Scout's Message Survives 40-Year Trek

A note written by a 13-year-old Boy Scout 40 years ago was recently found on top of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. Weekend Edition host Rachel Martin talks with the former Boy Scout Tim Taylor, who is now a superior court judge in San Diego.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

A hiker in California recently discovered a little piece of history - 12,000 feet up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was a note left in a rusted can 40 years ago by a Boy Scout who wrote this:

TIM TAYLOR: (Reading) Tim Taylor climbed to this peak, Thursday, August 17, 1972, Age 13 years. Anyone finding this note, please write.

MARTIN: Well, that California hiker did write, and after a call-out in local newspapers last week, they finally tracked down Tim Taylor. He's a Superior Court judge in San Diego, and he joins us now from his home there. Tim Taylor, thank so much for talking with us.

TAYLOR: It's great to be with you. It's been a fun week.

MARTIN: I imagine. So, what do you remember about that day that you left that note so many years ago?

TAYLOR: You know, I woke up that morning, I looked at my maps, saw the lake that we were at, saw this peak that was unnamed, but had an elevation on the topographical map and decided I would climb it. And the fact that it was unnamed was really the attraction of it. And so I did. I got to the top, you could see 100 miles in every direction. I truly felt like I was at the top of the world. And then I remember there was a grasshopper hatch in the meadow at the foot of this lake and I remember catching grasshoppers and then using them as bait and catching, you know, some very hungry trout. One of the best parts of the last week is just, you know, having the opportunity to relive that through hearing from Larry Wright, the fellow who found the note. And he sent me some photographs. And, you know, it's just as beautiful as I remember it.

MARTIN: So, Larry Wright is the man who found your note. What did you think when you first heard that someone had actually discovered this message you had written so long ago?

TAYLOR: You know, it's just a boyhood hope that ended up coming true.

MARTIN: Why did you write it?

TAYLOR: It's hard to remember what was going through my mind. But I guess I was born with a little sense of history and I wanted to, you know, establish that from all that appeared I was the first one to ever be to the top of that peak. I mean, there was no tangible evidence of anyone ever having been there before. And Larry, when I spoke to him earlier this week on the phone, said it still looks like that. Other than the little canister, there was no evidence up there, he said, that anyone had ever been up there in the last 40 years.

MARTIN: So, you were an explorer?

TAYLOR: I guess that's right.

MARTIN: Tim Taylor - he's a San Diego Superior Court judge. He left a note on the Sierra Nevada Mountains as a Boy Scout 40 years ago. Tim Taylor, thanks so much for talking with us.

TAYLOR: It has been fun to be with you. Thanks so much.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: This is NPR News.

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