Entries Tagged as 'John Frueh'

2.6 In La Pine

Are they getting bigger in La Pine?

MAP 2.6 2012/11/19 22:51:46 43.794 -121.683 0.6

15 km ( 9 mi) NW of La Pine, OR

Why Was USAF Capt. John Frueh On 25?

You recall the story about USAF Capt. John Frueh, whose body was found near Badger Peak in Skamania County.

Acting on a tip from Portland police, Skamania County authorities found Capt. John Frueh’s rental car about noon on Saturday. They quickly began a search and rescue mission and, with the help of search dogs, found Frueh’s body near the vehicle about 5 p.m., the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office said.
Authorities said foul play is not suspected.

Nothing has been released as to the cause of death nor any explanation of what Capt. Frueh was doing in this remote area.

Yesterday, Ralph the dog and I decided to drive near Badger Peak to see the area for ourselves. It was a beautiful day. The sun was out. Away from Portland the fog had lifted. We left Portland at 10:00 AM, our odomrter read 43065. We drove up I-5 to Woodland, exit 21, and onto State Highway 503. The highway took us to Cougar about 30 miles away. We stopped there for some Big Hunks and Cheetos, road trip food. Ralph watered the plants.

503 runs along the Lewis River which has been dammed to form Lake Merwin, Yale lake and Swift Reservoir. At the east end of the Swift Reservoir the road splits. The road to the right goes to Carson, WA. That’s where the Skamania County authorities came from. The left fork becomes State Highway 25. It runs between Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams for about 50 miles to Randall, WA. 25 is a pretty good paved, but narrow windy road, hemmed in on both sides by trees turned yellow by the fall. If we were able to see through the trees, we would catch a glimpse of fir trees that covered steeply pitch mountain sides, with glints of yellow fall foilage. On a few occasions, we could see the looming presence of Mt St Helens, its jagged snow covered top a reminder of the violent eruption.

There are few road signs. Just mile markers and an initial sign to the Windy Ridge viewpoint. There was no Badger Peak sign. There were many unnamed forest roads that took off from 25 with no name or numbers. I kept asking myself, “Why would anyone come up here?”

Capt. Frueh’s car was found on one of those dirt roads, 2816. I thought, maybe, the road was identified by the mile marker, so when milepost 28 came up, I took the next road and drove on it for several miles until I met a pickup carrying some deer and elk hunters. I asked if Badger Peak was up this road. They dug out some detailed maps and discovered the road was just a loop road that eventually connected back up to 25. It appeared from the map that Badger Peak was north on 25 another 5 miles. I turned around and drove to milepost 23 and took the first road to the right. There were no signs for Badger Peak and the road looked very much like the other dirt road. I saw no crime tape left behind, nothing to my eyes indicating anything out of the ordinary.

Did Capt. Frueh read somewhere about Badger Peak on the internet? Did he have instructions to follow the mileposts. Some might find this beautiful country. Not me! There is very little of it that can be seen from the road. It is very steep and overgrown. It would be very slow going to move through the trees. The news reports say he was found, with the aid of dogs, some distance from his car. Was he dressed for this country? I did try to call out on my cell phone from Cougar. No luck. I was able to listen to the Ducks play football when I turned around. When we got back to Portland, my odometer said 43257, almost 200 miles round trip. All I’m left with is why?

Capt. Frueh, 33, came to Portland in late August to attend a friend’s wedding. He last spoke with family on Aug. 30. The day he rented a car at the Portland International Airport and drove to Badger Peak.

USAF Capt. John Frueh Badger Peak Mover Mike

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