August 22, 2019

The Monument

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By George Dovel

Beginning with the last issue, Bulletin Number 52, I decided to lighten the subject matter in each issue with a story and photographs of some of my experiences flying, pulling a pack string, snow shoeing or otherwise enjoying remote places I have visited – or lived.

I began flying Si and Ursula Simonds into their remote back country home on Monumental Creek in my helicopter in the Spring of 1956. Because there was no place to land near their cabin at that time, I had to land three-quarters of a mile down Monumental Creek at their former neighbor, Frenchy’s, cabin and help them pack their supplies up to their home.

Si and Ursula were like a father and mother to me and I fell in love with the country that was covered with

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Monument on Monumental Creek in the Frank Church Wilderness

snow for five months every year. This later became the Frank Church Wilderness but it was classified as the Idaho Primitive Area at that time.

I acquired a small mining property further upstream and later sold my helicopter and airport so I could
move the family back there to share the experiences. One of the most remarkable natural wonders I have encountered in my travels was located about an hour’s walk upstream from our property, yet few Idahoans have ever heard of it and only a handful of those who travel the Monumental Creek trail have ever seen it.

This massive structure and two shorter monuments that cannot be seen in the photographs, were apparently
formed when the land was covered with water and the water began to disappear. The huge boulder on top
remained suspended on a column of what appears to be talc, decomposed rock and smaller rocks that has withstood extreme winds and storms for countless centuries.

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I have a photo of several of our sons standing at the base of the structure, which cannot be seen in the photo at left[top photo], and they appear tiny.

Old timers in the area named the monument after the appendage of a horse, which it appears to resemble, and that may partly account for the State of Idaho’s reluctance to publicize it’s existence. It is visible from the air if you fly close to the treetops, and can also be viewed a few feet from the Forest Service trail but I have never seen a sign indicating its location.

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