A Recorder in the Wilderness

My friends in the Sierra Club could have warned me. But they wanted the satisfaction of hearing the reaction of an innocent to the culture of the Hundred Peaks Section of the of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club.

It was early in the 1960’s and I was was working as a Research Engineer at the Autonetics Division of North American Aviation. I had joined the Orange County Chapter of the Sierra Club and had gone on several day hikes, but this was to be my first overnight backpack with the Sierra Club. There were many more Sierra Club outings in my future, but this one is still one of the most memorable after 50 plus years. Partially because before this outing I would have never imagined what some people do in the wilderness.
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Burial in Mexico

My lawyer brother Stuart was acutely aware of the Mexican laws that he broke in getting our older brother Jay buried when Jay died in San Blas, Mexico. The broken laws included:

  1. Burying a 32nd Degree Mason in a Catholic cemetery.
  2. Violation of Mexican Treasury Regulations.
  3. Violation of Mexican Custom Regulations.
  4. Violation of Mexican Immigration Regulations.
  5. Violation of Mexican Tax Regulations.
  6. Violation of Mexican Health & Safety Regulations.
  7. Fleeing from Justice.

He described part of this saga in a February 26, 1968 letter to Jay’s wife and son who were living in France at the time. The story starts slow but with very little embellishment some of it could serve as an episode in a adventure-movie script. The letter follows, with a few personal parts meant for Jay’s wife and son excluded (insurance details, etc.) Thanks to my niece Patricia for sending me a copy of this letter.
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