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Schroder
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PostMon May 19, 2008 3:42 pm 
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Here's a story about Nagrom
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treeswarper
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treeswarper
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PostMon May 19, 2008 8:09 pm 
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We took our little fire engine to a fire in that area.  A big fire, I forget what the name was.  We spent a day of doing nothing in Enumclaw while the powers that be were deciding what to do, let us in the watershed or not.
Finally we got the go ahead.  Camp was on the outskirts of Lester.  I pitched my tent near the powerlines as their crackling drowned out the camp noise.  I think they told us not to poop in the watershed.  We saw 3 yarders that were covered in retardant.  We worked behind a crew of fallers, mopping up the burning tops and snags they dropped.  I didn't have time or the inclination to do any wandering though...

My dad worked on the construction of the powerlines in that area. He took us up Stampede Pass to pick huckleberries.  We managed to knock the muffler off the station wagon just like when we went up the Colockum.   shakehead.gif

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What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be human––animals and aliens are great possibilities
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Beaucephus
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PostTue May 20, 2008 10:22 am 
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I do believe it is the Muckleshoot, as the new pipeline was to run out near Auburn.
The hot spring still bubbled from the hillside last I was there.
About a mile downstream from Lester north side of the river.
To find it originally, I made the trek in along the railroad grade by bicycle until I reached the meadow on the right, where the resort used to be. Several acres in size, full of nothing but tall grass now. Cross the meadow to the river, and just upstream and across you can see the spring running from the bluff. There were pools in the rock along the rivers edge, that I imagine held the warm water years ago.
We climbed the bluff toward the road and found evidence of folks having dug hollows in hill, and using blue tarps to hold the spring water for soaking.
Midsummer, the time we were there, the river is about knee to crotch deep depending upon a person's stature, and the spring water running from the hillside, ran like a curtain down onto the bedrock along the river bank.
Made for quite an enjoyable day trip, with two preteens in tow.
We watched a mother Deer and a fawn playing in the river right at the spring. The weather was in the 70's that day, clear skies.
Well worth the trip, if a person wants to look back in time, and imagine what the NW was so many years ago. smile.gif

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"And these children that you spit on, while they try and change their world, are immune to your consultations. They're quite aware of what they're going through"
(David Bowie)
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Beaucephus
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PostTue May 20, 2008 11:29 am 
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Back before the railroad was reopened through the tunnel, you could still drive almost into the west portal of the tunnel.
My brother and I, had gone up there during the Sept. archery hunting season. Days were sometimes too hot to hunt, so we'd make up things to do.
He was always looking for places to maybe find old bottles, or other items which might have some antique value.
Back in the day of the early tunnel usage, there was a small power generating station at the west portal, run by water wheel on the creek which runs out of Lizard lake at the top of stampede pass. The power was used to run the ventilation fans in the tunnel, to exhaust the smoke from the engines.
Sometime through the years after the railroad stopped running, vandals had burned the powerhouse, and the wood lining of the portal where the fans were located. The rails had mostly been removed from the entire grade, and a person could drive from the tressle at Lester, up to the first small tunnel. Then you had to take the pass road up around a few switchbacks, to another side road, and rejoin the grade just west of the portal. The creek had washed the railroad bed out a few yards from the old powerhouse, to a depth of about 5 ft, and a width of about 8 ft. There wasn't much to see, the concrete raceway for the water wheel, and the bearing surfaces where the wheel sat. a small shack made of corrugated tin, and alot of wires and insulators laying around.
We got caught in a small flash flood that day, and had to use an old chain link gate from powerhouse to get back across the creek. I'll tell you this, it can rain in that watershed, and if you're in there late enough in the year, and it starts snowing, you high tail it out quickly.
I've seen the creeks rise by feet within an hour.
I've seen pictures of the portals both east and west since they reopened the line, and they've really made the tunnel alot more open.
I still haven't had the intestinal fortitude to go past the NO TRESPASSING signs to see it first hand, but maybe someday.
What's the most they can do, chase me off.
Before the floods of 95-96, you could drive the back roads from Lester to Easton, crossing a bridge at Cabin creek. Last I heard, you needed a very high 4wd to attempt the crossing.
If you make the trip to Lester, and want to spend some time kicking around the area and back roads. Get a good map, or GPS, and have fun.
Out the road toward Easton, and beyond the old cutoff that used to take you back over the top to Greenwater and Enumclaw, or Naches if you had the inkling, there are a group of caves visible from the road out beyond Blowout Mountain. Just above and across a stream channel that runs parallel to the road.
Watch for wildlife, I've seen Cougars, Bears, Coyotes, Picha, and if your a fisherman, be sure to have a good selection of flies.
Lizard lake holds both Brookies, and Dollies. The green through Lester holds a few nice Cutthroat, plus if you get off the beaten path, and look you can find other small potholes which hold trout also.  up.gif

