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Mt. Whitney Packers Reunions

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1995 packers reunion
new
1995 Mt. Whitney Packer's Reunion Magazine


packers reunion
  • Seated: Ed Turner, Ike Livermore, Dina Livermore, Melvin Joseph, Jon Dittmer, Norman Livermore, Jim Dittmer
  • 2nd Row: Mary Jefferson, Reif Kipp, Enid Morgan Hanson, Ron Hoffman, Eddie Mike, Irene Kritz, Ray DeLea (the Pigmy Packer), Harry (Smashing) Mathers
  • 3rd Row: Tommy Jefferson, Gene Harlan, Ed Brown, Jerry Gillaspe, Paul (Slim) Lamos, Charles Morgan, Richard Morgan, Dick Troeger, Stephanie Morgan, Roberta Morgan Peters, David Morgan




Ben "Mike" Baker of Oro Valley, Arizona Writes
Ray

We didnt meet but I know many of the other others on your site. What a lot of work you have put in , NICE JOB!

The JF brand you show stood for James Franklin Chrysler one of the first owners with Ted Cook and my cowboy mentor since childhood. His nephews Jack Fitzpatrick (Alaska) and Jerry Whortan (Idaho) are still out fishing for different fish. We all spent many summers with Frank at Little Whitney. When I got older and found out the Sierra Club trips had girls along to clean the pots, I went to Mt. Whitney pack trains for a job and worked there in the mid 1950s. Along with part time work for the Laceys and George Brown outfits. I know I was there in 1956 because I had just gotten my drivers license and came into the Portals from a trip and Bruce asked me if I could "double clutch". I said I could and he put me in the green Chevy stock truck to take Grace to town

I needed to "double clutch" because the brakes were out and I think we went almost all the way to Lone Pine in low gear.

I have pictures of Frank Chrysler and others if you have any interest. I just sent Richard the original photo of the big dinner we had in LasVegas after arriving there with the mule team in about 1949 but still have it on file. Along with Bruce & Grace there were Russ Spainhower and more. Also, sent Roberta the program from the 1956 stampede when she was queen.

Those were good days. I'd like to hear from you if you would like some some old stuff from the Owens Valley. I was born there in 1940 and my mom was a packrat.

Frank Chrysler was truly one of a kind. I particularily remember when as a little kid we were taking cattle to Volcano Meadow and as entertainment once in a while he would rope a calf and we kids would jump off our horses and ride it.

One calf took off in a circle and tied me to a pine tree and he said that I bellowed louder than the calf. I'm going to carbon copy this to his nephew Jack Fitzpatrick in Anchorage and he may also be of assistance to you on Frank although I don't believe he worked for MWPT. I already sent a link to your site to Jack today and he may have seen it already. If he hasn't he doubtlessly will and he and his cousin Jerry Whorton may have additional stories on Frank.

One of my favorite campfire stories Frank told was when he was with the 20 mule team as a young man in Death Valley when Haleys comet came over and everything was lit up like day. The year was (according to Google) about 1910.

I'll give this some more thought and get back to you with some pictures and stories. Great that someone has put all this history together.

I'll try and find one picture that I thought was really special of Chrysler, Harold "Skinny" Gates and my dad, Ben Baker Sr. at a campfire. In those old days I was called "Mike" so if you mention me as a packer it should probably be Ben "Mike" Baker, Jr. I worked as "Packer" in the mid 1950s but like most others was also guide, wrangler, cook, horseshoer and fishing instructor. Also even worked the Portals Store with Roberta and Richard a couple times.

Ben "Mike" Baker
Oro Valley, Arizona
September 2008



 Mt. Whitney Pack Trains Packers 1940s - 1972: the roster - .xls or .pdfpack trains

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Ed Thistlewaite painting images courtesy of Dan Bostrom

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Ed Thistlewaite - 1946

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Ed Thistlewaite - 1946

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Packing is such a great adventure; and, if you were the boss of the outfit (like Ike was) you could name the mules whatever you darn muleswell pleased. I remember packing mules by the names of Dina, Ike and Ed. Although there were, to the best of my knowledge, no mules by the name of Norman or Ray, there were long eared wonders by the names of Strawberry, Kate, Bailey, John, Bart, Dan, Wendy, Beulah, Sarah, Tiny, Bonnie, Clyde etc. What characters they were. They may have bit you, kicked you, ran away from you during your wrangle, slipped a saddle on you up a steep pass or dumped a load of lettuce and cantaloupes on you; but, you had to love them or they would definitely get the best of you! I don't know how they liked having their ears rubbed, but it sure felt good to me. It was like running your hand across a short mohair carpet; and, just the size of some of those ears was enough to catch your bewondered attention.


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 A One-Man Diamond Hitch [pdf]
by Norman B. (Ike) Livermore Jr.


