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Brian Curtis
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Brian Curtis
Trail Blazer/HiLaker
PostTue Oct 08, 2013 5:10 pm 
A little over ten years ago I posted to this Nordrum Lake TR that I had a copy of a video of the Trail Blazers building the shelter at the lake in 1946. I recalled myself promising to post a copy, but looking back it seems I didn't actually make a promise. Still, it seems churlish to mention I had it without posting it when I got a chance. So, ten years later here it is. Everyone who has been holding their breath can exhale now.

The Nordrum shelter was built in 1946 as a memorial for Bill Simon who was killed in Wold War II. The cabin was found to be listing beyond repair in 1972 and it was burned shortly thereafter. The site is still obvious and the old plaque is still at the lake. If you look around you can still find the big old yellow cedar log they used to make shakes. It doesn't look like it has decayed all that much.


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that elitist from silverdale wanted to tell me that all carnes are bad--Studebaker Hoch
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Ski
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PostTue Oct 08, 2013 6:23 pm 
excellent.
love the old Trapper Nelsons and rubber raingear.
thank you.

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Kim Brown
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PostTue Oct 08, 2013 10:43 pm 
Really, really nice! I liked seeing them peeling the logs.  I've never been to Nordrum Lake. This sure makes me want to go -  would love to see the yellow-cedar and the plaque and just stand at the site and think about Bill Simon and his buddies.  Trailblazier history linkmentions that all trailblazers returned from the war except Bill Simon.

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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Brian Curtis
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Joined: 16 Dec 2001
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Location: Silverdale, WA
Brian Curtis
Trail Blazer/HiLaker
PostWed Oct 09, 2013 8:44 am 
Kim, if you take the trail to the lake the shelter site isn't obvious. The trail dumps you at the NW corner of the lake. The shelter was over by the outlet. Kind of where the topo shows the trail coming in.

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that elitist from silverdale wanted to tell me that all carnes are bad--Studebaker Hoch
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Kim Brown
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Kim Brown
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PostWed Oct 09, 2013 9:05 am 
It's too bad the shelter was dilapidated after only 30ish years - Alaska yellow-cedar is among the most rot-resistant wood out there and unless it was cut up for firewood and/or otherwise vandalised, it would still be there today, a great testament to the freindship of Bill. My guess is that the hiking boom in the 1960's and '70's brought on my 100 Hikes and other social changes funneled in some pretty callous people who didn't care about anything but themselves.  I have read about shelters (in old Signpost magazines) being repaired/rebuilt after vandalism time and time again, and agency staff writing letters to the editor pleading with the public to not vandalize them, but the agencies and partners' efforts were exhausted and the shelters finally removed.

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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Brian Curtis
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Brian Curtis
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PostWed Oct 09, 2013 11:16 am 
Here's a photo of the shelter from 1969. Note the diagonal brace on the left side. It has been reversed from the original. That could indicate there were already some structural issues. The sign on the left upright is one of the old These waters planted by Trail Blazers plaques. Like the one in my avatar. Photo by Don Curtis.

Nordrum Lake shelter in 1969. Built by the Trail Blazers, it was listing beyond repair by 1972 and was burned shortly thereafter. Note the Trail Blazer sign on the shelter's left upright.
Nordrum Lake shelter in 1969. Built by the Trail Blazers, it was listing beyond repair by 1972 and was burned shortly thereafter. Note the Trail Blazer sign on the shelter's left upright.

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that elitist from silverdale wanted to tell me that all carnes are bad--Studebaker Hoch
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Kim Brown
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Kim Brown
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PostWed Oct 09, 2013 11:29 am 
so I was wrong. Good!

Looks structural, as you say. Actually in this photo, aside from the slump, the building (and the wood) does look really good.  Perhpas the roof was too heavy over  time, esp. with snowload. They really did a bang-up job on those shingles!

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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Critter
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Joined: 25 Aug 2012
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Critter
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PostWed Oct 09, 2013 8:06 pm 
Trail Blazers are hardcore!  I'm kinda' like a Trail Blazer.  I have a 'Trail Blazer' custom title.  I'm more of a poser, really.

I like the goofy guy at 7:11-7:22.  That's me.

