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Old 07-06-2009, 12:07 AM   #1
jpsfri
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Default B-29 Trail

We had hoped this would be a shake down run for Ryan, but he was not able to get the rig on the trail today. He did get it running and will be on the trail shortly.

Tyson, Skyler rode in their yellow XJ. The family and I rode in our XJ. The trail was extremely dusty, but had some fun mud holes. The main mud hole was a little deeper than a couple months ago, but the exit was easier. We made it up to the big mud bog on top. Tyson dipped his front end into it and I tugged him out. We decided not to tear up the bog any more and walked. This is the first time I have seen the mud bog and it looks like before to long the entire area will be torn up.

We had one hell of a hike over to the plane. We thought it would be quicker to walk a straight line from where we parked the Jeeps. I was bad to begin with, but then add in an 8 year old, 3 year old, a one year old, and a numb nut dog, and you imagination how fun it was. There was minor brush rash for Tyson and Skyler (shorts) and I had the misfortune of falling into a very small creek trying to keep my kids from falling in. We made it to the plane and looked over the wreckage. It is really sad to see how much trash people leave at a place that deserves respect.

We hiked the ATV trail from the plane to the top of the hill and then back to the bog. Everybody ended up with wet feet walking through the bog. We drove the Jeeps back to the overlook and ate dinner. The rid out was uneventful. The only carnage was Tyson's hand held VHF losing the proper channel and my check engine light coming on, but that resolved itself before we got home.

Great day of wheeling with good friends.

I will post pics tomorrow when I find the camera.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:39 AM   #2
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

sounds fun wish i could have made it!
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Old 07-06-2009, 05:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

These guys idled down into the hole and got stuck. We offered to help get them out but they were convinced they could figure out how to use their winch and get out themselves. We didn't hang long enough to see.

A few pics from where we stopped for dinner. Fine dining courtesy of Chef Ben



The sun was pretty bright so the little one took cover with my hat. She wore it with style.

Last edited by Overdriven; 07-06-2009 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 07-06-2009, 05:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

Some pics of the wreckage.


Some hill climbing pics. Pretty dry. Check out the dust.


The infamous hole that claimed Chris' rig a few weeks ago. Both XJ's motored through it fairly easily this time. The center was deep enough to flow over my sides but the climb out wasn't that bad.

Last edited by Overdriven; 07-06-2009 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 07-06-2009, 05:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

nice way to sport a Uoss Hat hell yeah
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Old 07-06-2009, 06:49 PM   #6
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

pics. My daughter is working on her apprenticeship.
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:57 PM   #7
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

is tyson stuck or just going slow
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

Quote:
Originally Posted by 07crawlinJK View Post
nice way to sport a Uoss Hat hell yeah
??? Uoss ???? not sure what that means. She was wearing my AKX hat that has my handle stitched in the back of it.


And no, I wasn't stuck. I don't do the rooster tail/big splash thing much at all. I just let the Jeep crawl most obstacles I come to. I went through that hole and up the hill all in one shot. The way back through I took the exit of the hole a little too slow and had to back up and add a little skinny pedal. I made it up on the second try.

The only stuck was when I used my Jeep as a depth guage to see how deep the hole on top of B29 was...... It was deep!!!
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

Quote:
Originally Posted by 07crawlinJK View Post
nice way to sport a Uoss Hat hell yeah
LOL...that's "Overdriven" not "Udelhoven"

Good trip!

Did you happen to get any damage pics of the rim trail to the plane crash? Is it growing back or getting worse? The only "opposition" DNR has to making the area a monument is the idiots that have created the trail around the bog...therefore we have been trying to spread the word up there...If we can show improvement, we may get the pedestal and such for the plaque paid for
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

Ben, You've got boggers now! What size you running? 35s? Looks good!!

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Old 07-07-2009, 12:59 AM   #11
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

u drive on the street with no doors on? if so you have any trouble with the cops about it?
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:00 AM   #12
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

Yea they are 35x14.5. The work wonders in most conditions.

The torn up part is probably the size of a football field or better. I am not the best judge, but that is what I would estimate it at. This is my first time being up there, so I don't know what is was in the past. It is pretty sad. The trail on the other side of the bog is not to bad, but goes right to the upper part of the crash site. There is well established foot trails around the debris.
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:15 PM   #13
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

Thanks guys!
I had a great time and really enjoyed the hike. That's my kind of wheelin day. Good company, someone for my kids to play with and an extra strong back to carry them when the trail gets too rough or long. I'd do it again in a heartbeat... but with snowshoes for that boggy part.

