1 Mount Angeles

On a clear June morning a young man named James Hoskins climbed to the top of Mount Angeles. There he had an unobstructed view of some of the most beautiful scenery in North America. To the north, many miles away, he saw a long band of water known as the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Across the water he could see the dark green hills and mist shrouded mountains of Vancouver Island. To the west, south and east from this vantage point he could see the encircling jagged blue peaks of the Olympic Mountains.

Another man and his stepchildren had also hiked up Mount Angeles that morning. Although they were strangers, they asked James to snap their photo. In return they clicked a photograph of him and told him they would send it to him. In the photo James is straddling the tilted, jagged volcanic rock that forms the peak of the mountain. A deep valley, thickly overgrown with hemlock and Douglas firs, seems to be just one step behind him and, yet a greater distance in the background, a line of snowcapped mountains reaches up into the sky.

Mount Angeles 2
When James headed down the mountainside, he mistakenly turned off the main trail onto a path formed by wild animals. At first this side trail looked hikeable, but it soon became tortuously narrow and unsuited for people. Maybe James thought that just around some upcoming corner the path would broaden out and be more negotiable.

Three days later James was reported missing, and a search-and-rescue effort was organized to find him. When the man who had snapped his photo heard of the search effort, he told the park authorities that he had seen James on Mount Angeles. The terrain where James disappeared is so rugged that after four days of searching in the area they had not found him.

A pair of rescue workers followed the same trail James had taken. After a short time of winding their way down the path, they could not believe that anyone would attempt to go down the trail because it was so dangerous. However, they kept going because they wanted to pursue even the slim chance that James had tried to follow it. Hiking further, they saw a set of skid marks down a loose bank of shale next to the path. The bank of shale was nearly vertical; about fifty feet along, it ended at a sheer cliff with a drop-off of several hundred feet. They realized the skid marks most likely belonged to James, and by carefully climbing down the mountain they were able to locate his body. He had died on impact after his terrible slide and fall.