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Mt. Whitney Portal Store
The Whitney Portal Store hasn't changed much since I last packed in 1970. The old stock corral and tack rooms are long gone though, the victims of winter snow avalanches. I can't tell you how many hamburgers, hot dogs, egg salad, tuna fish sandwiches etc. that I prepared while "doing time" in the store. Every greenhorn, like myself in 1965, had to spend at least one year tending the store while learning the packing trade. If you couldn't be faithful in this, a sometimes God-awful task, you'dportal store never make packer. Along with store were some of the usual tasks of conducting half day saddle rides to Lone Pine, Mirror Lake and Trail Camp just below Trail Crest Pass at 13,777'; and, occasional day trips to the summit of Mt. Whitney. There were the equally enduring acts of faithfulness such as shoveling out snow on the 97 switchbacks between Trail Camp and Trail Crest in June and shoveling out some of the 25 years of accumulated manure at the Portal's corrals. But perhaps the most exciting task of all was trying to reduce to mice population at the Store! I recall one summer when Ed Brown and I were tending the store and decided on a whim to see how many mice we could catch in one evening. With every trap the store had to offer in hand, we set out on a mouse capade that Mickey would have been proud of! We no sooner got all of the traps baited and placed, with everything from barbecued bacon to peanut butter, when a symphony of snapping ensued. We must have caught close to 100 mice that evening before we finally quit from trap exhaustion.


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A West Side Packer on the High Trip [pdf]
by Norman B. (Ike) Livermore Jr.


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whitney packers
(L to R): Norman Livermore, Irene Kritz, Paul Lamos - 1995
whitney packers
Ed & Mary Brown - 1995
whitney packers
(L to R): Gene Harlan, Ed Brown, Irene Kritz, Ray DeLea, Norman Livermore, Paul Lamos - 1995


packers
(L to R): Paul Lamos, Tommy Jefferson, Norman Livermore III, Ray DeLea, Ed Brown, Irene Kritz, Gene Harlan - 1995

packers
(L to R): Dina Livermore, Ray DeLea (aka: "The Pigmy Packer"), Ed Brown, Ike Livermore, Norman Livermore III - 1995


tommy jefferson
Tommy Jefferson
(co-owner of Mt. Whitney Pack Trains with Charles Morgan and the greatest boss ever)

packers
Ed Turner, Richard Morgan and Eddie Mike
1957
Packers
Ed Turner, Richard Morgan and Eddie Mike
1995
eddie mike
Eddie Mike '95
[photo courtesy of Nancy Droubay]

tommy jefferson
L to R: Tommy Jefferson, Richard Morgan
[photo courtesy of Nancy Droubay]

Reif Kipp, Eddie Mike
L to R: Reif Kipp, Eddie Mike, Theresa Mike (wife), Leva Mike (mom)
[photo courtesy of Nancy Droubay]


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new
packers reunion

2009 packers reunion

1. Richard Morgan, 2. Kipp Reif, 3. Bob Hanson, 4. Julie Fought. 5. Coale Johnson, 6. Amy Olin Hannah, 7. Josie Hannah (Amy’s daughter), 8. Mike Hanson
9. Kathy Noland, 10. Tom Russ Noland, 11. Nancy Droubay, 12. Guitar player from Lone Pine (?), 13. Chris Rich, 14. Sandy Lund, 15. Dick Peters, 16. Irene Kritz
17. Norman Livermore III, 18. Jon Dittmer, 19. Richard Cervantes, 20. James Hanson (Bob & Enid’s youngest son), 21. Robert Morgan (Charles and Mary’s oldest son)
22. Jerre Noland Olin, 23. Phil Berry (Sierra Club leader), 24. LeRoy Kritz, 25. Gene Harlan, 26. Jerome Harlan (Gene Harlan’s son),
27. Robin Hanson, 28. Ed Turner, 29. Jim Dittmer, 30. Roberta Morgan Peters
PHOTO with Numbers


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lone pine pack station
[poster courtesy of Paul Lamos archives]

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new
2016 packer's dinner
packer's dinner

Back Row (L/R): dog, Josh Dittmer, Jon Dittmer, Jim Dittmer, Melvin Joseph, Kipp Reif, Robert Morgan, Duck Bobb, Barbara Morgan, Richard Morgan
Front Row (L/R): Dick Peters, Ray DeLea, Nancy Droubay, Roberta Peters, Mike Morgan, Jo Ann Stoltz


More photos from the "Packers Dinner" are available on my flickr website.


packers dinner
L/R: Reif Kipp, Jeriy Nolan, Richard Morgan
packers dinner
L/R: Irene Kritz, Susan Jefferson Bobb, Barbara Morgan, Sandra Jefferson Yonge
packers dinner
L/R: Susan Jefferson Bobb, Melvin Joseph, Irene Kritz
ray
Ray DeLea with surprise awards presented at the Packer's Dinner
   



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This page was last updated on 27 August 2017