SAN DIEGO -- Forty years after he left a note on a mountaintop deep in the Sierra Nevada backcountry, asking the finder to write him, San Diego Superior Court Judge Tim Taylor has gotten his wish.
Taylor, who was raised in La Cañada Flintridge, was hiking solo in Sequoia National Park in August 1972 — his Boy Scout troop bivouacked a short distance away — when he put a pencil to a lined sheet of paper: “Tim Taylor climbed to this peak, Thursday, August 17, 1972. Age 13 yrs. Anyone finding this note please write.”
Taylor placed the note in a metal film canister and left it on the 12,000-foot peak before rejoining his troop for trout fishing in a nearby lake.
"It apparent when I got to the top of this mountain, and I do remember this, that no one had ever been there before," Taylor, now 53 years old, told Fox 5 News.
Last month, another intrepid hiker, Larry Wright, 69, of Oakland, found the metal canister with the note inside. He sought out Taylor, and on Monday, Wright and now-San Diego County Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor spoke about their visits — separated by 40 years — to the rugged region known as the Great Western Divide.
Taylor said Monday that he vividly remembers leaving the note during on the third day of Boy Scout Troop 502’s 50-mile backpacking trip through the Sierra. While the other scouts took a rest day, Taylor made his solo climb.
"The place was just alive with grasshoppers. I remember deciding to climb to the top of the mountain," he said. "I remember what a spectacular panoramic view it was from up there."
Taylor left La Cañada in 1977 to attend USC and his family moved several years later.
Taylor went from USC to Georgetown Law School. He then spent more than 20 years with law firm Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton and was living in Coronado when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named him to the bench in January 2005.
Last month, Larry Wright, his son, grandson and others were hiking in the Milestone Mountain area when Wright found the note.
He tried to reach Taylor at his old La Cañada address, and having no luck, turned to the La Cañada Valley Sun. The paper published its story over the weekend, and Taylor got a call from an old family friend.
"He just walked out to his driveway, picked up his paper and there I was," Taylor said. The friend said, "Tim, you're not going to believe this. You're in the paper for a note you left 40 years ago on some mountaintop in the Sierras."
Since the peak he climbed is still nameless, Taylor thought maybe it can take its name from the unlikely connection forged by his note.
“I’m probably the first to climb that peak, and I think [Larry Wright] and his grandson are probably the second,” he said. “Maybe we can name it the Taylor-Wright Peak — after the first two people to climb it.”