Sandy McRae remembers

Sandy McRae wrote this remembrance of an event that occurred when he was 10 years old:

In February 1949 the snow levels were extreme. The temperature began a warming trend. The warming snow resulted in numerous snow slides. The slides closed the only road from Stibnite to Cascade. News that it might take more than a day or two to open the road was broadcast to Boise by short wave radio.

After four days the National Guard was notified that the Stibnite Mercantile was running short of milk, eggs, and other fresh produce.

In the mid morning Guard DC3’s were flown from Boise, loaded with food to be air dropped.

I remember clearly walking from our house through the snow to the airport, waiting that morning in the cold dry air for the sound of plane engines. Soon the drone of a DC3 was heard, then evident to the eye clearing Meadow Creek summit.

There were a number of men, women, children and dogs looking upward as the plane circled checking the prevailing winds.

On the second pass over the airport, the cargo door opened and boxes attached to parachutes were pushed out. Some chutes opened quickly. They swayed back and forth and drifted away from the landing area into the forest to the south.

Other boxes of food managed to come down on the snow surface of the airport, to be picked up by pickups waiting to transport the food to the store a few hundred yards away.

At least a few parachutes failed to open and came down with a thud; or in the case of a large parcel of potatoes, they landed and exploded. This situation, along with large cases of bread loaves that tore apart by the jolt of the chutes opening created a sight of bread slices sailing around in the air.

One crate of eggs came down without a chute and landed in soft snow. Not one egg was broken.

The aftermath of the food rescue was a melee of dogs running madly about chasing scattered bread slices, vegetables and cut meats. Something more than half the food dropped that day was salvageable.

The next day the road was opened.

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