Scott, I just wanted to stop in and say thank you for everything that you have done over the years and continue to do for the Rubicon and 4 wheeling community. It is truly something that most of us could not do. So in short, THANK YOU!! By the way, where is that waterfall in your profile picture?
Hi, Larry Erwin here from 4x4 in Motion of Modesto Ca. I have been trying to find a couple of the yellow stickers from the Eradicate the White Flowers campaign. Do you know where I can get 2 of them/??? thanks
This is a new addition to the ongoing historical research on Gerle Creek and the surrounding area of Eldorado National Forest, El Dorado County, Ca. This piece is included at www.gerlecreek.com/documents/gerlecreek.htm ….Enjoy….mgb
Loon Lake Airplane Crashes
Georgetown Gazette July 6, 1922
“An airplane belonging to a man named Hunt of Sacramento, and occupied by himself and a friend, in making a forced landing, skidded into the north end of Loon Lake Sunday afternoon, and into the rocks at the edge of the lake. The machine was badly damaged but the men escaped unhurt, and walked to McKinneys(Lake Tahoe), twenty miles away, from there they went to Reno, their destination. Engine trouble was the cause of this accident.
This photo of the Irwin Hunt airplane crash on the North side of Loon Lake Dam on Sunday afternoon, July 9, 1922, was kindly shared by Chris Baird of Arizona Wrecks. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hunt Crash Photo 1 Hunt Crash Photo 2 Hunt Crash Photo 3 Wikander of Buck Island Lake Lint Brown Loon Lake Airplane Crash Location
This airplane crash was covered quite well at the time in newspapers with articles written in the Woodland Democrat, Woodland, Ca, the Georgetown Gazette, Oakland Tribune and the Reno papers. It was most probably written about in the Sacramento Union and Bee as well. The most interesting aspect of this mishap is that it was witnessed first hand by Vic Wikander of Buck Island Lake. He and a friend who had been out hiking were at the time sitting on the shore of Loon Lake, enjoying their lunch, when this flying machine come down, circled the lake and then made the landing on the lake which ended up in the rocks on the north shore. This whole story is included in the above Wikander article published in 1950 in the Reno paper. Though the article says this event happened in the Summer of 1925, this oversight was due to the time passed since the event and Vic's memory of so many years in the past It is quite a read and the whole article is available above via the highlighted link. The pilot, Irwin Hunt, was a famous young dare devil pilot who lived in Woodland and barnstormed around the country. Accompanying Hunt was a Warren Gould of Reno. The airplane with both men aboard was en route to Reno to began a series of flying exhibitions in Reno and around the country. The airplane suffered some sort of engine difficulty causing Hunt to make a forced landing reported in some of the papers as landing on the lake and skipping across and coming to rest up in the rocks and granite on the north edge of the lake very close to the original granite block dam. The Woodland Democrat reported in the article that they intended to make repairs on the aircraft, estimated to cost $3500 at the scene of the accident and actually fly this airplane out of the crash position on the north edge of the lake and dam.
Reviewing various sources, we have not be able to tell whether Irwin Hunt and his associates ever rebuilt this airplane onsite and flew it away, although it was removed in some manner, yet to be determined.
As a final note about the photographs, we are curious about who the people were that took these photos and who might have provided the horses to visit the site. I think it highly unlikely that these visitors trucked their own horses in but rather made arrangements with any number of the many ranches which surrounded this area, from the Wagner's at Gerles, Jerretts of Wentworth Spring, Jacobsen's of Jacobsen's Meadow, Francis, South Fork Mill, Forni's of what is now VanVlecks, Orelli's of Robbs Valley, Bassi...the list goes on. My sister, Karen Brattland points out that these horses "appear to be "ground tied" which is an old cowboy thing. You train your horse to stop and stay in one spot by dropping your reins on the ground--he's suppose to understand that he is tied to something solid and un moveable. Very useful out where there is nothing solid to tie a horse to." This further suggests the horses indeed came from one of our local ranches. Further the people in these photos could very well be some of our locals to this overall area of the Eldorado National Forest and not associated with the airplane ownership. Lastly, many of our forest service people still got around the forest during this period on horseback, so they could be from the Forest Service
Credit for the research on this interesting event in the past history of Loon Lake and it's historic dam includes Monte Hendericks, Eldorado National Forest expert on airplane crashes and crash sites here in the Sierra Nevada, Lint Brown, author of "SIXTEEN SUMMERS ON THE DITCH, Memories of South Fork and Gerle Creek Ditches and Old Loon Lake Dam, El Dorado County, California," Linton A. Brown, Red Bluff, Ca, February, 2003, the late Judge Wil Johnson and myself. Earlier in the Summer of 2008, I came across the old article from the Georgetown Gazzette which peaked all of our interests as we had been following up on reports of another airplane crash below Loon Lake Dam in 1931-1932 which Judge Johnson remembers visiting and seeing from about 1932. Later in 1946 as a young person, Lint Brown was shown the remains of an airplane crash down below the dam by the late Art Razor of the Georgetown Divide Water District in 1946. Lint Brown created a very nice graphic map of Loon lake identifying the location below the dam where he remembers being shown the crashed airplane remains. Les Clemmons has also reported seeing the same crashed aircraft below the dam in his lifetime of working and living in our area. Wikander in the 1950 Reno newspaper article also talks about the bits and pieces remaining from a airplane crash. Well, in early 2009, Chris Baird, an aircraft crash site historian in Arizona purchased several very old airplane crash photos (photos 1, 2 and 3 above) including the above photo plus several others off E-Bay. The photos came out of an old personal album which had the pictures described as Greimes Airplane Crash. Griemes was another aerial daredevil who during the 1920 to 1923 period lived in California and performed with various dare devil pilots of the day as a wing walker. It was not until 1925 that he moved to San Antonio and learned to fly at Brooks Field. Chris published these photos on a aircraft crash site blog asking if anyone might have any information on this mishap and where it might be. Monte Hendericks reads the same blog, saw the photos and immediately recognized the location as Loon Lake from the above photograph which has our Guide Peak next to McKinstry Lake, Eldorado National Forest in the picture. Knowing about the Georgetown Gazette article on the 1922 airplane crash he shared the photos with myself. I could immediately see the same location as Monte, as did Lint Brown and Krista Deal of Pacific Ranger District. Chris Baird, Monte Hendericks and Lint Brown have all done exceptional jobs of digging up further documentary information on Irwin Hunt which gives us more knowledge about the pilot. During this period, he was in a partnership with William Moffett who later died in a Navy airship crash as a Rear Admiral. Naval Air Station Moffett Field, in Mountain View, California was named for him. Unfortunately for Irwin Hunt, in 1925 he had a fatal crash during one of his barn storming events where he was giving paid rides to the public, killing himself and his passenger.
As a footnote, we are continuing in our research on this crash and would like to hear if anyone can provide any documentation on how this demolished airplane as the newspapers described it was removed from the location. I think it was extremely unlikely that if it could be rebuilt on site, that it could have been flown out.