nancy droubay
Nancy Droubay

nancy droubay 
Nancy Droubay Archives - 1
Mt. Whitney Packers of the 1940s - 1970s


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All photos courtesy of Nancy Droubay unless otherwise noted.


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mule train

Roster of Mt. Whitney Pack Trains Packers

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Memories of My Packing Days
by Nancy Droubay

In 1945 my family moved to Darwin, a deserted mining camp between Death Valley and Owens Valley, to reopen the mines. We lived there for eight years while the mines prospered and I met the Morgan family through my love of horses.

My family would spend time in Death Valley playing golf and I would hang around the stables where Morgans kept their horses in the winter. Roberta Morgan and I became good friends during those years. From Friday evening till Sunday evening I would stay with the Morgans who always had extra kids as well as five of their own. During the day, Roberta and I would work at the stables saddling horses and going with guests who wanted to ride but were unsure of where to go. (The horses all knew exactly where to go: straight back to the corral!!) In the afternoon we would sometimes go swimming at Furnace Creek Inn with several other kids and at age 12 I would borrow my folks car to take us all up there.

In the evenings, there were square dances: Friday at Furnace creek Ranch and Saturday at Furnace Creek Inn. Bruce Morgan was the caller and Grace Morgan (his wife) was the

[story continued below]

tommy jefferson
Tommy Jefferson, guitarist and balladeer
1954 Sierra Club High Trip

clyde poncho
Clyde Poncho shoeing one of his mules

most graceful and talented dancer. She taught the dances to the guests so they all had a good time. All the Morgan kids, their friends and the other people who lived and worked in Death Valley would dance with the guests too so everybody had a very good time.

Getting ready for the dances was different then than it is now!!! There was one bathroom and Grace and Bruce got it first. After that the kids got ready. There was a tub - no shower - and hot water was at a premium. Barbara Morgan and Enid Morgan, the older Morgan girls got the first bath - together. Then Roberta and I took our baths in their same water. Nobody wanted to use our bath water so I think the boys, Charles, Richard and whoever else was staying there got the last, somewhat cold bath. There was no lingering in the bathroom!!!

[story continued below]

Packers on the 1954 Mt. Whitney Pack Trains' Sierra Club High Trip to the Big Arroyo

nancy droubay

L to R: Back Row (seated on log) - Skip Parker, Billy Bishop, Roberta Morgan, Bruce Morgan
L to R: Front Row (in & on the rocks) - Larry Berry, Graham Boswell, Gary Poncho, Tommy Jefferson, J. Tugwell Malone,
Clyde Poncho (standing on the right), Lester Bellas



Images of the Mt. Whitney Pack Trains' 1954 Sierra Club High Trip to the Big Arroyo country.

j tugwell malone
J. Tugwell Malone

In the summer, I went to live at Carroll Creek Pack Station where Roberta and I shared a tiny tent top and did our chores as directed by the older Morgans. Doing horse stuff was what we liked to do but there was washing, ironing and tending the office in Lone Pine that we had to do too. Roberta's objections to some of these assignments was vocal, loud, and sometimes quite physical. I used to think that we would be struck by lightening if she didn't shut up. Of course nobody would do anything like this around Bruce. His response to poor behavior was: " You either get tanned or canned!!!" My goal at that time was to work for Mt Whitney Pack Trains FOREVER.

There was something magical about working for MWPT. Something that can't be put into words. Silly kids learned how to work, be responsible and part of a team. There's something about THE MOUNTAINS that stays in your heart for the next 60+ years and makes everything you do a little better. Working with mules and horses and even those *^#^&* burros built character. And the people we met as both packers and guests broadened our horizons.

Story by Nancy Droubay

billy bishop
Billy Bishop shoeing "Appy"

bobby douglas
Bobby Douglas on Blue

bobby douglas
Bobby Douglas in packer's camp.

bobby douglas 
L to R: SC girl, SC girl, Bobby Douglas

nancy droubay
L/R: Wendell Gill and Charlie Gilmore placing a load of lumber on "Snake"
Circa 1950 at the Mt. Whitney Pack Trains, Carroll Creek Pack Station
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Lester Bellas giving Nancy Droubay a haircut.

roberta morgan
Lester Bellas giving Roberta Morgan a haircut while Nancy Droubay looks on.
clyde poncho
L to R: Clyde Poncho and Lester Bellas shoveling out Army Pass.

nancy droubay
Lester Bellas giving Nancy Droubay a haircut.
kern river crossing
Crossing the Kern River on the High Sierra Trail with the Sierra Club.

tommy jefferson

Tommy Jefferson serenading the Sierra Club - 1953
tommy jefferson
Tommy Jefferson
nancy droubay
L/R: Richard ?, Gary ?
barbara morgan
Barbara Morgan at Outpost Camp on the Mt. Whitney Trail

billy bishop
Billy Bishop
bruce morgan
Bruce Morgan

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"The 49th (1954) Sierra Club High Trip"



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mt. whitney packers
L to R (on the log): J. Tug Malone, Larry Berry, Roberta Morgan, Lester Bellas, Billy Bishop, Tommy Jefferson, Clyde Poncho, Skip Parker, Gary Poncho, Graham Boswell
(seated in front) - Bruce Morgan

Packers on the Mt. Whitney Pack Trains' 1953 Sierra Club High Trip to the Mt. Whitney back country.

sierra club and mt whitney pack trains packers

Packers and Sierra Clubbers on the Mt. Whitney Pack Trains' 1953 Sierra Club High Trip to the Mt. Whitney back country.

nancy droubay

L/R: Pete Garner, Don Felix, and Gary Poncho on the 1952 Sierra Club High Trip to the Muro Blanco country between Sawmill Pass and Taboose Pass

sierra club high trip
L/R: Wendell Gill, Gabe Gill, and "Cowboy Joe (?)" on the 1952 Sierra Club High Trip to the Muro Blanco country between Sawmill Pass and Taboose Pass

nancy droubay
L/R: unknown, unknown, unknown

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L/R (back row): Sierra Club boy, Sierra Club girl, Packer Joe ?
L/R (front Row): Nancy Droubay, Sierra Clubber "Mr. Peepers", Bobby Douglas
1954 Sierra Club High Trip

nancy droubay
L/R: Nancy Droubay, Lester Bellas, Roberta Morgan, ?, ?, ?

nancy droubay
L to R (front): Nancy Droubay, Bobby Douglas, Lester Bellas, Billy Bishop
L to R (back): Roberta Morgan, Tommy Jefferson

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bruce morgan
Bruce Morgan
the pilgrims
Sierra Club "Pilgrims"
nancy droubay
Skip Parker, Clyde Poncho, Roberta Morgan, Nancy Droubay
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Roberta Morgan, Unknown
nancy droubay
Unknown
clyde poncho
Clyde Poncho
nancy droubay
Unknown, Unknown, Unknown
clyde poncho

nancy droubay

Unknown
nancy droubay
Nancy Droubay
lester bellas
Lester Bellas
skip parker
Skip Parker - 1954 Sierra Club High Trip at Lost Canyon
skip parker
Skip Parker - 1954 Sierra Club High Trip
skip parker
Skip Parker - 1954 Sierra Club High Trip


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1995 Mt. Whitney Packer's Reunion  

Packing & High Sierra Stories  
Sierra Club High Trips  

More of Nancy Droubay Archives
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The Morgans

 

Early Lone Pine 

 

Wildflowers of the High Sierra 

 

 One Packers High Sierra Experience


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This page was last updated on 25 August 2017