Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project Home

Dale K. Allen - Papers
Chester Marler graciously sent me photocopies of papers that he obtained through his contacts with Dale Allen and his family.

The Life of Dale K. Allen

This untitled, nine-page memoir is dated August 28, 1977 and is addressed to Pat and Jude (Allen's son and daughter) and Don Telford (a friend Pat's age). Dale Kenneth Allen was the son of Asa Almy Allen and Elsie Dora (Reynolds) Allen. Dale's parents came from Iowa and homesteaded in Washington state. The homestead was a cattle ranch at West Bar along the Columbia River, in what is now Kittitas County, southeast of Wenatchee. Asa Allen owned a general merchandise store in Trinidad, a few miles west of Quincy, on the other side of the Columbia River from West Bar. The Allens also had an interest in property on the White River seven miles above Lake Wenatchee, where the North Fork (Napeequa River) branched from the main stream (called "the Forks" in this memoir).

Dale Allen was born in a shake cabin on the White River property on September 10, 2010. When Dale Allen was a child, the family travelled back and forth between the White River, the Trinidad store, and the West Bar homestead. Allen lists all the buildings at Trinidad during his childhood and notes that the town had wooden sidewalks. In 1919, Asa Allen bought the White River property. Asa Allen and Bill Nelson were partners in logging cedar in the White River Valley. They would float timber down the river to the head of Lake Wenatchee then tow it in a boom to a mill at the other end of the lake. Dale Allen's first job, at nine years of age, was greasing skids in the woods for the logging company.

In 1919-20, Allen went to school at the Forks in a log cabin. The next year he went to school near the Bill Nelson place, three miles from the Forks. Allen had at least two older brothers and a younger sister. They would ride their saddle horses to school until the snow got too deep, then for the rest of the winter they would travel on snowshoes. Teachers came to the White River Valley from other parts of the state and boarded with valley residents during the school year. Dale Allen did a lot of fishing on the White River as a kid. The family had a vegetable garden, milk cows, and they butchered their own beef. "Seems we had lots to eat," Allen recalled, "but little money." He mentions bootleggers making whiskey in the White River country in the early 1920s.

In 1921-22, Allen started school at Lake Wenatchee. The White River School was then closed. When the Allen children got older, Asa Allen took the family to Dryden so the kids could attend high school. When the Great Depression hit, Dale and his sister Wilma were the only children still at home. "The banks going broke caused my father to have a heart attack," Allen recalled. Dale took over care of the family and moved his mother, sister, and ailing father back to the Forks. The Allens raised their own food again and during the winter of 1929-30 Dale took up trapping on Panther Creek and the White River "to make money to help the folks and to keep my sister in school." The trapping season lasted four months, from November through February. After pulling his traps at the end of the season, Allen had 43 marten and he sold the fur for an average of $16.75 per pelt. "That was a good amount of money for those times," he wrote.

In May, Allen went to work for the Forest Service. That job lasted until November 1930 and he returned to trapping, this time on Indian Creek and the upper White River. His base cabin was seven miles from home at the mouth of Indian Creek. He had a layover shelter on Papoose Creek, another five miles up Indian Creek. Allen wrote: "I spent a lot of time alone this winter. My mother would be about out of her mind when I would show up at home every three to four weeks." He mentions working his long trap lines. I think most of this work was done on snowshoes.

Allen describes further work with the Forest Service, including his appointment to help Nels Bruseth survey the Cascade Crest Trail north of the Little Wenatchee River in 1935. Eventually, the Forest Service kept him busy enough that he stopped trapping in winter (probably 1936 or 1937). Walt Anderson was fire assistant in the Wenatchee National Forest supervisor's office. Allen and Anderson did winter game surveys in the Wenatchee Forest. Allen describes introducing some Wenatchee high school teachers to skiing at Stevens Pass, before a ski area was established. One of them was Georgie Butler, whom Allen married in 1938. "What a time we would have at the pass, no one there but our group," he wrote.

In January 1938, Allen left the Forest Service to work for the Washington State Game Department, which had less office work. By the winter of 1939, Dale and Georgie had a baby boy, Pat. In the spring of 1940, Allen was transferred to Okanogan County as a Game Protector. Roy Roberson was also a Game Protector in the county. Allen lived in Okanogan while his wife and son lived at Telma Resort on Lake Wenatchee, a property that Allen had purchased in 1937. Walt Anderson had also been transferred to Okanogan by the Forest Service, so the two men continued doing winter backcountry patrols, sometimes for the Game Department and at other times for the Forest Service.

Allen's daughter Jude was born in 1942. Eventually Dale was made game supervisor of North Central Washington, including Chelan, Okanogan, Ferry and Douglas counties. He was able to work from his home at Lake Wenatchee, where Georgie was his unpaid secretary. His work still involved a lot of travel, but now it wasn't in the "real outdoors." Walt Anderson eventually left the Forest Service ("too much office work," wrote Allen) and spent the last ten years of his career working on fish spawning programs for the State. Around 1960, Allen sold the Telma Resort. At the time of this writing (1977), Dale Allen was retired and living at lake Wenatchee and caring for Georgie, who was in a wheel chair.

Supplement 1

A childhood story about Don Telford.

Supplement 2

This document is difficult to read because it was enlarged during photocopying and the text is clipped around the edges. Lake Elsie (or Elsey), high on the White Mountain ridge near the mouth of Indian Creek, was named by Hal Sylvester for Dale Allen's mother after Asa Allen told him about this unnamed lake.

