Mount Rainier might be a gorgeous back yard neighbor, but there’s no hiding the fact that her higher elevations can be deadly.
That sad reality hit home recently as rescue teams twice made their way up the mountain and, in each case, it was for a recovery and not a rescue.
Black Diamond resident Craig Goodwin was found during the early-evening hours of Wednesday, Aug. 19. That was just two days after Antonio Scott was located in a mountain lake.
Goodwin, 74, is remembered, among other things, for his active role in Black Diamond politics. He previously served on the City Council and remained an active voice in city affairs.
Beyond Mayor Carol Benson, Councilwoman Tamie Deady is the sole person remaining on the council that served with Goodwin, who first appeared on the city’s planning commission in 2008 and 2009, and then served on the council in 2010 to 2013. Goodwin didn’t run for re-election, but was appointed back to the council in 2015 when former Mayor Dave Gordon resigned, moving Benson to the top executive position. Goodwin lost his re-election bid that year.
“Craig is one of the reasons I am a Council member here in Black Diamond, I had the pleasure of working with Craig as a new council member and Craig being a more seasoned council member. He was always willing to listen and add his vast knowledge to my ideas or concerns,” Deady’s Aug. 20 statement read, given that she was absent from the council meeting that night. “I have always respected his opinion and have recently asked for his advise on issues dealing with city issues. Craig had a deep passion for our community and was a supporter of many nonprofit organization in our city. His passion for photography and hiking brought us all to places we may never see in person, but get to witness through Craig’s eyes. I will miss our talks about family and the city. He recently helped me with the community center fundraiser. Black Diamond resident’s have lost a hero but gained an Angel looking over all of us. Rest in peace my dear friend Craig Goodwin.”
As Deady mentioned, Goodwin was known as an avid nature photographer. Some of his work, much of it very recent, can be found on Black Diamond Now (https://www.blackdiamondnow.net/black-diamond-now).
Mount Rainier National Park staff reported that Goodwin’s body had been recovered Wednesday, Aug. 19, from the banks of the South Mowich River.
He had been reported missing by family members on Aug. 18, when he failed to return as expected from an overnight hike in the park. Searchers found his car the following morning at the Paul Peak trailhead and began searching in the area, concentrating on Golden Lakes, Sunset Park, and the South Mowich River trail crossing.
At 5:47 p.m. on Aug. 19, searchers in the park’s A-Star helicopter spotted Goodwin’s body on a gravel bank downstream of the trail crossing. His body was recovered by the helicopter crew about 7 p.m. and turned over to the Pierce County Medical Examiner.
Scott, a soldier stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, had traveled with friends Saturday, Aug. 15, to an unnamed lake inside the national park. The location was described as near the White River Campground below Emmons Glacier.
“While crossing the lake he began to struggle, and despite attempts to assist him, he remained underwater and did not resurface,” according to a park press release.
A member of his group notified a ranger at the campground, who responded to the location. A hasty team was deployed to begin search efforts. Eventually taking part in the effort were members of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Dive Team, Northwest Helicopters, Mount Rainier National Park rangers and members of the Mountain Rescue Association from the Central Washington, Tacoma, Olympic and Seattle areas. At approximately noon on Monday, Aug. 17, Specialist Scott was located.
PARK STAFF ISSUES WARNING
When announcing that Goodwin had been found, Mount Rainier National Park staff issued a general warning to the public.
“River crossings can be extremely hazardous this time of the year,” said Tracy Swartout, deputy superintendent at Mount Rainier National Park. “The park’s cold, swift-flowing waters require a high level of caution, even for hikers with extensive experience, knowledge and skills.”
Mount Rainier recommends hikers scout the area before crossing any stream. People should look for log jams, waterfalls and other hazards and then locate an area where they could exit the river should they fall in. Smooth bottoms and low water areas are typically the best places to cross. River levels are generally at their lowest in the early morning.
It’s a good idea to unfasten the belt of your pack so you can separate from your pack should you fall into the water, and it’s advised that everyone carry a sturdy stick to maintain two points of contact with the ground at all times. Always listen for the sounds of large rocks and boulders getting moved around in the river, as this means the water is strong and fast.
If conditions appear too hazardous or above your skill level, you should turn back and take an alternate route.
In addition to river crossing safety, the National Park Service encourages hikers to carry the “10 Essentials,” hike with a partner, and leave a detailed itinerary with family or friends. Contact a park Wilderness Information Center and visit the park’s website, www.nps.gov/mora, for more information about hiking safety in Mount Rainier National Park.