goat Flats.

“The next morning, I left my sleeping bag and hiked to Camp Saddle where the real climb began. As I climbed up to the glacier, I saw a Pika in the rock scree. Now I could see for hundreds of miles in all directions. Next I climbed along the glacier on the edge of a steep drop off of 500 feet to the foot of the South Peak of Three Fingers Mountain. I had seen this area from 30 miles away at Boeing so I knew where I was. The snow was steep and slushy so it was good to get on solid rock. I found a 6 inch wide ledge leading to the top. The exposure was extreme with a 500 foot drop to the glacier below. I left my pack on the glacier at the foot of the peak.

“I inched along for 20 feet until I came to a chimney which I climbed to the top at 6,870 feet. The view was spectacular in all directions. I could see Whitehorse Mountain and Mount Pilchuck, where I climbed before, and Mount Baker in the distance. Also I could look straight down the East face for 2,000 feet. This was the biggest exposure I had seen. I climbed down to my pack and ate lunch.

“Then I hiked down 4,000 feet and 9 miles to my car at the trail head. I then drove home. I spent 3 days and 2 nights in the adventure. It was really fun and I will always remember it.”

You no doubt saw the story in last week’s paper about the publication of Dwight Lee Bates’ new book Due Diligence. You will find it on Amazon for $23.74. Thanks, Lee. Enjoy your trip to the Central Washington Sportsmen Show!

Written by Jim Huckabay. Posted in Uncategorized

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