Dale Allen was the youngest boy in his family. On page 2 he describes the origin of the nicknames he and Walt Anderson had for each other ("Badger" and "Bear").

During the school year of 1921-22 the Allen family lived in a house at Lake Wenatchee closer to the school. The house was not big enough for the whole family so Dale and his brother Reynold slept in a tent behind the house all winter.

Dale Allen Trapping Diary, 1934-35

This diary is in two parts, the first from January 4 through February 28, 1934 and the second from November 15 through December 27, 1935. The entry for January 4, 1934 says, "Started diary Today caught six Marten to date." Apparently Allen had been trapping for some time already that winter. His base of operations was at Indian Creek cabin but he also worked Panther Creek. He mentions the following trap lines: Mt David, Indian Creek, Cougar Creek, White River. I've noted a few interesting entries: In his entries for 1935, Allen mentions the following trap lines: Indian Creek, White River (both above and below Indian Creek), Boulder Creek, Thunder Creek. In 1935, it seems that the Allen family was living at Lake Wenatchee instead of at the "ranch" at White River Forks. Selected entries:

Letter from Dale Allen to Jack Jett, 1936

A hand-written note indicates that this letter to Jack Jett of the Wenatchee Daily World was written in 1936. It describes a ski trip by Dale Allen and Walt Anderson to Indian Pass at the end of March of that year. According to the letter, Allen and Anderson began their trip on Tuesday, March 30. (March 30, 1936 was actually a Monday.)

They started in the rain from Siverly's ranch above Lake Wenatchee, where the Little Wenatchee River road runs along the southern foot of Wenatchee Ridge. Snow on the road was patchy at first. They stopped for lunch at Soda Springs and camped at Lake Creek, where there was a little over three feet of snow. Heavy, wet snow fell overnight.

Noon of the second day found them at the mouth of Cady Creek, the end of the road. They spent the second night at the "Goff or Siverly cabin," where the snow was nine feet deep (apparently in Meander Meadow). Snow slides had taken out most of the Forest Service telephone line.

On the third day they climbed to Kodak Peak and had "the ski ride of a life time down the other side of the mountain in a foot of new powdered snow." They dug a 12-foot shaft into the Indian Pass cabin with a one-gallon bucket. With no stove, they started an open fire on the cabin floor, but the smoke wouldn't go out the tunnel and they got smoked out. In a worsening blizzard, they abandoned the cabin, which "looked like a volcano," and returned over Kodak Peak to the Siverly cabin.

On the way home, they wanted to take still and movie pictures, but they were hampered by poor weather. They spent their fourth night at Soda Springs. Snow had been melting fast at low elevations and on the fifth day they say a big grizzly bear hunting for food on an island in the river. They took a short, distant movie film of him.

Pasayten Trip, February 1941

According to Chester Marler, this story was typed by Dale Allen's wife. The account is untitled and is "signed" by both Dale Allen and Walt Anderson at the end. The top of the first page says "Okanogan, Washington, Winter, 1941."

On February 2, 1941, Dale Allen and Walt Anderson left Robinson Creek on the Methow River with Roy Roberson, who had never skied before. The skied up the Rattlesnake Creek road to a snow survey cabin near Harts Pass. The following day they skied over Harts Pass and down to Barron. Roberson made it to the pass without falling, but on the descent he spilled and sprained an ankle. On February 4, Roberson continued down Slate Creek "with his skis, Klister wax, triangular bandages and blue streaks of something or other about skiers in general." Anderson and Allen climbed to the Newlite Mine, left their packs in a cabin where they would spend the night, and skied unburdened to visit the Gourlie family at Windy Pass. The author was aware of Bill Long's 30-day visit to the Gourlies earlier that winter. The Gourlies showed them great hospitality and told them the best way to descend into the Pasayten Valley. Neither Allen nor Anderson had been over this section before, except by airplane.

On February 5, Allen and Anderson skied over Windy Pass and down the West Fork Pasayten River to Three Forks Cabin. The next day they skied to the old Pasayten Guard Station, 2-1/2 miles south of the Canadian border. The snow there was only eight inches deep in the open. On the 7th, they fought difficult snow conditions to the shelter below Hidden Lakes, cooked some vegetable bouillon, then continued to the Ptarmigan Cabin, which was well stocked with food. The following day they travelled 18 miles down the Lost River, over Lucky Pass, and over Eightmile Pass to the end of the Eightmile Creek road. They spent an easy day on February 9, skiing up Billy Goat Mountain and to the Carr cabin. On the morning of Monday, the 10th, they skied 17 miles down the Eightmile Creek road and caught a CCC fuel truck to Winthrop, covering the entire distance in less than four hours.

This account refers to photographs and a food/equipment list which are not included. The author writes that (in 1941, presumedly) Allen and Anderson had 46 years of skiing experience between them.

Patrol of the High Country

This three-page paper offers advice for summer and winter patrols of the high country for game protection. "1948" is written at the top of the first page. Winter advice includes tips on trip planning, avalanche avoidance, and camping in the open without a tent. Page 3 ends with a list of "essentials for 10-day patrol for two," but the list seems truncated. I think there was a fourth page that is missing.

Return to the Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project home page

Copyright © 2009 Lowell Skoog. All Rights Reserved.
Last Updated: Mon Sep 28 20:30:12 PDT 2009