Reminiscing About Bruce Morgan

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My name is Skip Parker and I lived with the Morgan Family in the late forties and early fifties. Bruce had a lot to do with raising me the right way and I will never forget him or the family. I was around the Twenty Mule Team and knew Billy Bishop and V. Cline. We packed the Sierra Club in every year and many private parties. I have many pictures of the back country on slides and enjoy watching them when I can.

Thank You,
Skip Parker
Driftwood, Texas


Crossing the Sierra by Skip Parker
This is the year we had to cross the Sierras in three days to pick up the Sierra Club. At the near end of the third day we arrived at the top of the last pass which would drop us into Mineral King. It turned out that the top of the pass was snowed in and too soft for the horses and mules to go over. Bruce had us wait until the snow froze so it was late by the time we could proceed. Bruce produced a bottle of whiskey and gave each of us a good shot as it was very cold by then. He asked me to lead out with my string of mules. So away we went. It didn't take long for it to get real dark; but as they say, the stock can see when we can't. I could tell when we finally leveled out at the valley floor but continued on until my mare would go no further. I dismounted an walked into the side of a building which caused some colorful language and lights to come on. Here we were, all crowded into the tiny village of Mineral King with strings of mules tied together, etc. Slowly we got turned around and went back to the Malloy Pack Station. Some how we had gone right by the corrals without hearing a peep out of the stock that was there. This was also the year we started calling the pack outfit the "midnight pack outfit" as we rode many nights moving the club. We could move half the baggage, etc. and then go back for the other half. One of the mules I packed was named Jumbo and when we arrived with the second half after midnight, I would turn him loose to keep the hikers away until we could get unloaded. It worked every time.


Bruce Morgan, A Life Sketch
By Charles Morgan


Bruce Morgan Hand Rolling Cigarettes

All the old timers (Bruce, Leppy, Vasie, on and on) had their own way of rollin' a smoke. The sack had a drawstring with a circular cardboard logo on it which hung out of the upper left hand shirt pocket for easy one-handed access. The art of smoking with "Bull Durham" was to have torn a half circle in the top outer wrapping of the Rizla wrapping papers which were attached to the sack. Then one hands finger or thumb could slide out a paper and hold it folded as in a half tube waiting for the tobacco. The sack was held in the teeth used as one hand and pulled open with the other. Then the tobacco was shaken (not poured) in the half tube which was moisten along one edge with saliva and rolled compactly closed. The next magic came when the sulfur match was lit in one hand with a scratch from the thumbnail and applied to the cigarette. If you'd eaten off your nails, you could always catch the match on the seam of your Levis, pull it up and get it going. Watching these old heroes and their habits started started a bunch of us young dummies smoking. God Damn them old heroes!

Ben Baker
Oro Valley, Arizona


Roberta confirms the fact that Bruce could, and did, roll cigarettes with one hand while either riding a horse or driving a truck. I believe I also saw him roll one while driving. In some photos you can see a Bull Durham string hanging out of his shirt pocket.

Dick Peters


I was fortunate to ride with Bruce Morgan in the stock truck going down the Whitney Portal Road. He was driving and I watched him roll a cigarette with one hand while steering with the other hand, light it, and smoke it. He was the real deal. This was during the summer of 1956, or 1957. If he wanted to roll a cigarette while riding a horse he could do it with one hand, but one doesn't usually need one hand to ride a horse. You do need one hand to steer a stock truck, especially going down the Whitney Portal Road.

Ed Turner
Idaho Falls, Idaho


1995 Mt. Whitney Packer's Reunion  

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Sierra Club High Trips: 1946 - 1972  

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This page was last updated on 02 July 2021