Forum Index > Trip Reports > Disgusting find at Ida Lake 10-15-19
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nickmtn
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PostFri Nov 01, 2019 9:46 am 
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So stupid on many levels. Not that you should have a fire there regardless, but if these idiots knew anything they'd know that a standing tree with healthy bark on it doesn't burn! And it leaves the sawcuts, which will probably be the longest lasting and ugliest damage.
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Downhill
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PostFri Nov 01, 2019 10:09 am 
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timberghost wrote:
Not being sarcastic in the least just appreciative

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Cyclopath
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PostFri Nov 01, 2019 11:11 am 
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Nancyann wrote:
That is so frustrating and disgusting. I would turn in the photos to the Forest Service at the very least.
That reminds me of last year at the same time of October when I came across a couple who were sitting in lawn chairs next to a campfire literally a foot from the shore of Lake Susan Jane on the PCT. There were multiple signs near the lake saying no campfires allowed, so I stopped to talk with them to see why they were so “special”. Their excuse was that it was cold and they had just moved up from Arizona, didn’t know the rules. They promised to dismantle the fire pit the next morning.  I hiked back up there a few days later and removed it myself.  shakehead.gif

Thanks for saying something.  I've camped in the backcountry where fires are obviously prohibited, and found … you guessed it.  But always after the fact.

I'm not as annoyed by the harm to the individual tree(s) as by the hell we've went through two years in a row with pervasive, choking smoke.  I feel like the type of person who's going to make an obviously illegal fire is the type of person who isn't going to put in the effort to make sure it's really out.  Not that I think cutting trees for no good reason is ok, just that the fire risk bothers me even more.

Anyway, hearing about it from a person probably has more effect than reading a sign stating "no fires."  I imagine you were polite about it, which (I think) makes your words harder to dismiss out of hand.

I hope you told them about down and synthetic insulation.  It's this amazing technology that lets you stay warm without a fire!
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Backpacker Joe
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PostFri Nov 01, 2019 4:16 pm 
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I would print pics of this vehicle and license plate and take them to the 11Worth ranger station.  Ask them to navigate to NWHikers and show them you're trip report and then give them the printed pictures.

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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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Gwen
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PostFri Nov 01, 2019 4:50 pm 
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The ONLY reason I disagree about posting the vehicle pics is that there's nothing concrete that attaches the person who made the fire to that vehicle. Unless, you have concrete evidence, don't do it; ir makes you a less credible witness in the future. But by all means, share the story and ALL the pics with Wenatchee River Ranger Station; they'll know what they can and can't do and how to file the info away for the future. It may also change where or how often they choose to patrol.

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Downhill
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PostFri Nov 01, 2019 8:50 pm 
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Gwen wrote:
The ONLY reason I disagree about posting the vehicle pics is that there's nothing concrete that attaches the person who made the fire to that vehicle. Unless, you have concrete evidence, don't do it; ir makes you a less credible witness in the future. But by all means, share the story and ALL the pics with Wenatchee River Ranger Station; they'll know what they can and can't do and how to file the info away for the future. It may also change where or how often they choose to patrol.

This is exactly why I haven't posted the photos to date.  I'd hate to publicly shame an innocent person.  I honestly don't mind if the evidence I have isn't admissable in court, that's a different test of proof (we've all seen enough crime shows to have that down pat).  I don't want to falsely accuse and innocent hiker.

Here's what I got:

* Only one car in the parking lot at 6:30 AM - with a thick coating of dew.  Presumption is it's been there overnight.
* Parking lot serves as TH for a system of trails serving a popular and quite large area and the main access to the south end of the Chiwaukum Range.  Hikers parked here could be at any number of lakes or peaks.  But since there's only one car, the owner can only be in once place at any time.  And the owner has been out camping somewhere overnight.
* I don't meet anyone on the maintained CC trail while hiking to, or teturning from the fishermen's trail that split off the CC trail - nor do I see anyone all day.  The bootpath here is rustic, narrow, and unmaintained but sees moderately frequent use (approx weekly during peak season). 
* The weather for the 2-3 weeks prior had been very wet - the rain during that periond would have washed away any previous boot/shoe prints from the track.  There was significant snow accumulations above circa 3500 during those weeks.
* 2 days prior to my trip, the weather cleared, the temps rose and the snow line moved higher to around 7000 on S and W slopes and 5500 on N and E aspects.
*  On the off-trail, rustic bootpath above the Chatter Cr trail I frequently observed one single boot print, Vibram-style that was still crisp and sharp on all edges, in a condition that would not have survived the days and weeks of rain and snow.
* When I reached the pass between Hoxsey Creek basin and Ida lake, and all the way to the lakeshore, the conditions turned to solid snowpack of 10" to 24" and here I was following a single set of boot prints in the snow, somewhat erroded by the bright sunshine of the day before.
* There were no other tracks in the snow at the lake - I circumnavigated the lake.  The prior-hiker's tracks led directly from the pass led to the campsite and firepit in my photos.
*  I arrived at the lake around 11:15 AM and the ashes in the firepit were warm to the touch as were a couple of partially-burned logs/sticks.  There was no evidence of an attempt to douse the ashes/firepit.  My guess is that ambient temp was about 38-40F at this time and below freezing several hour prior - so this material would not have been warm to the touch naturally.
* Near the firepit there was an area that had been recently cleared of snow and sticks for a tent/fly.  New tracks, without any sun errosion led away from this site to the east.   I believe these tracks were made the same morning as the bright sun of the day before would have melted them to some extent and they were crisp and sharp and detailed the features of the boot soles.
*  There was fresh sawdust on the snow around the bases of the sawn trees in the photos.
*  The tracks leaving the campsite headed along the E shore of the lake and then went N to the pass above Ida and looking down on Painter Cr and Carter lake - in the opposite direction of the parking lot and TH.
* I returned down the same way I came up and when I reached the parking area about 3:45 PM there was only one vehicle there, the same one from the morning that had been there overnight.  In my opinion, there was only one party camping overnight anywhere within a day's hike from this lot.
* You can reach Ida lake from other directions - from the east up Hatchery Cr/Lk Augusta, from the north from the upper Icicle via many Lady Lakes, from Chiwaukum/Painter creek trails.  And while these are all theoretically possible, they are very indirect, some are overgrown and all are much longer by many miles/hours than the approach I used. These are unlikely routes, especially in a crappy-weather October.  And if the hiker had used any of these approaches, he would have left tracks in the snow coming to Ida from those directions and there was only the one set of tracks other than mine (and Maui's) and those were on the same route as mine.

