Forum Index > Trip Reports > This is not your typical ending to a trip.  Duckabush area peaks 4729 and 3652 2/15/2020
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Stefan
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PostMon Feb 17, 2020 11:43 am 
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2/15/2020

This is not your typical ending to a trip.

Went out Saturday morning to do some dumpster diving in the Olympics. This time was up the Duckabush drainage.  I started 4.2 miles up the Murhut Creek Road which goes past the Murhut Falls trail.  I ran into snow at 2000 feet, parked the car and got on skis for the long skiing trudge on logging roads I was about to partake in.  It was 6:30am.  I had to start early so I could finish early because I was going to go to a theatrical play in Tacoma that night.  It was still dark and I put on the headlamp.  In about 100 meters from my car, I came across a blue truck.   The truck was fairly new and was stuck in the snow and mud.  The truck was off to the left hand side of the road and the rear passenger tire was blown—the truck looked liked it was fairly new—maybe a year or two bought ago.    I was now on the right hand side of the truck in the dark with my headlamp on--this is important for later in the story.  I thought the person(s) could not unstuck the vehicle from the past several days.  I thought the person walked down the road yesterday or a couple of days ago and was mounting friendly reinforcements to get this vehicle.  Oh well, there is nothing I could do to help out with this stuck truck.  On I go on the skis on the logging road and my trip.

I trudge another 5 miles on the skis until about 3450 feet.  The sunlight had come and gone and at times there was light precipitation.  I took off the skis and put on the climbing boots and then went uphill to get to peak 4729 (889’ of prominence) which is west of Murhut Creek.  The snow started firm in the trees and rhododendron bushes but became eventually became only 4 inch deep snow at the top.  The ridgeline traverse to the top was easy and enjoyable being out of the forest.  Clouds swirled in and out and there was no opportunity for pictures.  No snowshoes needed whatsoever.  I retracted by steps back down to the skis.  2 hours round trip from the skis to the top and back to the skis.

I then went back down the logging road to Murhut Creek and then went up a logging road east of Murhut Creek towards Peak 3652 (492’ of prominence).  The road became too choked with slide alder at about 1.5 miles in, so I dumped the skis and went cross country up Peak 3652.  The southwest ridgeline of 3652 is choked with awful small trees and lots of rhodies.  Awful!!!!  I retraced my steps to the skis and skied down the logging roads.

Here is where the story changes.   Nearing the end of the trip and getting near to my car, I come across the stuck blue truck again as I come around the corner.  Well they did not get reinforcements yet--that was not the case.  As I went past the blue truck, off to far side and behind the back side of the truck was a dead man laying in the snow on his back.  That was a shock to see.  He was an older man about 60 or 70 years old.  He had been there a while due to his discoloration.  I knew he was dead.  He was about 5 meters away.  I yelled anyway a couple of times just to make sure.  No responses.  His clothes were still on, but he had no shoes on.  I did not touch his body nor any part of the vehicle.  I then realized I had gone by in the morning with my headlamp on and had not seen him—he was out of the periphery of my vision and light.  Nothing I knew I could do.   I walked somberly back the 100 meters to my car.  In those 100 meters I came across his shoes and a wheel chair parking permit one would hang from the rear view mirror.  That was weird.  I surmised he may have been delirious as what happens with people who are hypothermic.  I went back to my car and drove down to where the Duckabush Road meets highway 101 where I had enough cell phone reception and called 911.   After about 30 minutes two ambulances show up, fire personnel, the USDA Forest Service law enforcement officer, and finally the sheriff shows up at the corner of Duckabush River and highway one.  About 15 people in all.  I gave them my USGS map and gave them specifics about where the body was and telling them about the condition of the road—they needed a high clearance vehicle to retract the body do the to the water bars/berms that had been created on this road.  They had told me the man had been missing for many days.    They were surmising a plan to retrieve the body, and I was then free to go.

So, am I okay?  I think so.  I do not live in Syria or Iraq or eastern Africa where it is a fairly common occurrence for people to be deadened by the scene of death all around them, and I am thankful for that ignorance.  I am happy I can give some closure to the families who were worried about this person.  I don’t remember many of my dumpster diving trips because many of these peaks are not worthy to remember.  I will remember this one.

13 miles of logging road skiing.  4100’ of elevation gain.  9 hours round trip.

news report:
https://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/88-year-old-brinnon-man-found-dead-on-forest-service-land/

map:
Duckabush peaks
Duckabush peaks

Stefan

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Art is an adventure.
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awilsondc
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PostMon Feb 17, 2020 1:12 pm 
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Dang man..  just.  Wow.  RIP
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Backpacker Joe
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PostMon Feb 17, 2020 5:08 pm 
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Ya.  Wow.  Sorry you had to deal with that Stefan.

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

— Abraham Lincoln
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Malachai Constant
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PostMon Feb 17, 2020 5:56 pm 
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I am always afraid of that when I see a tent or vehicle in an odd place. RIP

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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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raising3hikers
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PostMon Feb 17, 2020 6:11 pm 
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eek.gif you're right that it's not a typical ending to a trip.  thanks for the info on those pks

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Eric Eames
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Ski
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PostMon Feb 17, 2020 6:42 pm 
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huh.gif

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Brushwork
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PostMon Feb 17, 2020 7:19 pm 
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Whoa, that’s a hard thing to experience.   Very sad about the man. 

I just can’t imagine how I would feel.

At least now there’s some closure for family.

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Nancyann
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PostMon Feb 17, 2020 8:38 pm 
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How sad. Sorry you had to go through that.
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fourteen410
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PostMon Feb 17, 2020 8:50 pm 
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Wow. Sorry you had to see that, but good on ya for bringing closure to his loved ones.  frown.gif
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Bernardo
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PostMon Feb 17, 2020 9:10 pm 
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I thought this was going to end with you fiding a person waiting for help in the truck.  RIP man.
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ranger rock
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PostMon Feb 17, 2020 9:40 pm 
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Wow, sorry you had to deal with that.. Never fun finding dead bodies by surprise.
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Waterman
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PostTue Feb 18, 2020 4:11 pm 
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Sorry you had that experience.  Going to affect you everytime you pass through the area.

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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.
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Cyclopath
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PostTue Feb 18, 2020 5:15 pm 
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Like everyone else, in sorry you went through that.  Sounds like at least it's wasn't foul play.
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seawallrunner
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PostWed Feb 19, 2020 9:05 pm 
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Oh my goodness Stefan. No one expects this on a day's outing.

My sympathies to you, and my condolences to the deceased's family and friends. How terrible.

I hope that you have someone that you can talk with, about this discovery, and about all the feelings that this brings up. I am so sorry.
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Chief Joseph
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PostWed Feb 19, 2020 10:49 pm 
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Wow, definitely a shocking ending to a trip!

So, he was apparently testing his 4x4 past it's limits and failed?

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Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > This is not your typical ending to a trip.  Duckabush area peaks 4729 and 3652 2/15/2020
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