Every summer I set aside a double period hike during the morning of the last full day of the camp session. This summer for various reasons it wasn’t able to happen on the last day of the first three sessions. But yesterday we did it. A small group of Tacoma campers joined me and their counselor Sophia Lola. We consulted trail maps, chose a route (Spring Run trail to the Line Shack trail—to the Line Shack itself and then back down via Sunrise trail), and then set off. Unfortunately after about 20 minutes it started to pour. I mean pour. The hardest rain I’d experience in a while and it didn’t let up for quite a while. I offered the campers a chance to turn around but they insisted they we keep going. We got soaked but everyone was in great spirits. We sang songs. Talked about family at home. About camp, of course. Once at the Line Shack we took refuge in the little shack. I told the kids about the origins of the Line Shack. After a while the rain stopped and a little later the sun came out. By the time we got back to the Observatory (via the Sunrise trail) we were looking at a sunny Wildcat Mountain with lines of fog. Much later—at 10 PM that night—I arrived at Tacoma’s Day Lodge to tell a story (“The Doubletop Plane Crash Mystery”) and the small group of Tacoma people who’d been on the hike had told everyone about it and described it again, with me present, with tremendous pride.

Hiking: it’s for real. Even in the rain, it’s memorable. A little bit of stretching, a little discomfort, all good.

Once again a group of Tacoma people chose to spend all morning on the final day of the session hiking up with me to the Line Shack. Here’s our hardy crew.

When we arrived of course they wanted to hang out in the old Line Shack, built in 1925 as an aid to the people who patrolled Forstmann’s deer fence.

Some of them found their own names carved in the wood inside the shack–from last year’s hike.

This was a sunny day but it had rained for three days previously, sometimes a deluge. So the mushrooms were up all over the place and the trailside was a lush green.

This session I’ve been telling a story about the Forstmann-era “Line Shack,” in part to create interest among campers and counselors in taking hikes to that part of the trails and perhaps even to stimulate interest in villages planning overnights to that site (it’s an excellent overnight site). I then approached the village chiefs of Sacky and Tacoma to see if they could find a few campers who would like to join me on an all-morning/double-period hike to the Line Shack and back. To my delight, 20-some campers responded with interest. With huge enthusiastic interest! We met at 9:30 AM yesterday in Tacoma and each camper got a trail map. We planned two groups—one would get to the shack via Sunrise Trail and the eastern half of the Line Shack trail. The other would go west on Spring Ridge (muddy!) and would join the Line Shack trail coming from west to east. We met up at the shack and the campers were fascinated by the old structure. This was such a success. The girls, at the end, raved about the idea of the double-period hike, and one even said: “Let’s do this again. This afternoon.”

The lean-to’s at High Falls. Walk up toward High Falls, bear right where the trail splits (going to the left, you’d walk down toward the falls). Walk further up and you are on the Spring Ridge trail.

Not far from where the Line Shack Trail meets the Panhandle Trail, you’ll find the old Forstmann “line shack.” This is where patrols watching the deer fence (looking for breaks in the fence and for poachers) would meet halfway after walking “the line.” They would meet at the same time each day (apparently mid-day) and stop for a bite to eat.

Inside the Line Shack, built in 1925. The flash on my camera makes it seem newer and neater than it is.

The Line Shack Trail and Panhandle Trail meet twice. This junction is not far above HIgh Falls, along High Falls Brook. Later they meet again near where the Line Shack is located. The Panhandle is not much hiked. It veers far up into the upper reaches of Frost Valley’s property.

Starting at High Falls, take the Spring Ridge trail until it meets the Line Shack trail. Follow that up hill until you can visit the Line Shack. Continue on until it meets Rocky Road trail, which takes you down into camp, along the east side — walk down into the Sequoia area on the west side of Pigeon Brook.

A sign we posted on the Line Shack, encouraging hikers to preserve the old structure.

Along the east end of the Line Shack trail you pass a stand of dying pines. I found them to be very beautiful.

This little guy seems to make his home under and around the Line Shack. We found him sunbathing near the warm rocks of the fire-ring at the Line Shack campsite.

Rocky Road trail—which is for me the most beautiful walk at Frost Valley—comes to a sudden clearing, and there you see Wildcat Mountain on the other side of the valley. Wonderful!

A nice spot along Spring Ridge trail above High Falls, before it turns east and gets quite mucky with the springs that give it its name.