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June 7, 2013 / Gregory Williams

Rediscovered Photos: Little Naches

I rediscovered these photos after finally installing some photo management software. If you’re still opening folders and choosing preview image, upgrade.

On the afternoon of Friday August 7, 2009 me and a group of good people headed South East from the Seattle area for some public lands called Little Naches. We had three Jeeps, a couple tents, hastily arranged foodstuffs, and a double barrel shotgun. It seems one of the party had once found himself unarmed and being trailed by a cougar at that same location, and there is some ‘Old West’ wisdom that says simply, if you see a cougar, it’s hunting you.

We drove some old US highways, two lane affairs, for a couple of hours until we turned off onto some old Forest Service access roads.

We were stopped at a checkpoint setup by the Washington State Patrol. Late August is the opening of Black Bear season in Washington State. Black Bears are focused on feeding around this time of the year, and are starting to move to the Eastern slopes to winter in their dens. Poaching is always a problem and my best guess is that the State Police were looking for .30 caliber or larger rifles, because their only questions were what are you planning on doing here and do you have any firearms? I’ve never been hunting myself, but I do know a shotgun is a bad choice for hunting cougar or bear, but has been proven a lifesaver at close range against both.

So the State Police paid the shotgun little mind and we were let pass to drive the gravel roads through the twilight until we came to an out of the way public camp ground.

I’ve never slept on softer ground. With the tent setup over a base of fallen pine needles and the good part of a flask full of vodka consumed around the camp fire, I went out for one of the best night’s sleep I’d had in years.

The next day we woke up late, and made a day of going to a place I think was referred to as Smiling Rock or Laughing Rock? The point being to drive up it, just to see if you and your Jeep could handle it, after proving you could get there in the first place.

Here are the photos taken from in or around my Jeep that day. The photographers were either myself or my daughter, who was then all of twelve years old, but since I was driving I think most of the shots are her’s. The D50 was on Auto mode.


Most of the day’s driving was up hill over terrain similar to that shown above, but that shown above was pretty mild compared to some the obstacles we encountered.


We had reached our destination.


The shotgun was in this guy’s Jeep.


Notice the treeline in the background of the shot above. The driver looks out the window to verify what he thinks he is driving over, his Jeep has to be at about 45 degree angle in this shot.


Without being there on the ground you might think you could drive anything up to that spot, but that is not the case.


I’m pictured below in a shot from the top of the rock. You might recognize it from my Gravatar., which I changed after rediscovering these pictures. I have a lot more gray in my hair these days, and little less of that to begin with. The Jeep is looking a little older too.


All photos were taken with this Nikon D50.


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