Hicks Lake and the demons of Salmon Creek
In the ‘50s urban legend had it that a deep, dark hole existed at the bottom of Hicks Lake that 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 Boulevard at Southwest 120th getting most of its surge from water run-off and from that sleepy drainage out of Hicks Lake about a mile north and adjacent to Cascade Middle School.
We know 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 surface...is 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 Drive Southwest. We know this because it was our 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. A 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.
An old shack the size of two closets rested on pilings over the middle of the stream. That became our camp. It was likely used as a monitoring shack for the drainage down to the Sound in the ‘20s or ‘30s.
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 that forest 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 yards west of the highway to form the stream on its way to the Sound. We might go down to hike the trail for old time's sake but we won't go at night.
The demons are collecting bodies washed down from the lake.