Two Military Airplane Mysteries

Tubal Cain Mine

Tubal Cain Mine

Downed Plane Story One.  The Tubal Cain Mine trail in the Buckhorn Wilderness on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula follows a pack trail dating from the 1890s. It’s a dog-friendly trail to the remains of the old mine site and the site of a 1952 airplane crash close to the mine. This trail is often hiked in early summer through fall and is known, not only for its history, but also for its abundant wildflower blooms. Washington Trail Association has a good explanation of the trail. And the Tubal Cain Mine History website has details, a great old photo and a map, if you are interested

The story of the World War II military airplane crash is pretty well-known around the peninsula. In winter, a B-17 with eight crew members aboard was flying in a blizzard with a radio that didn’t work. The airplane hit a ridge and slid down the mountain leaving a trail of debris. Three of the eight crew members died in the crash. The remaining five survivors were rescued the next day by helicopter from a shelter they had constructed out of parachutes and the lifeboat that had been on board the plane.

Locals and visitors have been intrigued with this story and have explored the area for many years.  According to, the intriguing part of the lore around this crash is that the airplane might have been “returning from a mission to spy on Russians”, which might explain why the “US Government was quickly on the scene to salvage key parts of the wreckage!” The official story is “that it was returning from a search mission to locate survivors from a Korean airlift airplane that had gone down near Sandspit, BC, Canada.” Read’s description of the event here.

If you hike to the wreckage, please remember that the nearby mine is too dangerous to enter. Do not go in it. Plus, it is owned privately. Please read and follow any posted signs.

Convair F-106A Delta Dart before the crash. (Courtesy Ernie White/McChord Air Museum

A Convair F-106A Delta Dart before the crash. (Courtesy Ernie White/McChord Air Museum

Airplane wreckage

Part of an F-106 that crashed in 1964. The wereckage is in a stand of trees that hasn’t been harvested – or visited in 50 years. (Courtest of Austin Lunn-Rhue)

Downed Plane Story Two.  On the west side of the Olympic Peninsula there is another mysterious downed airplane story. This one is on private land so there is no access to the site, but the story is interesting. An Air Force F-106, “the last breed of interceptors conceived and designed to interdict Soviet ‘heavy’ nuclear bombers, crashed in 1964. This aircraft was “considered the most powerful air-to-air weapon ever developed in the United States”. To follow this story in length, Air & Space Smithsonian has an article by Ed Darack from November 16, 2015.

The wreckage was re-discovered June 2014 by Austin Lunn-Rhue, a newly employed forester at a timber company on the Olympic Peninsula, and his forestry partner.  They could tell it was part of an aircraft and one of the pieces had a paint brush X on it, which was unusual because the logging industry uses a form of spray paint.  In addition to that, the wreckage was on private land where no one is allowed.

“…The mission of the plane that morning in 1964 remains a mystery.” It might have been scrambled toward a formation of Soviet bombers that had gotten too close to the USA. It’s also listed as a routine training flight. We do know that the pilot, Captain Webb H. Huss, Jr., parachuted to safety, was picked up by a boater on Lake Ozette and flown in a helicopter from Paine Air Force Base to a hospital. Which hospital? You can read more at 318 Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Green Dragons, with photos of the plane, the wreckage and Captain Huss.

Thank you very much to Air & Space and to Mr. Darack and McChord Air Museum for giving us permission to quote some from his article and for letting us share the photographs and links to the longer story. Lets hope this part of our history does get transferred to the museum!

The Olympic Peninsula has a long military history. More blogs to come about Fort Flagler, Fort Worden and other military history.

A Beginner’s Guide to Wildlife Spotting on Hood Canal

Black Bear

Black Bear

“The Hood Canal region of the Olympic Peninsula is known for natural diversity. Home to dense forests, steep rivers, majestic mountains and breathtaking waterfalls, the region is stuffed with beauty. In fact, it is hard to think of a place more diverse and beautiful than Hood Canal. Each year, the region sees hundreds of thousands of visitors, each hoping to make a memory in this beautiful corner of the world. While most come for the beauty and solitude, many come to this corner of the Peninsula to see animals in true wilderness.”   

So begins this article by Douglas Scott, “A Beginner’s Guide to Wildlife Spotting on Hood Canal. It’s full of locations for potential wildlife sightings on hikes in the mountains, walks along the lush valleys, and along the Hood Canal with special spots along the water.

