Herb Bridge enjoys reminiscing about his days hiking through the Olympic mountains as a young boy. During the 1920's and 1930's, Herb's dad, Ben Bridge, would make an annual summer pilgrimage to the Olympic Peninsula with friends to hike, fish and camp up in the High Country of what is now Olympic National Park. Those were wonderful, carefree days and an opportunity for World War I veterans to continue their friendships forged under difficult circumstances. Many of Ben's friends were businessmen from East Coast cities who found wilderness experiences both exhilirating and scary.
In 1938, at age 13, Herb was invited to join the men on their summer trip, an experience he describes with great relish. Herb returned to Olympic National Park in 1939 to work on a ranch near the Queets, where he fished, camped, broke trail, and forged swollen streams. Herb completed that summer by traversing the park with his dog, following the Elwha River watershed and coming out at Lake Quinault, where he met a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) crew repairing roads after a storm. Following a harrowing trip "riding the rails" from Hoquiam to Portland, Herb evenutally hopped on a train traveling north and made it home to Seattle.
And many decades later, Herb will tell you, "these are some of the best memories of my life!"
It is precisely because of his childhood experiences that Herb cares about our national parks, particularly Olympic National Park. Thank you for sharing your stories and "giving forward" so future generations can experience these same natural wonders.
Photo courtesy NPS Archives - Fishing on the Queets River