In the Olympic Mountains there are a number of well preserved pioneer cabins. A number of these cabins are found on the very popular and, well frankly, overrun Elwha trail. While these cabins are great specimens and important examples of our pioneer heritage, I am more intrigued by the number of barely recognizable ruined structures that one can stumble on while taking some of the lesser known non-maintained trails and off trail routes throughout the Olympics.
Many of us have our favorite spots not found by following any marked trails or guide books. These are places we could show you, but we would have to kill you because you knew too much.
This poem was inspired by just such a little ruin I stumbled upon when traveling from Mt. Townsend cross country then out the East Fork Quinault. Sorry, I can’t be more specific.
An old cabin ruined, chinkless,
logs rotting collapsed, yet
two walls remain wind howling
through, offering little comfort
like bones weather-worn picked clean
and stacked, dreams vivid yet awake forgotten
Are bones left to tell a tale of failure?
Nothing is failure, only experience
Chart a course, live, let your bones
a stranger tell a tale
what hearty soul sought shelter here
that I might live a fool
that I might leave my old cabin ruined
like so many spent bones
and cause another to wonder.