Maps from 1938 and earlier show a trail from Battle Creek shelter to Elk Lake via Dunlap Lake. This old Elk Lake Creek trail was located on the opposite side of the creek from the existing trail 559. I've been curious about this for some time and decided to go out recently and see if there was any evidence of it to be found.
The 1938 map showing its location:
Starting at Battle Creek shelter, I crossed Elk Lake Creek and headed east, following the trail that leads up to FR 4696. After climbing a short distance to a fairly level area, I headed south, where I soon found a cut log in the middle of a patch of rhodies. There was no trail tread evident beyond this log in either direction so I'm not sure if this is on the trail or not.
Continuing on in a southerly direction for another 1/4 mile or so, I found a blaze and another cut log, but again no clear evidence of trail tread.
A little farther on I came upon what appeared to be a blaze, on both sides of a smaller tree, which might have been done by someone else searching for this trail. But again, I didn't see any discernable tread. And in this location the ground was quiet rough, and didn't seem a likely location for a trail.
Just a bit farther on, I saw this, but I don't know quite what to make of it. It has clearly been cut with a knife or hatchet at the top and bottom. Does anyone have any idea what the purpose of doing this to a tree might be?
That's all I found in my three hours of exploring. I found some possible signs, but no actual trail. I'm guessing that this trail has been abandoned for 70-80 years, given that the new trail on the west side of the creek was constructed in the mid-1930s. That's a lot of time for the forest to cover over and hide an old trail. Or maybe my eye just isn't sharp enough to see it.
Here is my route, having hiked in on the Elk Lake Creek trail from the Collawash trailhead:
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