|My friend third from right, back row. And me - kid on the back far right.|
My Dad set me up on this first trek. We had been to the Philmont Training Center as a family in 1966. He had his inter-Council contacts and got me in with a group leaving from the Tacoma Council. I didn't know anybody but it was great adventure: San Francisco (where we only lost one Scout), Disneyland (where we got Mickey to break character because we were in our uniforms and the guy had to tell us he had been a Scout - almost Eagle but couldn't pass lifesaving merit badge - that was the killer in those days). Oh, but I got lost in Disneyland. We also saw the Grand Canyon and followed around a group of Girl Scouts. We stayed on a lot of hard gym floors at military bases including Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque where little did I know, my future father-in-law was working next door at Sandia Labs. On the way back we visited the Air Force Academy and Temple Square in SLC. The Oregon State Police stopped our bus in the Gorge as one kid had his Wyoming fireworks displayed in the window. OSP let us go when our leaders explained we were going on to Washington.
Partnering up with my tent buddy solidified our friendship. It was rough for me just turning fourteen right there the first night out at Lovers' Leap Camp. We were sea-level boys and the high desert into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains was hot and hard on us. But we made the trek. I've been back into the Philmont high country a few times since and I always love going to those places I went that first time at some considerable effort - Beaubien, Cimarroncito, Fish Camp (wait! I've never been back to Fish Camp!)
My friend and I kept up a correspondence through high school. He was my inspiration for rebellion as I briefly adopted his straight-leg-jeans-white-shirt dress code. As I've explained elsewhere, it was sort of a geeky anti-hippie rebellion. But he was a genuine liberal guy. It was probably his influence that started me on that slippery-slope to reject conservatism in all its republican (and worse) forms.
He's not on Facebook. And I've tried to track him down before through one of his comix websites. His comix are everywhere on the interwebs and yet he remains somewhat a recluse, as I think he was as a teen. I mean he took the heretical view to promote DC Comics over Marvel. But then it was that brief time that Jack Kirby was over at DC. That was the Golden Age of relevant hipness in mainstream comics.
This time I thought I had him at an e-mail address where he appeared to be a Washington State Librarian (the State, not the Ag. College in Pullman). That would fit. But that e-mail was sent back as a failed delivery. I did find a PO Box that seems to be current at his old home town. And I did find him on a YouTube video. I hope he doesn't mind if I share it here. Yeah. I hope he writes back again! He's still a cool guy as of 2012 teaching kids how to make their own comics.