Memories of days gone by

  • Thu Oct 11th, 2018 2:19pm
  • Life
Charles Edward Cone in front of his cabin near Rialto Beach, 1930-1940s. Olson Family Photo

Charles Edward Cone in front of his cabin near Rialto Beach, 1930-1940s. Olson Family Photo

I was born in Forks and grew up west of there. I went into the army in 1953 and was stationed in Alaska. In October of 1954, I was home on thirty days leave. Back then the Rialto Beach, one mile wide, ocean beach park was completely undeveloped.

While home, I decided to take a hike up the beach to Starbuck. Starbuck being an old, abandoned, placer beach gold mind back in the early 1930s. I’ve found information about it on the internet. My uncle Archie, (Archer K. Smith), my mother’s older brother, packed supplies, up the beach to the gold mine. Some of the rusted mining equipment can still be found above the driftwood, in the Cedar Creek area, if you know where to look.

The mine was abandoned when FDR declared that beach strip to be National Park. I had a tide book for my hike up the beach and timed my hike so that I might get through the Hole-ln-The-Wall at the north end of Rialto Beach. To beat the brush climbing over that point would have been a bit too much!

Now Starbuck is about, as I recall, a nine-mile hike up the beach. I made it to the old one-room shack. The beach had eroded back over the years, and the one-room shack was now surrounded by driftwood and had sand inside it from the waves. No doubt it’s been long gone, by now.

It got dark in my hike back down the beach – – so dark I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. As I again went through the Hole-In-The-Wall and was walking on Rialto Beach, as I was walking along, (I hadn’t thought of bringing a flashlight), suddenly there was frightened woofing of an animal and a wild scrambling of the beach gravel! I had, unknowingly, gotten within about twenty feet of a black bear.

Of course, the bear had thought I was sneaking up on it. As a precaution, I started picking up and throwing rocks ahead of me. I scared nine bears off the beach that night. Over the years, as a kid, I’d seen deer, (an elk too, one time, I believe), raccoons and even a mama skunk and five little ones. At one time there was a point near Cedar Creek where clams could be dug.

In fact, I dug some in about 1950 and made a pot of clam chowder. I’d brought the bacon, potatoes, and onions with me. Not too shabby!

Back during WWII, the Coast Guard had beach patrols walking the beach, with dogs, keeping a watch for any suspicious activity, Japanese invasion and all that. In fact, there were two cabins where they stayed. One, as I recall, was above the driftwood, on the beach above Rialto Beach; and the other was on a point near Cedar Creek. Both of them, unfortunately, were torn down by the Park Service.

An early pioneer, by the last name of, Cone did have a small house back off of Rialto Beach, near Ellen’s Creek, as I recall. I have no idea if it was a proved up homestead, or not? My uncle Archie told me that Mr. Cone used kelp to fertilize his garden.

Bert Maupin

Anchorage, Alaska