"I looked three times before I could find it," she
said. "But once you do find it, it's no problem. You just
have to know when to turn."
We started up the Stormy Peaks Trail at 9 a.m., winding our
way up a moderately challenging trail as Lisa recited the history
of the crash. She told us about the stormy night that obscured
the peaks, making it difficult for the eight airmen to navigate.
And she told us the names of the men who died -- Richard M.
Creamer of Ohio; Joseph R. Arnold of California; Warren M. Dean
of Seattle, Andrew H. Christensen of Wisconsin; William N. Cook
of Texas; Robert J. Hopkins of New York, Carl E. Hamre of Iowa;
and Philip Doddridge of Colorado.
The oldest person who died in the crash was Joseph R. Arnold.
He was 25.
Our large group moved slowly up the trail resting occasionally
to listen to more history of the crash site. We made our way
around Twin Lakes Reservoir before we hit the challenging portion
of the hike.
As we entered the wilderness area, the trail became
increasingly steep and loose rocks made portions of the hill
unpredictable. While challenging, the entire group -- from the
young children to seniors -- managed to conquer the hill.
We weren't far from the site, Lisa told us during one of our
many water breaks.
"Just another few minutes," she'd say.
At that point, the younger children worked their way to the
front of the pack wanting to be the first to spot the wreckage.
Three hours into our hike, the trail covered by trees most of the
way, opened into the giant boulder field. The first noticeable
piece of wreckage is one of the four giant radial engines resting
south of the trail. To the north is a stunning view of Wyoming.
We spent an hour exploring the wreckage, maneuvering carefully
over the rocks. The steep hill, loose stones and rusted shards of
metal made a dangerous combination. So we stepped cautiously,
searching for all four engines. They're all there, but you'll
have to look around to find them.
And don't let the wreckage distract you from the wonderful
view to the north.
|HOW TO GET THERE:
From the Pingree Park campus, follow the Stormy Peaks
trail to the Twin Lakes turnoff. Once at Twin Lakes
follow the trail/road to the right around the west end of
the reservoir. Continue along the trail/road going right.
Veer left at a fork. As the trail narrows, pass three
posts and climb a steep hill entering the wilderness
area. Follow a trail along a ditch, then through a
clearing. Continue on the trail to the boulder field
where the remains of the plane can be seen. John Herbst,
one of the first hikers to find the remains, will give a
presentation about the crash site at 8 p.m. Aug. 5 at
Jack's Gulch campsite. Information: 493-3613.