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Downtown Temple,NH

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mt Waternomee B-18 Bomber Crash Site

On January 14th, 1942 a B-18 bomber with a crew of 7 was returning from a submarine patrol of the North Atlantic when they made a costly navigational error in poor weather conditions. The result was a crash into the side of Mt Waternomee in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Amazingly, 5 of the 7 crew members survived the crash.

This past week I was camping with my family at our favorite campground when I saw a book on the crash in the campground store, along with some directions to the crash site. Based on the directions, I estimated it would take about 2hrs (one way). I floated the idea to my family and surprisingly (to me anyways) they seemed interested so off we went on Thursday morning, along with Molly, our coonhound.

After parking near the junction of Rt 118 and Rt 112 near Woodstock, NH we hiked up the Walker Brook Road for roughly 1.4 miles of fairly easy walking.

Molly, Ben, Jess and Deb on the Walker Brook Road

The trail then turned right at a cairn and headed into the woods, paralleling Walker Brook for a short distance before crossing and finally heading up the moderate slope of Mt Waternomee. The entire trail was marked with orange flagging tape but was easy to follow. My wife and 2 kids (age 10 and 11) did well on the hike, although it did get steeper the closer we got to the crash site.

Me and Jess on the crash site trail

It took us just over an hour to reach the crash site from Walker Brook Road. Although it was a struggle at times for my family (and dog), I think we all agreed it was worth the effort. It was a fascinating crash site, with much more debris then I expected, and a lot of it recognizable (engines, landing gear, etc.). I don't even think we saw it all (the wings were a bit further off to the sides I think). It took us about 2hrs to reach the site from the parking area, and a bit less to hike back down. My guess is round trip was just about 5 miles.

The hike is highly recommended.

Ben near part of the fuselage (I think)

Jess, Ben and Molly near some of the scattered wreckage

Part of the fuselage (I think)

One of the two engines

Memorial plaque placed in 1992

After getting cleaned up at the campground we then headed to downtown Warren for our reward, ice cream at Fat Bob's.

Fat Bob's Ice Cream

Me with a medium dish!

3 comments:

Jim Hansen said...

I don't know what is more cool: the airplane (never heard of it) or that medium sized dish of ice cream!

Mike Merra said...

Very interesting post Steve! I'm fascinated that the wreckage has been left intact.

Steve Wolfe said...

Very little of the wreckage was ever removed. I was really surprised by the amount of wreckage scattered about over 60 years later.

Jim, nothing beats a tub of ice cream after hiking for 4 hrs in the heat of summer :-)