Forty years ago a La Cañada Flintridge teen named Tim Taylor climbed a mountain more than 12,000 feet high and more than 20 miles deep in the backcountry of the southern Sierra.
Taylor left behind a small legacy that was discovered last month, and now members of an Oakland family are trying to find him.
In September, while on an 11-day trek with his son, grandson and others near Milestone Mountain in Sequoia National Park, Oakland resident Larry Wright, 69, stumbled upon a small metal canister nestled against a rock near a high peak.
The canister held Taylor’s note, which reads: “Tim Taylor climbed to this peak, Thursday, August 17, 1972. Age 13 yrs. Anyone finding this note please write.”
The note included an address on Padres Trail in La Cañada Flintridge.
Wright contacted the Valley Sun in hopes of finding Taylor, who would now be about 53, to share backcountry stories.
“I thought he would find it interesting that 40 years later, somebody found his note,” Wright said. “I had my 14-year-old grandson with me. If he wrote a note like that, he’d be interested to have somebody respond decades later.”
But it appears Taylor has moved on. Voter registration records show no Tim Taylor in the city, and residents in Taylor’s old neighborhood had no idea.
Koichi Uyemura, who lives in the home listed on Taylor’s note, said his family has owned the house for 18 years. He said his understanding is that the Taylors may have built the home, which was completed in 1954, but that at least two sets of owners separate the Uyemuras and the Taylors.
Wright said the note was in great condition, considering it was on a weather-beaten peak at the top of the Great Western Divide, on the border of Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.
“It just happened I went down this side of the peak and there was this canister just on the ground by a rock,” he said. “It was so rusted, it was about the same color as the rock … and there was this note in there in perfect shape. It looked like it could have been written yesterday.”
Given that it takes several days to hike to the peak and that the canister was not right at the summit, it’s a miracle that Wright spotted it.
“I doubt if anybody ever saw it,” he said. “It could have sat there forever, because it’s a place where people wouldn’t normally go.”
Becky Satnat, a ranger at the park for 22 years, said at some peaks hikers have left logbooks for other conquerors to sign. But she was surprised that anyone found something as small as Taylor’s note.
“I’ve never heard of anything like it,” she said. “This does not happen.”