by Bill Crane, Chair

The Backpacking Committee was founded in 1974 by Dick Ramirez, its first chair, to have a group within the chapter devoted to backpacking trips. The committee offers trips to numerous locations in California plus select locations in Hawaii and Arizona. Typically our leaders can take you to Big Sur, the Los Padres National Forest, the Ventana Wilderness, Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Forest and Park, Kings Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National, Point Reyes National Seashore, San Jacinto State Wilderness, Angeles National Forest, San Bernardino National Forest, and San Gorgonio Wilderness.

The committee sponsors and conducts outings devoted primarily to backpacking - from easy family-type trips to strenuous cross-country treks. Most of our trips include bus transportation. Due to wilderness permit limits and to minimize the cost of bus transportation, we occasionally conduct a non-backpacking outing which offers lodging and hiking. Safety and imagination are our only limits.

The strength of an outings entity relies principally on great Outings Chairs and we have been had some of the chapter's best. In 1975 Dick Ramirez took over as Outings Chair relinquished the Chairmanship to then Vice-Chair W.R.C. Shedenhelm when the committee's first Outing's Chair, Paul Kellow, died in a mountaineering accident in Europe. I took the helm from Shedenhelm in 1980. Dick recruited Gerry Dunie to replace him in 1990. Gerry's death from cancer saddened us early this year, Fred Dong agreed to be Outing's Chair. Both Dick and Gerry received the Chester Versteeg Award, the Angeles Chapter's highest outing's award, and Fred has received the Outing's Service Award. Also, we have been fortunate to draw on a cadre of great leaders. Please contact Fred if you want to lead or assist on trips for the Backpacking Committee. We sustain with only the third officer of treasurer, Merwin "Luke" Lucas.

The committee has a few annual and traditional trips. Dick initiated the Annual Hawaiian Islands Backpacking trip in 1975, although he never went on any of them. Since he was unable to go on the first one he turned it over to his assistant, Reg Allen. I volunteered after being as participant of the 1975 trip to the Big Island of Hawaii and have continued it to the present.

Another of our annual bus trips is the Easter trip to Havasupai Indian Reservation. It is split between a backpacking group and one that day hikes to the Havasupai Village Lodge. A full-day hike down the red rock canyon to the Colorado River awaits the hearty hikers - 16 miles round trip from the campground, 20 miles round trip from the village.

We regularly run a bus trip on the major holiday weekends of Memorial Day, Forth of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. We often share buses with the Wilderness Adventures Section.

We had a newsletter, "GORP", which came and went four times before its current dormancy. The job of editing takes dedication and a long term commitment. We are now listing our events in the"ARROYO VIEW". The Backpacking Committee has a new addition this year. We have a website with listings of outings and leaders at http://www.edgeinternet.com/backpack, for which I have taken on the duties of Webmaster. My E-mail address is bilguana@earthlink.net.

I welcome you to join the Backpacking Committee in the wilderness.