Olympic Marmot on the river bank - Photo by Joy Baisch

Olympic Marmot – Photo by Joy Baisch

Elk in the Dosewallips River by Joy Baisch

Elk in the Dosewallips River – Photo by Joy Baisch


Traveling in different seasons                                                                                                          The Hood Canal area and the rest of the Olympic Peninsula will give you more opportunity to see different wildlife if you travel in different seasons. For example, during the warm summer days you would be more likely to see an Olympic Marmot sunbathing on a rock. During the spring and fall, migratory birds show off all over the Peninsula. Eagles are year-round residents, so chances of seeing them are pretty good of seeing them in tall, dead trees. However, when the salmon come back to the rivers to spawn, you’ll likely see eagles around the mouth of the rivers. Roosevelt Elk can be seen in herds most of the year.

Mr. Scott’s article not only gives good advice on when and where to view wildlife, but he also includes links to other resource information about Hood Canal area, such as a link to Six Quintessential Hood Canal Hikes, or Seven Incredible Viewpoints and Stops along Hood Canal.

Most of all when visiting the Hood Canal, take your time. There is a lot to see and experience. Recently a friendly blogger suggested a four-day minimum stay to enjoy all the area has to investigate.

Hood Canal!

ciderrouteBeyond Voyage had a guest blogger, Elizabeth, who spent one week exploring Hood Canal and one week investigating Seattle with her eight-year-old son. One of the surprises she found was lower lodging prices compared with east coast costs of Cape Cod, for example. She recommended a minimum of a four-night stay, but stated that she could have easily filled two weeks things to do along the canal. 

They sampled local ciders (check out Cider Route map!) and Hama Hama oysters and generally had the canal experience with a side trip into Port Townsend vibe. She was impressed with the beauty of Lake Cushman after entering Olympic National Park at the Staircase entrance. All in all, made me want to replicate her visit! yogurtAnd, I live here. I thought it was charming that she found Oregon Tilamook yogurt and Pacific Northwest Marionberries were exotic finds. One of the many rewards of working with visitors to the Olympic Peninsula, learning that things we have and are normal to us, are special and memorable to our visitors. Thank you, Elizabeth!

New Map – Dog-Friendly Places

doggWe continue to get enthusiastic questions about where visitors can go with their dogs, so we’ve compiled as much info as we could into one place. Check out the webpage with doggie info.

Just released is a map of dog-friendly places on the Olympic Peninsula. Go to the main webpage for more detailed information.

Download the map HERE

News Spotlight on the OP!

The Olympic Peninsula has been all over media in September! Here’s a sampling of what’s being said:

Congratulations to Port Townsend for the “5 Fabulous Things to Do In Port Townsend” by writer, Paola Thomas, for Seattle Refined, a partner with KOMONews.

  • Breakfast at the Blue Moose Café,
  • Visit the Northwest Maritime Center,
  • Shop at Port Townsend Farmers’ Market
  • Afternoon tea at Pippa’s Real Tea, and
  • Shopping on Water Street.

The Olympic Peninsula is so proud of the Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT). Terri Gleich of the Kitsap Sun covered “Olympic Discovery Trail an Expanding Wonder”.  Almost 80 miles of the trail are complete. The ODT is used for both commuting and recreation and will eventually link Port Townsend to La Push with a paved path.

Port Angeles during Crab Festival

Port Angeles during Crab Festival

Of course, the Olympic Peninsula is taking some of the cudos for Port Angeles being named one of the “America’s Best Towns” by Outside Magazine. Second only to Chattanooga, Tennessee, Port Angeles made a strong showing, coming from a wild-card placement in the competition. And, with a population of about nine times smaller than Chattanooga, it’s even more impressive to have lost in the polling by a small margin. The top five places went to:

  • Glenwood Springs, Colorado
  • Eau Claire, Wisconsin
  • Iowa City, Iowa
  • Port Angeles, Washington
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
Olympic National Park Sign at Rialto Beach

ONP Sign at Rialto

Tripping, the world’s largest vacation rental site, named Rialto Beach, in Olympic National Park, one of “10 Perfect Honeymoon Beach Destinations”. Other places mentioned were Honeymoon Beach in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands; Wailea Beach on Maui, Hawaii; Carmel in California; and, Hanalei Bay on Kauai, Hawaii.

Take a look as some stunning photographs from Shi Shi Beach from an article written by Kristin Jackson for the Seattle Times, Visiting Washington’s wild and magical Shi Shi Beach. We couldn’t agree more that’s it one of the most stunning, magical places on the Peninsula!

Moira Macdonald, a Seattle Times arts writer, captured the charm and essence of Port Townsend in her article, “There’s Something for All Kinds of Tourists in the Olympic Peninsula Town” – culture, history and the outdoors!

Washington State Ferry

Washington State Ferry

Conde Nast Traveler has named the Washington State Ferry System as one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world. And, we’re in good company with Hong Kong, London, Sydney and Venice also being in this group! Why not hop on one of those WA State ferries and come out to the Olympic Peninsula, our very own UNESCO World Heritage site, the Olympic National Park.  The journey is part of the fun!