I hope the guy was able to stitch the ripped out butt in those pants.  8:20-8:25.

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JimK
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PostWed Oct 09, 2013 8:29 pm 
Thanks Brian. I really appreciate being able to see footage of the "old days".

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RodF
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PostWed Oct 09, 2013 10:49 pm 
Wonderful film, Brian!  Enjoyed seeing a froe in action, splitting siding and shakes.  Thanks very much for sharing it.

Brian Curtis wrote:
Here's a photo of the shelter from 1969. Note the diagonal brace on the left side. It has been reversed from the original.

Not only that, but it appears the two vertical posts were added to support the front beam spanning the entrance.  This front beam is structurally the weakest member, the element most likely to fail under heavy snow load.  Ref: structural analysis.

It appears the Nordrum Shelter lacked diagonal braces within its walls?  The standard USFS L-4 shelter design incorporates diagonal braces within every bay of all three walls (except the center bay of the rear wall), as well as two (or sometimes four) braces in the ridge truss, and knee braces on the front beam.
L-4 plan, USFS R6 Buildings Plans Handbook, 1934
L-4 plan, USFS R6 Buildings Plans Handbook, 1934

The result is a structure so resistant to racking that it will stand square, even when the rear sill is so rotted that it no longer supports any weight at all, or is even removed.

Those braces can be retrofit into the structure, to straighten it up later.  I guess we'll never know what happened between 1969 and 1972, or whether it really was "beyond repair"... but I doubt it.  Agency wildernuts burned dozens of shelters in the '70s for purely ideological reasons, an enormous loss of our heritage.

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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Ski
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PostThu Oct 10, 2013 1:23 am 
Quote:
seeing a froe in action

Rod, you never used a froe?
Lots of fun. After you blow a couple bolts you figure out how to read the grain and can make 'em nice and straight. That guy in the video had already done it a time or two.
Got one here you can try. Bring your own mallet.

smile.gif

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Brian Curtis
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Joined: 16 Dec 2001
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Location: Silverdale, WA
Brian Curtis
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PostThu Oct 10, 2013 5:48 pm 
That is really interesting, Rod. Thanks for posting it. I'm in Louisiana right now and don't have a great connection so I haven't gone back to look at the video, but it seems like the back wall on the Nordrum shelter was taller then the back wall in the standard design. Or is that a trick of memory?

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that elitist from silverdale wanted to tell me that all carnes are bad--Studebaker Hoch
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Malachai Constant
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Malachai Constant
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PostThu Oct 10, 2013 6:53 pm 
FASCINATING smile.gif  We had all the tools they used at my childhood home in Port Orchard. I bet there are few that could do that now. I guess no EIS for taking down the big tree. eek.gif I do wonder how all that green wood stood up for so many years. We have many lean-to's on the trails in New England but we pitch a tent inside due to Hanta Virus and Lyme. So sad that world has passed bawl.gif

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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fjoro
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fjoro
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PostThu Oct 10, 2013 7:12 pm 
Critter wrote:
I hope the guy was able to stitch the ripped out butt in those pants.

Those pants were froe'd, Critter-style.

This video is the kind of thing that will keep me lurking here for another five years.

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How would Horatio Alger have handled this situation?
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RodF
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PostThu Oct 10, 2013 9:15 pm 
Brian Curtis wrote:
it seems like the back wall on the Nordrum shelter was taller then the back wall in the standard design?

Yes, it appears both the front and back walls are 8 foot tall.

In the L-4 design, the front beam is depicted as 7'10" above the ground (actual shelters vary from 7 to 10 feet) and the rear wall as 5'.  Lowering the rear roof and offsetting the ridge towards the front is less drafty and better reflects and traps heat from a campfire built in front of the entrance, but at the loss of headroom in the bunks.

The L-4 post-and-beam was the most common shelter design in Region 6 (Pacific NW) wherever cedar were available for shake siding (a few were also built using fir or pine rip-sawn plank siding).  It required fewer logs than the earlier Adirondack stacked log wall shelter design.

Some other shelters in the Cascades were of the same design as Nordrum.  See Trail Shelters of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie and Wenatchee National Forests.

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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