This forest bears the name of a famous explorer. Born in Denmark, immigrant to the United States, westward-expansion trailblazer, and silver/gold prospector, this man left his name all over the American West.

Side note, have you ever wondered what it would be like in a cave that was left by lava? Interesting stuff. I’d probably leave one of my coins there if I were to make that trek.



Have you ever thought about how interesting it might be to be one of the lookout tower employees of the USFS where your only real job was to watch for fires and stay alive? I have a grand view of watching the sun come over the horizon on the East, illuminating just the peaks at first and then watching the shadows in the valley slowly disappear as the sun approaches overhead. Then, as it begins to fall, the ridge tops begin to cast their shadows into the valleys until just the peaks remain lit by the sun just before it drops over the horizon on the West to reveal a beautiful stary night sky.

Well, since the next place I want to talk about is in the PNW, its probably more like this: wake up early with the rain pounding on the roof, slodge out to the outhouse through the mud just to go to the bathroom, then watch the surrounding mist go from black to lighter and lighter shades of dreary gray before reversing back to black and you go to bed to do the same thing the next day. I think I’d still be okay though, other than being lonely.

During WWII a lot of the lookouts also became observer stations where couples (to solve the loneliness problem) would be tasked with keeping a 24-hour watch to see of the Japanese were launching either incendiary balloons or attacking with aircraft. I think I would have liked that a lot. There is one lookout in particular that looks really interesting. In that day it would have been accessed by a trail that started near the town of Crale and ventured up towards the lookout from there.

The lookout was dismantled around 1968 so you may have to find some older maps. They’re out there though. Can you tell me where this lookout was?


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I often feel like I am too critical on some National Forest and the things they have to offer the public. In fact, some of their web sites highlight the most mundane things in an attempt to entice people into exploring their land. For this forest, they did not even make an attempt. Most of the pages are completely blank. No history and culture, nothing for the kids, nothing about outdoor safety, nothing about the nature and science in the area.

They do mention one place that looks interesting, a giant monolith sticking out of the side of the mountain like a fist raising out of the grave. With all my criticisms, I’m sure I would love it if I were there to see it myself.

Also, to add to the mystery, no one knows where the name of this forest comes from. So its just vagueness all around for this one. ENJOY!

Can you identify this rock structure in this non-descript forest?


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Having only been to the Canadian border once, it was during an important transition time in my life and I felt at home in the mountains of the North. During that trip I also became familiar with old mining towns that had long since forgotten and mining equipment left to sink back into the ground which it had a part in digging up.

It made me think a lot about life back in those days. Were people trying to get rich? Or were they chasing the next vein to continue living? Did they love the constant exploration into the wilderness to find the next vein of ore or were they simply doing their job?

While researching these armchair hunts I often find things that I will spend hours researching and contemplating these same kinds of questions over. One of these long-gone places is a mine that was within 1/2 of a mile from the Boundary between the US and Canada. As far as I can tell there are no remnants of anything to do with the mine other than some debris near one of the entrances. I do not think there is even a trail anymore to, what once was, where someone spent their days making ends meet.

This one is going to take some work, but I am sure some of you sleuths can find it. Where EXACTLY was the mill located? I am looking for a latitude and longitude (within a few feet) for this one. Call it a “GPS solve”. Maybe not…



“A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself.”

I have a lot in common with the man quoted above when it comes to his philosophy on nature. Maybe one day I’ll have a wilderness named after me too… probably not. It would be fun to be buried in a place named for a person who I identify with. There happens to be a fitting peak too. Better not slide off the top though, that is somewhere I DON’T want to go.

Can you identify this peak? I’m sure you can.