About the Author

These web pages are the product of a dramatic, midlife lifestyle change. For eleven years I worked as an oil and gas exploration geologist in Denver. As the oil boom of the 70's and 80's wound down I began to search for other kinds of work just in case my job was eliminated. After a number of career counseling sessions, I decided that my next job would be teaching in a small college in the east.

Bill on Mount Solomons with Palisades in the background. Photo taken by Craig Poole.Then the inevitable happened, I was laid off. To my amazement I lined up exactly the kind of job I thought I wanted in one of the most idyllic locations imaginable. Nonetheless, I had great feelings of uneasiness. I was concluding negotiations for the new job when it finally occurred to me what was wrong. There were no mountains there--well at least no "real" mountains like the ones I grew up exploring.

The "real" mountains I refer to make up the Sierra Nevada Range, or as John Muir so aptly described it, the Range of Light. My experience in these mountains goes back to early childhood. Some of my most vivid memories from those early years are of harrowing explorations with my older brother, Larry, encounters with bears, and the joys of finding new and wonderful sights, smells and sounds in the wilderness.

In 1955, at the age of 10, I was formally introduced to backpacking at YMCA Camp Tulequoia and from then on the backpacking trip at camp became one of the most eagerly anticipated events of summer. Later, with Boy Scout Troop 152 expertly led by A. Luke Fritz, the size and scope of hikes increased dramatically, unveiling possibilities for trips that had been undreamed of before.

Oil and gas exploration in Denver allowed little time for hiking in the Rockies. Not only that, but the mountains that I hiked through in Colorado did not hold much incentive because they did not hold a candle to the Sierra Nevada. So, I returned to California where I taught in the Clovis Unified School District in the San Joaquin Valley for 22 years. I'm happy to say that I live within two or three hours drive of a dozen trailheads in the finest hiking country on Earth.

Best Wishes-
Bill Finch

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