I'd LOVE to see some work done to repair that and make 1 real trail through or around that area. What do we have to do to make that happen?
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:42 PM   #14
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

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u drive on the street with no doors on? if so you have any trouble with the cops about it?
Nope. Wave to cops all the time and they wave back. It's registered in PA and is legal according to PA rules.
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:42 PM   #15
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

I have been there in awhile, I dont remember a trail ever going to trail site.
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:43 PM   #16
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

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Originally Posted by jpsfri View Post
Yea they are 35x14.5. The work wonders in most conditions.

The torn up part is probably the size of a football field or better. I am not the best judge, but that is what I would estimate it at. This is my first time being up there, so I don't know what is was in the past. It is pretty sad. The trail on the other side of the bog is not to bad, but goes right to the upper part of the crash site. There is well established foot trails around the debris.
I agree with that assessment. I don't know how you would repair it outside of raising the level of the path going through it. It is all pretty soft (even outside of the area tore up by ATVs)
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:02 PM   #17
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

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I agree with that assessment. I don't know how you would repair it outside of raising the level of the path going through it. It is all pretty soft (even outside of the area tore up by ATVs)
I think that is a floating bog?
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:06 PM   #18
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

Quote:
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I agree with that assessment. I don't know how you would repair it outside of raising the level of the path going through it. It is all pretty soft (even outside of the area tore up by ATVs)
you think we could courderoy a trail around the outside of the bog? maybe a foot or two above bog level would do and then cover the whole thing with smaller 8' long logs and maybe even see if we can get some stay on trail signs like eska has?
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Old 07-07-2009, 03:57 PM   #19
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

I feel nothing with a motor should be within a 1/2 mile of this site. Makes you wonder how much of the plane has been taken home to sit on some guys desk. If people wantto see the site they can walk the rest of the way. Access across the bog should be cut off. Back when I started going up to that site the entire bog was grass. NO holes at all. No tracks cutting into the vegitative mat. Well it's long past just a few folks crossing. This is one trail with a loop that needs the center of it blocked from both ends. The dry hill climb with the big rocks sticking out of the dirt once was flat. "The pic of the Yellow XJ just starting into the corner".
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Old 07-07-2009, 04:03 PM   #20
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

I feel nothing with a motor should be within a 1/2 mile of this site. Makes you wonder how much of the plane has been taken home to sit on some guys desk. If people wantto see the site they can walk the rest of the way. Access across the bog should be cut off. Back when I started going up to that site the entire bog was grass. NO holes at all. No tracks cutting into the vegitative mat. Well it's long past just a few folks crossing. This is one trail with a loop that needs the center of it blocked from both ends. The dry hill climb with the big rocks sticking out of the dirt once was flat. "The pic of the Yellow XJ just starting into the corner".
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Old 07-07-2009, 04:30 PM   #21
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

Quote:
Originally Posted by ODDBALL View Post
I feel nothing with a motor should be within a 1/2 mile of this site. Makes you wonder how much of the plane has been taken home to sit on some guys desk. If people wantto see the site they can walk the rest of the way. Access across the bog should be cut off. Back when I started going up to that site the entire bog was grass. NO holes at all. No tracks cutting into the vegitative mat. Well it's long past just a few folks crossing. This is one trail with a loop that needs the center of it blocked from both ends. The dry hill climb with the big rocks sticking out of the dirt once was flat. "The pic of the Yellow XJ just starting into the corner".
so you are going to punish the rest of us that would like to make the whole trail all the way over for some *******s tearing stuff up? isn't that what we are usually trying to avoid? i mean there is no way to stop everyone, but if we made an easy route that went close and then past, and maybe a easy walking path then that would encourage proper edicit?

And from what ben told me they made a way longer than 1/2 mile hike, i would like to make it to where you can go up and over but still have a slight walk to the plane to keep stuff from disappearing, you guys think we could accomplish this?
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:12 PM   #22
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

Chef Ben..I'm hungry what else can you cook up?
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:19 PM   #23
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dang i wanna take my doors off my bronco!
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:50 PM   #24
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

The hike was about 1.5 miles as the crow flies. Took about 2 hours to hike it through the brush.

Following the ATV trail back over the top was only 2.2 miles but only took 1hr and 20 min to hike. Much smoother and easier walk.... Until you hit the huge bog. It is a true mess.

You can see on the edges that it is growing as people are going around it to keep out of the tore up part.
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Old 07-09-2009, 01:45 PM   #25
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Default Re: B-29 Trail

After visiting the site, I have to agree with Oddball. There shouldn't be tracks going all through hell and back. We had hoped there was one 'main use' trail we could use and after one attempt, we hoofed it.

