Last week, at the mid point of a week long backpack trip in Washington State's Goat Rocks Wilderness I encountered a mystery. Here's the mystery.
I took a detour down a very steep slope to get around a large snow patch that was blocking the trail in a remote area. It was tough going with the loose rocks sliding under my feet like marbles. About half way down in a small nest of low growing evergreens I started seeing gear. There were 2 freeze dried dinners that looked unopened, 2 empty water bottles, a mosquito net hat, a hanky, a brand new 50 foot roll of 1/8" nylon cord and a new looking fancy hiking stick with a leather strap.
I called out but there was no answer. Hmmmm. Has someone fallen to their death on the cliffs below this scary perch? Did a goat hunter sit here for awhile then leave all this gear? Did someone spill their pack at the top of the ridge and it all landed here? Nothing seemed to really fit. I took the hiking stick with me when I left the spot. I figured I'd report all this to the Sheriff to see if there was someone missing in the area. The stick was distinctive enough that relatives would know if it was the (imagined) missing hiker's stick.
On my last day of hiking I ran into a local guy who explained the mystery. Before you look at the answer (below) see if you can guess what happened.
I'm going to see if I can locate the people and return the hiking stick to them,,,,if they want it.