Lake Hicks and the demons of Salmon Creek

In the 50's urban legend had it that a deep, dark hole existed at the bottom of Hicks Lake* and drained out to Puget Sound to the west. When someone drowned and the authorities could not find the body, we just assumed it got sucked down that hole and out to the Sound. Hey, we were kids.

As kids we often played in the woods below our house near Salmon Creek. The creek runs under Ambaum Blvd at 120th SW getting most of its surge from water run-off and from that sleepy drainage out of Hicks Lake under a mile north and adjacent to Cascade Middle School. 

We know now that even the idea of a body getting sucked down a hole in a lake is preposterous. It's not like a body-sized tunnel is waiting to capture anything floating down from the there?

There is a trail/access road running parallel to the creek all the way from just below Schick Shadel Hospital to the sewer treatment plant at the hairpin turn on Marine View Dr. SW. We know this because it was a usual haunt for most of those years. In reality we did not actually play IN the creek. It was there, running 4-8 feet wide most of the time. Our more typical venture was further south on a trickle of water just below our house we aptly named "Robinson Creek". Barely two feet wide and not much deeper than our patrol boots in summer, we spent hours poking those waters for tiny salmon that had made there way up from the treatment plant. An old shack the size of two closets rested on pilings over the middle of the creek. That became our camp. It was likely used as a monitoring shack for the drainage down to the Sound in the 20's or 30's.  

It was a Sherwood Forest cloaked by the mottled light that peeked through the mostly deciduous trees and illuminated a rough trail. And we were the lords of the woods. We reveled in the mystery of the glistening forms of four-inch rainbow trout that somehow managed to survive in that stream and which fell prey to our boyhood fascination. To hold the lovely, glistening speckled body of a wild baby trout was an electrifying moment in time.

The magic of the forest was the cloak it provided for teenagers to hide in secret camps where we learned to smoke cigarettes or generally hold court to discuss our next mission in the "outer world". It was also a place we would never go at night. That was when the demons came out. We wanted no part of that. Besides the trail was impossible to see then. A flashlight was a dead....give away that you could be seen by the demons, who of course, could see you even easier than in the dark. 

Today the access road is gated. The trail up to Ambaum at 120th street still exists with the Salmon Creek drainage hidden itself until it washes out 150 yds west of the highway to form the stream on its way down to the Sound. We might go down to hike the trail for old times sake but we won't go at night. The demons are collecting bodies washed down from the lake.

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