While talking with the host at a campground near Rosy Lane about hiking trails, she mentioned an aircraft crash site. She gave me directions to a marker which documented the crash of a B-24 bomber during WWII. According to the information she gave, the crash site is now a memorial to the lost airmen. Sounded like something I would like to see.
She said that there wasn’t a trail as such to the site, but more like a route flagged up a steep side of Taylor Canyon. She was correct. Though the route was less than a quarter mile, it was the roughest terrain I have ever dealt with. The slope varied from 40 to 60 degrees, and required a minimum of one hand holding, or pulling on something.
Pulling with both hands, finding footholds which ensured there would be another, I made my way upward. Remember, this is just 800 feet above the canyon floor. Piece of cake.
Breathing wasn’t the problem; it was the terrain. I estimate that I made it to within a hundred feet of the top. That’s when I encountered a section that was only dirt and pine needles. No handholds, nothing to brace a foot against.
No problem, just go around it.
It was at that point a voice asked “what are you doing”? Up here by yourself! On a hill covered with boulders, just waiting to break a leg or arm if you make the slightest slip.
I sat down and thought it out. I really wanted to make it on to the top and see the memorial, as well as what was left of the aircraft. Only a hundred feet or so and I would be there. I could see the light at the top.
On the other hand I had nothing to help me down this steep terrain, Everyone knows going down is much tougher than going up. If only I had some rope.
The battle raged for quite some time. Finally, common sense prevailed. I started my “SLIDE” down the slope. Two hands, two feet, and one butt in contact with the ground most of the way down.
Made it safely to the bottom with only a scratched knee, more disappointed than relieved. Maybe another day.
Sally and I did find the River Trail later in the day.
Onward toward Montrose, Ouray, and Silverton…..jc