Geodetic Surveying

Monday 4 April 1949

I caught the Pan American Airways plane from San Jose, Costa Rica for David, Panama.  We arrived at David at 3:15 p.m.  For 75 cents I caught a taxi ride from the airport to the center of David.  I found out that the first bus to the Canal Zone left at 9 a.m. the next day.  I obtained a room in a hotel for $1.50 for the night with supper and breakfast.  Not too bad.

Tuesday, 5 April 1949

While waiting for the bus to start in the morning I saw a fellow pass the bus station and look at me.  I said “good morning.”  He stopped and introduced himself as an American who was farming in the hills.  He left and brought a Hungarian friend with him.  We were standing on the curb talking when a jeep pulled up alongside and a Major, Lieutenant and a civilian stepped out.  I asked them if they were going to go to the Canal Zone and if they were would they give me a lift?

They were not going to the Canal Zone but in the ensuing conversation the Major (Major Cox) asked me if I wanted a job with the Inter-American Geodetic Survey.  When I expressed an interest he told me more of the details and then wrote a letter for me to present to the headquarters in Balboa.

I got on the bus at 9 a.m. but we didn’t leave David until 10:45 because we chased all over the town for passengers and so they could go to the Post Office to check their mail and, if necessary, go back to the residence to leave off the mail.  Along the way we stopped for lunch and then at 11 p.m. we stopped for the last time for refreshments and a toilet break.

Wednesday, 6 April, 1949

At 2:30 a.m. the bus let me off at the Santa Ana hotel.  I rang the bell and with the use of Spanish I got a room for $2.50 without meals.  I tried to sleep but didn’t succeed very well because of a brawl in the tavern downstairs.  After a shower I went to the Boy Scout office where I met John Barr, the Scout Executive.  He offered to take me to the U.S. Embassy in the afternoon and then visit the office of the Boy Scouts of Panama.  The embassy was closed so we went to the Scouts of Panama office.  I met the International Secretary who endorsed my letter from the National Headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America.  Then John took me to meet some of the leaders of Canal Zone scouting.  I asked John if he knew of a place where I could stay for less than $2.50 a day.  He called a Mr. Fells who was the Council Scout Commissioner.  Mr. Fells had a son who is a scout and is now in college.  The Fells agreed to take me in for awhile so we went to the hotel where I picked up my luggage then went to the Fells house.  I found them a swell couple.  They give me their son’s room.  Ralph was off to college in the US.

Thursday, 7 April, 1949

Early in the a.m. I went to the Inter-American Geodetic Survey headquarters.  I presented the letter Major Cox wrote for me.  I then started filling out papers.  This was to keep up all day.  During a half hour break in the morning while waiting for Major Britt, John Barr took me to the U.S. Embassy where I got a letter from home.

In the evening I went to a scout meeting with Mr. Fells.  It turned out that only 3 boys showed up for the meeting.

Friday, 8 April, 1949

At 7:30 a.m. I showed up at the Civilian Personnel Office where I was given the task of filling out the “Pink Sheet” with 4 carbon copies.  The Pink Sheet consisted of three sheets, each 11 inches long with both sides to be filled out.  Finally at 2:45 the secretary that was helping me gave up when I started getting confused at where I had lived.  (11 different addresses.)  She told me to go home and figure out the addresses and come back on Monday.  That gave me a chance to go to the Explorer Scout meeting at the local High School.  Again there were only a few boys there. 

Back at the Fells’ house (1452 Las Cruces, Balboa, CZ) I met Terry Melancon and his brother.  Terry asked me if I canted to go to a dance that evening so after dinner I got dressed up (in one of Ralph’s shirts) and went to a square dance.  The dance was lots of fun.  I was introduced to a girl by the name of Shirley who taught me how to dance.  More fun!  I got home at 11:30 p.m.

Saturday, 9 April 1949

Got up late.  Did nothing in the a.m.   Went to see some of the locks of the Panama Canal in the p.m.

Sunday, 10 April 1949

After breakfast the Fells took me to see Old Panama.  It was very interesting.  A chicken dinner then to write this.  I had to catch up from the revolt in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Monday, 11 April 1949

Today was spent finishing up the paperwork for employment with the Inter-American Geodetic Survey.  I was hired as an Engineering Aid SP-810-3 at an annual salary of $2,284 dollars but added to that was a 25% differential for work outside the continental USA which made my annual salary $2,855.   

