The steel ghost


Larry Warren, LCSC History Club

In a humble pullout on Forest Service Road 321 near Clarkia, ID lies the beginning of trail 254. This seemingly normal path makes its way down a well-groomed mountain side, filled with evergreen trees and solidarity. As you make your way down the trail, traces of its former purpose begin to reveal themselves.

Steel cables resting on the ground snake their way up the mountain side across the path and are anchored around forgotten stumps. At the base of the trail rests a 120-year-old machine, hidden in plain sight just as the loggers left it all those years ago.

This device was once a revolutionary, steam powered logging machine known as a Steam Donkey. Its anchor cables stretch out in all directions. The pistons are as big as the fallen trees it once claimed.

The old boiler door tempts one to steal a peek inside, a sight hidden by overgrowth and webs, reserved only for the brave.

This is just one of three sites of an old logging operation that still remain. The other treasures found on this trail are a small dam on a nearby stream and the original logging camp, each yearning to tell a story. This is an easy hike and a definite must see.