Olympic Peninsula Sol Duc pools

Sol Duc pools

Here is a link to the online version of an article on Northwest hot springs resorts by Tamara Muldoon. This article, Play, Soak, Repeat at Hot Springs Resorts, includes Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort in Olympic National Park. The resort, open seasonally, has basic yet comfortable cabins, RV and tent campsites. Three hot spring pools, a freshwater swimming pool, massage, hiking trails complete the experience at Sol Duc.

Accessible Travel on the Olympic Peninsula

Here’s a video from the National Forest Service. It takes a quick tour around the Hwy 101 Loop of places to go and things to see that are wheelchair accessible.

This is the first blog to start gathering information about wheelchair accessible travel on the Olympic Peninsula. If you can add additional places or ideas for wheelchair exploration, please comment here, or email to We want to build an all-inclusive data base!

One new great new possibility on the Olympic Peninsula is going for a ride up in a hot air balloon to view the peninsula from above! There is a company based in Sequim, called Morning Star Balloon Co.  An article in the Peninsula Daily News  by Chris McDaniel on Sept. 23, talked about Captain-Crystal Stout, the Chief Flight Officer and Owner, and the special, two-seated aircraft designed for challenged individuals. Captain-Crystal is also the Executive Director of a fantastic non-profit, 501(c)3 foundation called Dream Catcher Balloon Program. To find out more about this awesome program go to Dream Catcher Balloon Program.

PDN article

PDN article. READ MORE

While the weather is still nice this fall, Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and the Meadow Loop Trails are a good place to get outside and enjoy the wonderful views of the Olympic Mountains to the south, and Vancouver Island and the San Juan Islands to the north. The Loop Trails offer several short, flat viewing areas. Check out TripAdvisor for some lovely photos of the area.

Madison Creek Falls on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail has a paved trail that runs from the parking lot to the base of the falls. This 200-foot path is paved and near a great spot for picnicking.


Check out website for a list of accessible accommodations.


WHALE WATCHING! Post from Guest Bloggers

Two friends of ours, here on the Olympic Peninsula, submitted a recount of their special day whale watching. We don’t know about you, but we want to go, too!

From Ali and Brian, hosts at Chito Beach Resort:

Having a free day, which we don’t get often since we are usually busy with guests, we decided to take full advantage of our time and go out on a whale watching trip. We decided to go from Port Angeles with Port Angeles Whale Watch. The crew of three were fun and accommodating. The crew consisted of the Captain, a marine biologist and the galley chef.  Lucky us to have a biologist on board! He gave us information and updates on all the sea life we saw during the excursion.  The galley chef make hot chocolate, tea and warm food for all those in need. We were indeed spoiled for the day.

brians whales #1

Photos by Brian H Photography

The weather was brian whales #3 brian whales #2perfect and the Captain did a great job navigating us to the whales! We saw several Humpbacks on two occasions and the L pod of Orca, including the newest member- a two-week-old killer whale.

We often see whales in the waters off the shore at Chito Beach, but this was so special seeing them from a different perspective. It was a day we’ll remember.

Here’s access to information about the L pod. And a link to the Whale Trail.

Chito Beach Resort is one of several accommodations along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. You will find a list of other places to stay beginning on page 31 of the Olympic Peninsula Travel Planner.

Whale Watching Tours. Find local whale watching businesses. Make your own special day.


Celebrating the End of Summer

Not ready for summer festivities to be over yet? Here’s this weekend’s Trip Idea:

Sept 10-13: Live your fantasy at Forever Twilight in Forks. Remember that registration is now open to have your books signed by Author Stephenie Meyer. Yes, THE Stephenie Meyer IN PERSON! The Olympic Coven of vampires will be in the area as well as two actors from the Twilight Saga films Erik Odem and Booboo Stewart.

Sept 11-13: Indulge in old-world charm of Port Townsend’s Wooden Boat Festival. Enjoy live music, great food and drink, and of course stunning examples of wooden boats at the most inspiring wooden boat event in the world.

Sept 12: Visit the Great Strait Sale on Hwy 112. It’s a 61-mile long flea market on the beautiful Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic Byway. Watch for whales as they’ve been spotted cruising the Strait this week.

Sept 6-13: Be inspired by artists during the 3rd Annual Paint the Peninsula Plein Air Competition. Hosted by the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, the competition features 27 talented painters who will be capturing the natural beauty of the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park all weekend.

This is going to be one of the most exciting weekends on the Olympic Peninsula. Join us in our celebration as we say goodbye to summer!

Traveling this Fall? Trip #32

Traveling around the Olympic Peninsula in the fall can be sublime. The days are usually warm, evenings cool and mornings have that crisp, clean warmth. Here’s a quick 3-day itinerary to see the best of the best.

