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In the winter of 1943, eight crew members aboard a B-23 Dragon Bomber went down in Payette National Forest near McCall, Idaho.
Returning to McChord Field in Washington from a training mission in the Nevada desert, the B-23 was blown off course by a violent winter storm it met over Pendleton, Oregon. They planned to land in Boise when the navigation equipment failed in the tumult of the blizzard.
They were preparing to abandon the plane and parachute to relative safety when the clouds below broke enough to see Loon Lake. They instead attempted to make the safest landing they could near the lake.
Once the plane finally came to a rough, crashing halt in the trees, the men found themselves stranded. Most of them stayed behind, awaiting rescue, as the others had to trek in the deep snow of the area for two entire weeks, searching for civilization in wilderness unknown to them.
Miraculously, all eight men survived.
Now, 76 years later, you and your family can make the five mile hike to the crash site on the south side of Loon Lake in Payette National Forest as a reminder of all the hardships and sacrifices made by the brave men and women who served during WWII.
There is no official trail leading to the actual crashed bomber itself, once you hike to Loon Lake. Designed this way partly on purpose by the Forest Service, it is a fitting homage to the dangerous journey made by the crew of young men who had to find their way to rescue.
To get there, take Loon Lake Trail which will bring you to Duck Lake Trail. The hike is nearly ten miles start to finish, so GO! on this hike prepared with proper footwear, sunscreen, water, and maybe a little snack.
GO! See the fallen B-23 Dragon Bomber near McCall, Idaho. There are all kinds of adventures that await those who GO! Out local.