This past September, 69-year-old Larry Wright spent 11 days backpacking through Sequoia National Park with his son and grandson. While trekking up a remote backcountry peak, the trio discovered a small metal canister that had been carefully stashed against a rock near the summit. Curiosity got the better of Wright and he decided to open the rusted canister to see what was inside. What he found was a handwritten note that had been waiting four decades to be discovered.
The note, which was surprisingly well preserved, simply said: “Tim Taylor climbed to this peak, Thursday, August 17, 1972. Age 13 yrs. Anyone finding this note please write.” At the bottom of the page, Taylor included his home address, which was located in Flintridge, California.
Wright told the Los Angles Times that he isn’t surprised that no one had found the note until now. The hike to the mountain takes several days and few people have probably even been to the summit. He also said that the metal can was so rusted that it was hard to even notice it all. But inside, the note was nearly perfectly preserved, still waiting for someone – anyone – to find it.Once he got back to civilization, Wright attempted to contact Tim Taylor but found few clues as to his current whereabouts. A visit to Taylor’s address from the note found new residents who had never heard of the teenager that had left the note 40 years earlier. Furthermore, a search of the city voter registration records showed no one by the name of Tim Taylor still living there.
The story could have ended there, leaving us with an interesting little mystery and very few answers. But the Adventure Journal reports that not long after the Times ran the article, Tim Taylor showed up with his side of the story. Taylor, who is now a Superior Court Judge in San Diego, was a boy scout back in 1972. In August of that year, he and his troop were on a 50-mile hike through the same region as Larry Wright and his family. On one of their rest days, Taylor decided to hike to the top of a nearby peak, which may have been unclimbed at that time. While at the top, he left his note, not knowing if or when anyone would ever find it.
Taylor’s note was sort of a message in a bottle, although instead of being carried by the tides to some far off place, it sat in one location as the years rolled by. I think it is simply amazing that it was discovered at all and even more surprising that it could be still be read. It must have been quite a surprise for the now 53-year-old judge to learn that someone had found his hidden canister at last.