During this week I reported to the IAGS headquarters and was assigned to the Panama Project.  I was sent to the quartermaster warehouse where I was given a sleeping bag, jungle hammock, a 22 inch machete with sheath, a wooden cot, flashlight, jungle helmet, mosquito netting for the head, water proof matches, gun belt (I will be assigned the gun later), poncho, field jacket, army combat boots, wool socks, canteen and lots of other items.  I was given a traditional army foot-locker to put all this stuff in.

Since I was now an official employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of the Army, Pacific Sector, Fort Clayton, Canal Zone I was eligible to obtain a room in the Bachelor Officer Quarters at Quarry Heights in Balboa, CZ.   I moved from the Fells’ house to my room at the BOQ during the week.  I stayed at the BOQ at Quarry Heights whenever on duty in the Canal Zone.  As an added benefit I could eat (and drink) at the Officer’s Club.

My passport was now stamped “This is to certify that the bearer of this passport is travelling in the countries of Central and South America on official business for the Department of the Army.”  I was but age 18 and looking forward to one hell of an adventure.

Wednesday, 13 April 1949

Orders were cut today assigning me to work in David, Panama and “such other places as are deemed necessary in the accomplishment of this mission.”  I would travel by military vehicle on or about 18 April 1949 for TDY (temporary duty) for a period of approximately ninety days.  Every time I moved from one assigned duty station to another new orders had to be “cut.”  Without the orders I would not be able to draw per-diem for being ‘off post.’

Wednesday, 20 April 1949 -

At 7:30 a.m. I was at IAGS Hq. where I had arranged to meet Lt. Mayberry.  We were to go together to Corozal and obtain a truck to pick up my duds then return to the I.P.  8:00 a.m. and Lt. Maybery still hadn’t shown up.  Major Cox came to hq. and asked what I was doing there.  I explained to him.  He had me pick up my equipment in a jeep station wagon and take it over to the I.P.

At Corozal I saw Lt. Mayberry.  He explained the reason for not meeting me.  We did not leave Corozal till 10 a.m.  There were three vehicles in our immediate group: a jeep station wagon and a jeep, both pulling trailers and a ¾ ton ambulance.  I was riding in the ambulance with “Tex”.  A 2-1/2 ton truck was up ahead of us carrying equipment.

The jeep station wagon had a flat.  The truck had water hose trouble.  We got to David, Panama at 2 a.m. on the 21st.  We slept in a house rented by light keepers.

Thursday, April 21, 1949 –

At 8 a.m. I got up and had a shower, shave, etc.  Was writing in diary when Lynn Torbert came in to use the radio in the kitchen to call stations.  I went with him to the parade grounds.  Went with him to visit light station Cerro Jesus.  The hill had been set on fire by some natives and all the equipment was ruined a few weeks ago.  Now two light keepers are up there.

They were filthy dirty.  The soot from the hill was all over their clothes.  It was impossible to move without getting black with the soot.  At any rate they had a sloppy camp.  The cans were strewed all over the mountain top.  All the cooking gear was dirty inside and out.  Papers and garbage laid where it was thrown from the gas stove.  The tents were set up very sloppily adding to the general dirtyness of the camp.  A Panamanian carries water for them every day for $2.00.  We went down to the river in the jeep.  The two light keepers went for a swim.  We had dinner on the shore of the river.  One of the fellows in from Philadelphia whereas the other is from Oklahoma.  Lynn, who is in charge of the light keepers, is from Kalispell, Montana.  Upon returning to David we had a coke.  I wrote for awhile in this diary.  At supper time I went to a Chinese place where I had Chow Mein and a beer for $1.15.

22 April 1949 - Friday.

I went to Batepia with truck driver to make arrangements for light keepers to come in.  It was a nice trip to the interior.  The houses of the village were of bamboo walls and grass roofs.

23 April 1949 – Saturday

I went with a new driver to Batepia to pick up the light keepers and pay the native labor used in carrying equipment.  The laborers got 19 dollars from the US Government.

24 April 1949 -  Sunday

I packed my equipment and got ready to go to Pena Blanca on Monday.  I bought a hat from Lynn for $3.00 (i.o.u.).  All the equipment in the house was packed and put on trucks for shipment to Santiago, the next headquarters for the IAGS in the Republic of Panama.

25 April 1949 - Monday

At 8:45 the 4 car convoy left David for Santiago.  I was in the vehicle that was going to Tole.  When Major Cox finished giving me instructions concerning the trip to Pena Blanca he told me that I was in charge of the truck, driver and two light keepers!  The two light keepers are going to Cerro Viejo.