Based on these, albiet circumstantial indicators, I have concluded that the tracks I saw going to Ida lake and to the firepit site were made the day before me.  The tracks leading away from the campsite toward Carter lake were made the same day as my arrival by the same person.  There was only one party camping overnight in that region of Chiwaukum range the night prior - Thus, the person parked at the Chatter C TH was camped at Ida and he was responsible for the fire and woodcutting.

Do I have enough information to feel confident that I'm not outing an innocent person?

One reason I waited some days to make my OP is I was waiting to see if someone posted TR for this hike for the day prior to mine, essentially outing themselves.  Admitting to being there the day/night before and with no other tracks there but mine, I'd have zero doubt.
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Bernardo
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PostSat Nov 02, 2019 4:58 pm 
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Could the defense attorney argue there was at least one other person known to be at the lake around the time of the incident?  Seems to be a tactic these days: the guilty (other guy) accuse the innocent (you) of the crime they committed.  This seems to be the biggest weakness in a possible case.
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Slugman
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PostSat Nov 02, 2019 5:59 pm 
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I once hiked with someone to Lewis and Wing lakes, and he built a fire at Wing despite my urging not to. I moved my camp, wrote him out of the trip report completely, and never hiked with him or hung out with him ever again, even though we had been best friends for years. I almost made him walk home.

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"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore. There is society where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but nature more..."  Childe Harold
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ImTheScientist
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PostSat Nov 02, 2019 6:02 pm 
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Slugman wrote:
I once hiked with someone to Lewis and Wing lakes, and he built a fire at Wing despite my urging not to. I moved my camp, wrote him out of the trip report completely, and never hiked with him or hung out with him ever again, even though we had been best friends for years. I almost made him walk home.

Brutal
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BigBrunyon
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PostSat Nov 02, 2019 11:05 pm 
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You need an attorney who is confident going off a hunch when the time calls for it. The best of the bunch do. Old west style. Taking hard gambles on their hunch like fabricatin' a decent bit to get that case to send

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i ALWAYS camp at the upper lake!
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Slide Alder Slayer
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PostSun Nov 03, 2019 10:51 am 
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The individual who made this illegal campfire was above 5,000’, right next to a lake, and cut down trees; all disgusting actions; but without more environmental damage I doubt there would be any response from a ranger.

Having served three Court systems I want to caution you on going public with your information that is based on preponderance of evidence at best. Worst case scenario you could set yourself up for a defamation of character lawsuit however slight this possibility or internet harassment from the accused.

I’m as upset as others on this site and have come across a similar illegal campfire that I posted years ago on a bench below Mount Cashmere that included broken glass beer bottles. Having said that public shaming can be a two-sided sword.
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HitTheTrail
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PostSun Nov 03, 2019 12:48 pm 
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Sorry to hear about this in such a nice area. We found a similar situation at Airplane Lake some years ago and even met the two guys who were almost certainly the perps (but didn't know about the damage at the lake yet until we got up there). Even talked to them for a few minutes. I am not sure I would want either one of those guys mad at me for reporting them to authorities.
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Sallie4jo
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PostSun Nov 03, 2019 1:30 pm 
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Thanks for posting this..maybe someone new to hiking/camping will read and learn how this is so totally not ok.  And .. just to add ..green wood doesn't burn..just smolders..  i remember seeing this alot years ago...that and cutting boughs to sleep on.  I do agree..turn your information in..and post on other sites.  Peace

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Backpacker Joe
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PostSun Nov 03, 2019 3:37 pm 
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We can hope someone he knows sees this report and tells him about it.

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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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Downhill
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PostSun Nov 03, 2019 5:21 pm 
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I've been out of town since I made the trip to Ida and I am returning to L'worth tomorrow.  I will take my information to USFS and possibly to Chelan County when I get back.

For the time being, I am not going to post my pics here publicly for reasons expressed by myself and others on this thread.  I may change my mind down the road.  As I mentioned in the OP, I think I may have seen this vehicle before in the area before - there was an annual forest pass on the dash so the owner is a frequent hiker. I will keep my eyes open for this vehicle and maybe I'll have an opportunity to approach the owner face-to-face.

Thank you all for your comments and advice, it has been helpful to me.
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