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35406RE: Donald Downs

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  • johndittli
    Oct 12, 2013
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      I'm not sure when the plaque was placed, but I'm guessing it was not long after the section of trail was completed.

      The story of Donald Downs is a tragic one. Several young men were injured when a blast sent large rocks down upon them. Downs' arm was crushed and subsequently amputated days later by a doctor while still in the field. Downs died later while still in the backcountry as a result of complications (probably gangrene).

      Downs and the others were evacuated via Shepherd Pass in what was quite an epic rescue/recovery for the day.


      Walk the SkY: Following the John Muir Trail

      see book here

      ---In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <forgetwho@...> wrote:

      I've looked at the photo of the memorial and am struck by how poignant the wording is.  Do you know what year the memorial was placed there?



      ---In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

      I waypointed the Downs memorial (see post below) on my last trip. If you'd like to stop there on your next trip, you can save this waypoint to your GPS and use it as you approach the bottom of the switchbacks on the south side of Forester Pass.

      377498E 4061291.94 Zone11N

      UTM NAD83
      377417.85E  4061490.7 N Zone11N

      Elevation approximately 12,700

      Mr. Downs, aged 18, was killed in a 1930 accident while constructing the trail. 

      If you are looking for it without using GPS or an altimeter, these directions may help: 

      Once you are about 75% of the way down the switchbacks southbound from Forester Pass start looking over your left shoulder each time you approach a switchhback turn to your right. It's high on a big boulder that you can only see easily while hiking Northbound.

      The location is here on  a Google map. If you switch to satellite view and zoom in you can see the boulder it is placed on.

      I've added to my collection of misc waypoints (mostly waterfalls).

      Link to a picture of the memorial 

      Link to what you are looking for when looking over your shoulder at the right switchbacks

      John Curran Ladd
      1616 Castro Street
      San Francisco, CA  94114-3707

      John Curran Ladd
      1616 Castro Street
      San Francisco, CA  94114-3707

      On Wed, Oct 2, 2013 at 5:44 AM, John Ladd <johnladd@...> wrote:
      I'm curious how many of you noticed the plaque memorializing Donald I Downs, who died in an accident while building the trail over Forester Pass

      Inline image 1

      The plaque is about 75% of the way down the switchbacks South of the Pass. It is oriented in a way that it is easy to notice while hiking northbound. But hiking from the more usual direction, it essentially is hidden behind a boulder and you only notice it if you look over your shoulder.

      John Curran Ladd
      1616 Castro Street
      San Francisco, CA  94114-3707

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