East Bay News

Man tracks down writer of note left on remote peak

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

It was like a message in a bottle found on dry land -- a backpacker came across a handwritten note left 40 years ago in a remote part of the Sierra and set out to contact the author.

Larry Wright's been backpacking his whole life. In his nearly 70 years, he thought he'd seen it all. But he hadn't until recently.

At the top of an unnamed mountain so remote it took him five days to get there, Wright found a perfectly preserved piece of paper. The handwritten note was some 40 years old, neatly sealed inside a rusty metal film canister.

Wright had climbed the peak with his son and grandson and just happened to look down at his feet.

"It was a strange object, it was a manmade object in this place where there was nothing of that kind around," Wright said.

And when he opened it to discover the note inside, Wright knew exactly what he had to do next.

"I said, 'Wow, I'm going to contact this guy, it'll be fun,' and it has been," he said.

Tim Taylor, it turns out, is now 53 and a superior court judge in San Diego.

Wright found him with help from Taylor's hometown newspaper.

"He just walked out to his driveway, picked up his paper, and there I was," Wright said.

Taylor says it was his father who called him to tell him he'd made the headlines.

"'Tim, you're not going to believe this, you're in the paper for a note you left 40 years ago on some mountain top up in the Sierras,'" Taylor said.

Taylor says was a Boy Scout at the time and climbed that peak all by himself to get a better view of the lake where his troop was camped out. Since it's not named on any maps, he thinks he was the first person to climb that peak and suggested Wright might be only the second.

"He kind of joked with me about, 'You know, it's an unnamed peak, maybe I'll put in some kind of a request to have it named Taylor Wright Peak,'" he said.

Wright says he'd be just fine with that.

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