Day One. Starting in Seattle or Tacoma. Be ready for a busy day.  Enjoy the splendor of the

Hurricane Hill Hike

Hurricane Hill Hike

Elk in the Dosewallips River

Elk in the Dosewallips River

leaves changing color along Hood Canal. Grab a bite to eat at one of the several places with local seafood. Check out the Olympic Peninsula Culinary Loop for suggestions. You’ll probably see bald eagles and herons, and perhaps a herd of Roosevelt elk. If you pack a lunch, stop at Triton Cove State Park. Continue on Hwy. 101 North to Port Angeles. From

there it’s about 45 minutes to the top of Hurricane Ridge. Hopefully, there will be new snow on the mountain range. Stunning hike to Hurricane Hill! You can see the San Juan Islands, Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada, and the interior of the Olympic Mountains. Overnight in Port Angeles or the surrounding area.

Fall at Lake Crescent

Fall at Lake Crescent

Day Two. Heading west on Hwy 101. Enjoy the beauty of Lake Crescent. Take a walk through the woods to Marymere Falls, one of the falls on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail. The trailhead can be found turning off Hwy 101 with the signs to Lake Crescent Lodge. The lodge is open until January 1, then closes for the season. Continue around the lake to Hwy 113, the to Hwy112 West. Hwy 112 is one of the newer Scenic Byways in our state. At this time of year the leaves along this route, with the Strait of Juan de Fuca sparkling water to the north, is one of the favorite drives. Scenic it is! Head to Neah Bay and Cape Flattery, the most NW tip of the contiguous US. There is a short hike, mostly on boardwalk to the overlook to Tatoosh Island. You’ll often see whales and an array of marine animals and shore birds. Make a stop at the Makah Museum. World-class exhibits you won’t soon forget. Either stay along Hwy 112 or wander into Forks or La Push on the Quileute Nation for the night.

Olympic Peninsula Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach

Day Three. Check out the Visitor Center in Forks, Land of Twilight. You’ll be amazed at the map with pins representing visitors’ homelands. There’s John’s Beach Combing Museum in Forks. Take a look at what washes up on our shores. Traveling south on Hwy 101, make a turn into the Hoh Rain Forest. Walk the Hall of Mosses for that other-worldly experience of hiking through canopies of drippy moss. Catch the Ranger-led walk if you can. Back to Hwy 101 and a stop at Ruby Beach. One of our favorites. Continuing south, Kalaloch Lodge has dining and accommodations right above the beach.  Or further down Hwy 101, you’ll find Lake Quinault with many types of lodging and dining. Interesting fact about Lake Quinault. The National Park owns some of the property around the lake. The Olympic National Forest owns part of the land and the Quinault Nation has jurisdiction over the water.

The morning of the fourth day, head back to Seattle/Tacoma/Portland/Olympia. It’s closest to keep going on 101, making almost the entire loop.

Olympic Peninsula Map

Port Angeles vs. Chattanooga

PA Campaign for Best Town

PA Campaign for Best Town

Earlier this spring Outside Magazine asked America to identify America’s Best Town Ever in their fifth annual contest. Outside Magazine looked for places with great access to trails and public lands, thriving restaurants and neighborhoods, and, of course, a good beer scene. For the first time, they added a wild-card round, letting their Instagram followers nominate favorite towns. As wild cards, Port Angeles, WA; New York, NY; Saugatuck, MI; and Roanoke, VA filled final spots in each section of the bracket. A beautiful video was produced to help support the Port Angeles cause, showing off the area at its finest. Do you see familiar places?

After a lively campaign Port Angeles and Chattanooga ended up in the finals with Chattanooga taking the top prize. Port Angeles had a tough road to get to there, going through Santa Barbara, CA; Bainbridge Island, WA; Glenwood Springs, CO; Flagstaff, AZ; and Eau Claire, WI. With a population of only 19,000, Port Angeles had a fine showing against more populated areas. Chattanooga’s population is a little more than 193,000. It was a David and Goliath battle to be sure!  Chattanooga’s final round count was 67,432 votes to Port Angeles’ 62,130 (52 percent to 48 percent). At the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau there are visibly more requests for Travel Planners from Chattanooga area since the contest!

This friendly (for the most part!) contest brought the two towns in contact with each other and forged a connection between the two communities. At the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau there have been more requests for Travel Planners from Chattanooga area since the contest!

In July, the sad story of the death of four Marines and a Navy Petty Officer during an assault on Military Recruiting office sent Chattanooga into shock and Port Angeles into sympathy for our newly-acquired Tennessee friends. Twenty banners with sympathy messages expressing condolences to the people of Chattanooga were taken personally to Chattanooga’s mayor by Leslie Kidwell Robertson. You can read the story of Leslie’s visit to Chattanooga at Revitalize Port Angeles. It was reported that everyone who saw the banners were deeply moved when they were presented.