Here’s to my old friend and crew mate, Pat Houghton, who’s struggling with cancer up in Vancouver, Washington. Young and healthy, he’s manning a Cobra drill here in the High Sierra in 1972, with Hugh Provost to the left. Looks like the drill, one of our two, actually was working this day and there was time to use it without dodging lightning strikes at 11,000 feet on our 5-mile stretch of Pacific Crest Trail construction on the Inyo National Forest. (And, Pat, is that your blue helmet I see about 10 feet up the slope?)
And here you are, below, with our pal Matt Stothart, high above Big Whitney Meadows sometime before we got snowed down to Lone Pine in October. My guess is you were on one those evening hikes after a big camp meal served up by Roy Crane or Red Jarvis at Chicken Spring Lake. I don’t know how you did it on full stomachs. I preferred, as you know, to stay warm in the cook tent and lose money (penny ante) at cards to Jack Alexander and the rest.
And the gang’s all here, Pat, with you front and center on bright morning with new snow at Chicken Spring. (In case anyone’s forgotten: Left to right, Hugh Provost, Matt Stothart, Steve Evers, Bob Heberle, Pat Houghton, Ron Smith, Chet Baker, your’s truly, and Steve Willoughby. Not sure where WJK and Jackman were at the time. And probably only you would remember). It was quite a cast of characters, but you were the life of the party. (Thanks to Bob Heberle for the photos).
And on July 12, 2012, the same date as our first trip in 40 years earlier, a few of us struggled — well, maybe not Chet — back up the trail. (Pat, Bob, Chet and JR). Chicken Spring Lake looked the same, even if we didn’t. Nice work organizing the reunion, Pat. It was worth it, for sure.