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"And these children that you spit on, while they try and change their world, are immune to your consultations. They're quite aware of what they're going through"
(David Bowie)
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ICLIMB76
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PostTue May 20, 2008 2:06 pm 
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My brother is lucky enough to be able to go into Lester all the time and year around. He says that until this winter there were 3 buildings left standing. 2 homes that I think I saw in one of the links and 1 barn. The barn caved in this winter from the heavy snow but the homes are still standing.
The hot springs have been dynamited and filled in. By whom and for what reason I'm not sure.
As for wildlife up there, it may not be like it was many years ago but there are more animals there then most other areas in the state. He is always taking pictures of elk,deer,bear,cats,etc.
If anyone has questions I can try and get them answered for you.
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Snowbrushy
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PostTue May 20, 2008 2:46 pm 
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Hi,  Someone here mentioned an old FS Ranger Station there. Do you know if it's still there?

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Oh Pilot of the storm who leaves no trace Like thoughts inside a dream Heed the path that led me to that place Yellow desert stream.
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jinj
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PostTue May 20, 2008 4:43 pm 
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You can get permits from Palmer Coke and Coal to go quite far into the forests back there, I have one. Then the land is another logging company, then the Tacoma watershed, above the dam.
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H. Hound
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PostTue May 20, 2008 6:08 pm 
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Bummer about the Barn.

From 2007

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Beaucephus
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PostWed May 21, 2008 10:21 pm 
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It's been several years since I was last there, to the yellow gate nearest Lester. The night I drove in for the opening of hunting season, my truck blew a head gasket, and left me sitting up at Cedar Notch, just outside the Seattle watershed boundary. No phone, no way out but make the truck go all the way back over Stampede pass.
This discussion has gotten me wondering if the two old cars I found so many years ago, are still hidden just outside Lester.
I can't imagine them being there still, but for those inclined to look.
Follow the road all the way to the yellow gate a mile before Lester, and just before the old emergency airstrip. Go back the fork in the road by the cement bridge, turn left back toward Stampede pass the way you came in.
Stop just at the bottom of the small incline of that left fork, and go through forest to your left about 50 yds. If memory serves, it was an early 50s 4 dr Chevrolet, and an Olds or Buick probably 10-15 yrs older, typical gangster type car.
Another foot note, for those so inclined, toward wild fungi. The Brown house to the right of the yellow gate, if you look across the driveway left from the front porch toward the tall fir trees in the yard. There used to be a large patch of Shaggy Manes that came up during Sept. & Oct.
Or if a person has the nagging for large Boletes, there are two other passes just north of Stampede pass, accessible from west side of the cascades. Take I 90 to Stampede pass, follow the road over the the hill through the switchbacks, and when you finish that last switch in the road, and are in valley. You will be looking at a fork in the road, with another cement bridge to your left, a gravel road to your right. Go right, follow this road, there will several small side roads and turn outs. You will shortly come to another fork, of which the right has always been a fairly rough road, but will take you out the east side, and eventually connect with the Lost Lake road.
The second pass is Meadow pass, and it is to the left at the fork, the road will climb and curve around, eventually bringing you to another fork. Take that right, and follow it up and over, back to the east side and eventually connecting once again with the Lost Lake road.
Both of these roads, on the banks have held some very meaty and large Boletus fungi.
When last in Lester myself, standing on the hillside directly across the valley, when they last clearcut the area, was a cabin of some sort. There was at one time about 15 yrs ago, a pair of wings from a downed plane visible in a gulley near that clearcut, when you stood on top of Bald Mountain on the north side of Lester.
If the floods of the past years have not washed it all away, there was once a Pinto stationwagon that had been dumped along the river bottom south of where the old airstrip was, along with several old fridges, and oil drums.
Up inside the watershed, I also could show a person where logging crews have dumped the oil from their rigs before leaving the landings, when they finish with a job.
For those who have not been before, it makes for a nice day trip to the area. It's about a mile walk from the yellow gate into Lester proper, and remember your tax dollars pay for that land. The most they can do is ask a body to leave the way they came in. The road beyond the gate is lined with Apple and Elderberry trees. I used to pick alot of those Apples during hunting season, and I kid you not, they were delicious. State land boundaries actually exist all the way to the west side of the old town, where the big white no trespassing sign exists.
OH, almost forgot, if you drive back east from the yellow gate, and go right the fork across the cement bridge, theres an old Apple tree on the right side of the road, that is my guess, centuries old. It towered over the road, to a height of probably 75-80 ft. We used to park a pickup under that thing, lay done in the bed, and shoot fruit off it's branches with pistols. Talk about getting sticky, of course there was always a stream close to wash up in, and what better way to cool off on hot summer days.

