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Camping At Snow Lake in the Nineteen-Forties: During World War II

Saturday, January 6, 2007

BY: DON FENTON

One of the unexpected pleasures of having this personal website is hearing from visitors. Some visitors contact me with questions and others with comments and yet others provide more information about a topic here at PIAP.com. Don Fenton is in the third category. Don contacted me in July of 2005 looking for information on Snow Lake he also told me that seeing pictures of Snow Lake here and here at PIAP.com brought back fond memories of his camping trips to Snow lake as a young man.

Don has written about some of his memories at his Uncle's cabin on Snow Lake to share with all of us. Don, thank you for sharing your memories with me and allowing me to share your writing with the rest of the visitors to PIAP.com.

 

As a teenager who lived in Alki, I frequently camped at Snow Lake, particularly because my Uncle Aldrich owned a 2 story log cabin and several acres on the north side of the Lake. Aldrich was a timber cruiser for the Weyerhaeuser Lumber Company.

The cabin had a concrete slab floor, and concrete walls for 3 feet or so, and then construction using logs etc. The windows had shutters made with half-logs.  The main door faced the Lake.  The second floor was reached by either of 2 built-in ladders affixed to the north wall, with cut-outs on the upper floor.  There were 8, probably, built-in bunk beds.  Thin mattresses and pillows were stored in large wooden boxes, with tight fitting covers, to discourage the small animals from ripping the bedding apart.  

The kitchen area on the first floor was in the northwest corner, and contained a standard cast-iron stove.  I was told that a large, burly Swede or the equivalent carried the stove on his back to the Lake. 

Our water for cooking and drinking came from a stream maybe a hundred feet from the cabin on the west side.  I think it was year-around.  I have no recollection of any water pollution issues; including the now prevalent gerardia (beaver fever).

Security was a continuous problem for my Uncle.  He used large hinges, a large padlock hasp, and a large padlock on the front door.  The back door by the kitchen was secured inside.  He even affixed a large brass plaque on the front door which read something like “Warning.  Danger.  Electric shock hazard”   It was completely bogus, as there wasn’t any conceivable electricity source.  However, he told me that it did deter some of the otherwise attempted break-ins and vandalism!

One day he heard a lot of hollering etc. from up on the ridge, so he closed up the front door with the padlock, closed all the shutters on the windows, and secured the back door.  He waited, and shortly after the party arrived at the cabin, with my Uncle inside, one of the party started chopping with an axe on the wood by the padlock hasp.  He then walked out the back door, and proceeded to the vandals and asked them what they were doing.  They might have been fortunate they weren’t shot, as my Uncle held strong opinions about most things!

There was a wooden boat, which was stored inside the cabin.  It had to be carried across the vegetation to the shore.  I think there might have been less shrubs and other ground cover than exists in 2006

One morning my fellow camper & I wanted pancakes for breakfast.  We had the pancake mix, but no syrup.  So….we hiked out to Snoqualmie Pass, and borrowed or purchased syrup, then back to Snow Lake..  It was an 11 mile round trip hike then, as the trailhead was closer to the Pass. Also, the revised trail alignment to the ridge, with a shortcut and yet steeper, wouldn’t be constructed for many years.

Don Fenton
San Diego