This is sacred ground and it would be awesome to protect that. Unfortunately, there are always going to be a--holes who will desecrate something beautiful just because they can. I would like to see a place to pull off the trail right at that bog with a marked footpath with signs posting 'NO motorized vehicles beyond this point' and a trailmap/information board for what it's all about so there is no question as to what shouldn't be tearing through there.

Maybe we could talk to DNR about that one and see what can be done to protect that area, the crash site itself, and honor the men who died there. A footpath may be a good compromise. AKX is still working on replacing the plaque that we put up on the tail section a while back. If you would like to contribute to that fund, please pm Bigsub and see the thread he's posted. I'm sure we can organize some effort in the off-road and 4-wheeler communities to protect this site.

I found a story from a guy who came up the Reed Lakes Trail and hiked over the mt to get there. If he can go 13+ miles on foot one way, we can surely go 2. Here is the story he wrote for an weekly Anchorage Radio Program back in 2000:


Heroism High in the Talkeetnas by Frank Baker

On November 15, 1957, about 6:30 p.m., a B-29 bomber from Elmendorf Air Force Base with a crew of 10 was returning to base after a radar-calibrating mission farther north. Weather had deteriorated and the ceiling had dropped to below 4,000 feet as they made their way south past Talkeetna. A routine radio report from the aircraft reported no problems. The plane was scheduled to arrive at Elmendorf at 7 p.m.

Staff Sergeant Calvin Campbell, then 34, was assigned to the right scanner position, about mid-point in the aircraft behind the engines. One of his tasks was to monitor the two engines on the right side. Staff Sergeant Robert McMurray had similar duties on the left side. In the pilot seat was Major Robert Butler.

In a recent telephone interview Campbell, now 77, described what happened next

“We were descending toward Elmendorf at good speed, when we hit real hard with no warning. Everything went black…I mean real black. Then we hit again and it felt so cold. It felt like the wings tore off and when I crawled out, I saw that the fuselage was broken into two. We were on a snowy field—I didn’t know at the time it was a glacier. It was so quiet.

“McMurray was right below me, pinned between the fuselage and the observation post. I pulled him out of there. Navigator Lt. Claire Johnson had dragged himself out of the plane and collapsed in the snow nearby. I wrapped them both in parachutes and put Johnson in a sleeping bag that I found in the cargo hold.

“I could hear Sgt. Garza, the flight engineer, yelling from farther up the slope. He was still inside the nose section. It had sheared off and gone up the hill about 500 feet.”

“When I got up to Garza I soon realized he was the only other survivor—it was just the four of us. The pilot, Major Robert A. Butler and the five other officers had all perished. Garza weighed about 140 lbs…it was hard pulling him out. I placed him on a piece of canvas and dragged him down to the others. He had a broken arm and broken leg. I went back to the cargo hold and got more sleeping bags and then got us into the wreckage out of the wind—it felt very cold, but I had extra flight clothing to help cover us up.”

Air Rescue at Elmendorf began its helicopter search at daybreak the following morning, zeroing in on the B-29’s last known position. By 9:30 they found the crash site—on a broad glacial slope at fifty three hundred feet —about a mile northeast of upper Reed Lake. Thanks to Campbell’s decisive actions, the injured men survived the night. They were taken to the hospital at Elmendorf.

“I think we were about 17 degrees off course.” Campbell says. “Too far to the east—put us right into those high mountains.”

Campbell said that except for a scratch over his eye, he was unharmed. He later would suffer complications from frostbitten feet, however, and lose the use of several toes.

Calvin K. Campbell received a special commendation from President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Soldier’s Medal, a decoration for valor in a non-combat situation. He retired from the Air Force in 1968.

“I didn’t feel like a hero or anything,” says Campbell. “I just did what I had to do. “The other guys would have done the same thing for me.”

Today, the broken bomber sits on the glacier as a quiet memorial to the six men who died there 43 years ago.

I hiked there with a friend earlier this summer—via upper Reed Lake trail and then over the pass. The wreckage looked surreal, out of place. Here was 50 tons of torn and twisted metal, once with wings stretching about half the length of football field. The pride of the U.S. Air Force in World War II now lay in ruins on a glacier, bent and buckled, wrenched apart, scattered… exposed to the whims of nature.

We walked around the site awhile, took a few photos, afraid to touch anything. Six men had died here. It was unearthly quiet, as Calvin Campbell described it. A cool gust of wind blew up from the valley below. I felt like it was telling us to move on.

After that visit I vowed to find out more about the incident, and eventually located Calvin K. Campbell, who though not in the best of health, was more than willing to talk about the experience. My special thanks to Calvin and Elmendorf’s Historian for help in researching this unique piece of Alaska history.

***

My two cents... HONOR THAT!
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