By Joanna Bastian
It was a dark and stormy night.
In truth it was a starlit, clear and cold night, but any good mystery starts off with ominous storm clouds and mysterious footprints.
A group of adventurous Methowites were enjoying a spring skiing trip in a remote area of the Sawtooths when they came across the trail of a mystery snowshoer.
During the last week of March, Dwight Filer, JoAnn Metzler and Sam Greebowich camped and ski-toured the basin below Hoodoo Pass above Lake Chelan. On their first day, Monday, March 28, they came across snowshoe tracks and deduced that someone had recently camped at Boiling Lake. As they toured the area the next morning, they observed the snowshoe tracks leaving Boiling Lake. On the last morning, the group woke up to find footprints of a wolverine that had investigated their tents the night before.
The snowshoe tracks are remarkable in that the area that is so remote and difficult to access. Skis can traverse a snowy landscape in mere hours, compared to snowshoes. The skiers were impressed by the snowshoe tracks and would love to know who might have been enjoying the same stretch of spring snow in the higher elevations.
The wolverine tracks were less mysterious and need no explanation. Or do they?
Another mystery readers could help solve is a discouraging case of illegal dumping and polluting.
Within the last month someone dumped a large air conditioning unit in the waters of Gold Creek, two-and-a-half miles up the road, between the South Fork and North Fork bridges. Illegal dumping in state waterways is a criminal offense punishable by a fine.
Just in gas and effort alone, it would have been cheaper for the violators to take that air conditioner to the annual metal drive on April 30.
Dumping in creeks not only destroys the scenery, but also has a negative impact on fish, birds, deer and numerous species of animals who depend on clean water. Less than a mile downstream are numerous family homes with wells that depend on clean ground water for drinking and eating. There are family-owned campgrounds a football throw away from the dumping site. Here, people filter water from the creek for drinking and cooking, cleaning, and their grandchildren enjoy a dip in the cold water.
Further down the creek are beaver ponds, salmon spawning redds, and a community swimming hole. Illegal dumping may be convenient for some, but it hurts everyone else.
If you or someone you know left an air conditioner in Gold Creek, please come pick it up and take it to the Methow Recycles metal drive either Saturday, April 30, or Sunday, May 1, at Cascade Concrete on Horizon Flats Road in Winthrop between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. There is a $15 purging fee for appliances that once contained coolants, like air conditioners. Everything else is free.
Fifteen dollars is cheaper than a criminal record and fine for illegal dumping. Also, the person who retrieves their air conditioner would be giving back to the community instead of taking away the view and the clean water for their neighbors.