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"And these children that you spit on, while they try and change their world, are immune to your consultations. They're quite aware of what they're going through"
(David Bowie)
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Dave Workman
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PostThu May 22, 2008 12:37 pm 
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Beaucephus wrote:
Lester is far from what it once was, both physically, and historically.
I've read stories of a young musician, named Henry John Dutchendorf Jr., having once spent time there, and locals telling him he had no future in music.

Actually, I think they told him he didn't have much of a future setting chokers.
But then he traveled off to Denver, Colorado and the rest, they say, is history.   wink.gif
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Lost Cosmonaut
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PostFri Jul 11, 2008 11:21 pm 
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Hello all, I had to sign up on this forum because this history section is awesome!

About Lester, good to see people are still interested in it.  Here's the facts from the last time I was up there late last year:

The old bridge and gate have been replaced by a new bridge and a much larger, stronger gate.  There is a sign that says NO BICYCLES but walk-ins are OK.
There are several buildings left.
The train is still active so be careful.
Stampede pass is usually a pretty open road, nice wide and usually well graded gravel.  Getting up there is not difficult.  You could do it in a regular car if you don't mind rock chips wink.gif

My focus has been on finding Weston as well as the Hot Springs which Beaucephus mentions.  The Hot Springs actually were home to a large sanatorium around the turn of the century, home to around 225 people as well as several doctors.  They even had a bowling alley there.  Supposedly it all burned down by ca.1918, but I have to imagine there are still remnants somewhere unless they were all bulldozed by the City of Tacoma.

Here are the Wikipedia articles I wrote about Lester, Weston and Hot Springs:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_Springs%2C_Washington

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lester%2C_Washington

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weston%2C_Washington

- Patrick
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Bryan K
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PostSat Jul 12, 2008 1:53 pm 
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How far does one have to walk from the gate to the site of LEster?

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Dogpatch
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PostSat Jul 12, 2008 3:43 pm 
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It's a mile or so down the road to Lester. We were back there a week ago - the road over Stampede Pass is clear of snow now. (We had to remove some rockfall, though.)

We talked to some guys who worked for the railroad. They say that there's 8 trains a day coming through there now - that's good for the railroads!

And yeah, the barn is down and the two remaining houses aren't going to last much longer. What a pretty valley it is.

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"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
  Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." – Groucho Marx
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Snowbrushy
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PostSat Jul 12, 2008 8:57 pm 
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Take any pics?

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Oh Pilot of the storm who leaves no trace Like thoughts inside a dream Heed the path that led me to that place Yellow desert stream.
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Lost Cosmonaut
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PostSun Jul 13, 2008 10:26 pm 
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Dogpatch wrote:
It's a mile or so down the road to Lester. We were back there a week ago - the road over Stampede Pass is clear of snow now. (We had to remove some rockfall, though.)

We talked to some guys who worked for the railroad. They say that there's 8 trains a day coming through there now - that's good for the railroads!

And yeah, the barn is down and the two remaining houses aren't going to last much longer. What a pretty valley it is.

Yeah, it's about 1-2 miles.  But it feels like 4 or 5 in the 90+ degree weather of last August lol.gif

I'm planning on going around September or August when it starts to cool down.  And go earlier (we started last time at 2pm).

Hot Springs is another mile or so past Lester.  That's my real goal.

Do watch out for bear though.  We always see bear scat on the road, and last time we were up there we actually saw one head across the road near the gate  eek.gif  My wife made me get a pistol to carry for just in case!

- Patrick
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