Posted by: Craig Woolheater on July 9th, 2013
I asked Marc Myrsell of Dark Waters Paranormal Group for some background information regarding their claims of re-discovering the location of the cabin from the 1924 Ape Canyon Attack.
I know that Cliff Barackman of Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot recently spent time camping in the area.
Hi Craig. Thanks! The project has entailed countless hours of document research over 5 years or more, with visits to county courthouses, public libraries, state archives and historical societies all over Western Washington and NW Oregon.
“High end” commercial mining claims of the time contracted land surveyors to map and record the exact boundaries of their claims (like commercial quartz operations 7 miles to the North at Spirit Lake). The Venderwhite miners did not do that. So, their mining location claim recorded in Skamania County was pretty vague.
There is even a small piece of information that alluded to the idea that “Ape Canyon” that we know today may not have been Ape Canyon that the miners used. Although, I’m now discarding that, naturally.
So, a “bag of clues” was listed from all the sources and the field work began, about 2 years ago. At first, I just made day trips, by myself. The logistics of getting to the site is a forest service trail of about 6 miles and an elevation gain of around 1500 feet. Then the trip is about an hour off trail. That off trail trip is only about 1/4 mile off the forest service trail, but it’s pretty treacherous, so you have to go slow. I made about 3 trips up there over the past two years.
This last one, July 1st through July 3rd, 4 others went with me and we camped at the timberline. 3 days, two nights. It took us longer to get up there as we were packing in overnight gear and food. On the second day, myself and one other spent about 7 hours in the bottom searching and we hit paydirt.
I’m a private land surveyor. I grew up in a land surveying family, so I’ve done it all my life. So I approached the project the same way. One puts together as much research evidence as you can dream of. This evidence is put in the field, on the ground. And then physical evidence is sought for in order to validate or invalidate your location in the field. Sometimes its a back and forth between gathering field evidence and gathering more record evidence to get to the bottom of things.
No surface evidence was left of the cabin. But the “collateral” evidence seemed to fit well. We started snooping and started to find the evidence we talked about in the Darkwaters site; the wire, nails, spoon and log.
1924 APE CANYON CABIN FOUND!!!!!
July 2, 2013. On the second day of a three day expedition, 5 members of the DWPG recovered the cabin site of the famed Venderwhite mine.
As most DarkWaters fans know, this Group has been collecting every document lead that we could think of in order to put together a “clue map” that would lead to its location over the past 5 years or so. Honestly, I kinda lost track.
Field visits have been conducted to put those clues on the ground. It’s been a lot of snooping, a lot of sitting down for hours at a time just staring at the trees, a lot of thinking.
This time, we stayed on the mountain for three days, 89 years later, almost to the week when the Smith/Beck group fended off the attack with song, yelling and a lot of ammunition.
SO WHAT’S THERE??
All surface evidence of the cabin is gone. A 1936 trail map told us that one could see the cabin from the trail. But that was only 12 years after the incident. In 1968, Fred Beck had heard that the cabin had burnt to the ground. In 1972, hikers told Peter Byrne that they had visited the cabin. Today, it’s rock, steep slope and trees, LIKE REALLY STEEP SLOPE…. LIKE DON’T TELL YOUR WIFE AND MOM WHAT YOU’RE DOING STEEP SLOPE.
The nature of the site carries a high probability of very little human impact. The area has never been commercially logged
as there are so few trees and these are very difficult to get out. The danger of traversing the area makes a high rate of human camp sites unlikely.
When you have this bag of clues, it’s a lot of hunting and pecking. Well, it could be this…. Well, it could be that….
But when you have the site down. It’s just the classic DUH!. Because all the clues start cascading in to place and it all makes sense.
So if one can put the clues on the ground and can solidify your suspected location with physical evidence, you’ve got it.
WE’VE GOT IT.
Due to the sensitive nature of this historic site, I’m really, really, really sorry. But WE CAN’T GO INTO SPECIFIC DETAILS ABOUT THE SITE’S LOCATION. PLEASE DON’T ASK.
But the excitement began with the discovery of the wire, about 16″ long with a coiled loop at one end, like for a bailing or a handle, sticking vertically in the ground. But a raptor could have been building a nest, grabbed it from Woodland and dropped it here.
The excitement grew with a nail, a shank nail about 4 inches long.
But, okay. okay. Keep it together. Someone dropped a nail out of their pocket.
However, jumping up and down and yelling and vigorous hand shaking ensued with the spoon. A single spoon. Just an old spoon. About 6″ underground. Yes someone could have dropped a spoon. Like MARION SMITH!
But this was the clincher. We started finding more and more nails and finally got to a rotten horizontal log, again about 6″ underground WITH THE NAILS DRIVEN IN TO IT.
As best we can tell, we probably found the long, 20 foot side of the cabin, guessing the uphill side. But….
LOTS MORE TO DO.
Next trip will entail tracing out the cabin perimeter and trying to locate the mine and spring in the story.
Dang. This has been a long haul.
There’s lots more field work to do. Fantasy wise, this will hopefully shape up in to a documentary; which, if nothing else, I can show my friends over some beer.
Sorry for the on and on. It’s just that I can go on and on about this.
Thanks a million,