We arrived at Tole at 2:30 p.m.  It was too late for me to leave for Pena Blanca.  The trip from here (Tole) will take 2 days by horseback.  I am going with a guide and 9 horses to carry equipment up and to bring back an observing party and their equipment.

We are staying for the night in a frame building rented to us for the night.  The other two light keepers are Panamanians.  They will leave for Cerro Viejo tomorrow with four horses. 

26 April 1949 – Tuesday

Breakfast is over and now we are waiting for the horses to show up.  For breakfast I had a cup of chocolate and a can of soup.  I have just seen the horses coming so I’ll help load. 

I wonder if I can finish writing about today’s happenings the way I’d been planning all these past hours.  I’m going to try. 

I left Tole with four pack horses, a guide and two helpers.  One of the guide’s helpers is about 21 years old and the other a boy of about 12 years.  The guide seemed to be in his 50s at least.  I lowered the stirrup straps (I always have to do it here) and then we started toward Pena Blanca.  If I had any thoughts of this trip being a joy ride I was soon to be corrected.  First of all I will tell the good parts though.

Here I am, an 18 year old Gringo, in the interior of Panama.  I am in charge of a train of eight horses and three men.  I am seeing some of the real wilderness areas of this country.  Butterflies abound.  Red ones, blue, green, black and white ones, scarlet birds, red and black birds are all to be seen near the trail. 

There must be a fiesta in the offing somewhere nearby.  We pass many Indians along the trail.  They are all dressed up.  The women have cotton dresses on.  They are close necked and hang from the shoulders with no belt used.  They reach to the ankles.  The dresses have short sleeves.  A design is usually banded around the dress near the bottom.  Everyone has paint on their faces.  Mostly it is red and black paint though at times you see a little blue.  There seems to be no order in the makeup.  Some of the fellows have blackened their eyes.  Some have triangles on the cheeks and black bands below them.  Others only have the bands.

I saw one Indian young man with a necklace of dogs teeth, at least they looked like incisor teeth of dogs.  One woman I noticed in particular had at least 25 necklaces on.  Most of them were blue.  The rest were orange.  When we stopped for lunch at an Indian hut I took a few pictures of an Indian family.  They were very reluctant to have their pictures taken.  It is only because my guide asked for me that they let me do it.  The guide, by the way, spoke no English.

After lunch we started on again.  About 3:30 we passed the two observers from Pena Blanca on their way out to civilization.  I talked to them for awhile.  They told me that the guide would stop for the night a short way up the trail at the home of another Indian.  They told me of a river at the foot of the mountain upon which we were to camp.  When we stopped I let the guide know that I was going to go to the river to wash.  He sent a small boy with me to make sure that I didn’t get lost.  The kid did not want to get wet.  I walked the horse down the mountain as my butt ached.  I only took him along to ride him back. 

The water was wonderful!  I never in my life have appreciated a stream more than that one.  I hated to come out and get dressed again.  The horse plodded slowly up the hill.  I felt sorry for him but I didn’t feel like doing it myself.

I can see mountains to all sides of me at the present.  Earlier in the day we could see the Pacific Ocean to the south.  There were only two things wrong with the trip.  The first was the lack of a good glass of water.  The second was the sore buttocks that I received from the horse.  My horse, by the way, was the slowest thing in creation.  He’d mope uphill and down.  I’d have to whack the day lights out of him for a trot or even to move faster to catch up to the rest of the gang.

The wind is blowing very strong here on this hill top.  Dusk is falling so I think I’d better get supper ready.

27 April 1949 – Wednesday

I hardly slept at all last night my muscles were so sore from the horseback trip.  After breakfast this morning I indicated to the guide that I was going to walk for awhile, at least down the hill.  It is the going down a hill that hurts on horseback.  We crossed the river in which I had bathed last night.  After that it was mostly a steady climb up hill.  At one especially steep place on the trail I got on horseback again.  I stayed on the horse till I got to the campsite.

I introduced myself to Robert Larrimer and we shook hands.  Larrimer decided to move the campsite while the horses were still around so the tents and equipment were all taken down to the foot of the hill upon which the light station was placed.  We set up a five-man tent and by combining the two ponchos we made a shelter in front of the tent.  We stacked our food in the boxes on one side of the shelter.

Larrimer is a former sailor.  He was in the Navy during the war (WW II) and sailed on many vessels since the war.  Since he had much more food than I, I suggested that we put our food together.  I would pay the difference in the cost of his food.  At first he agreed.  Later on he retracted his promise and said that he did not like the agreement.  He realized that with the food that I had I would run out, maybe, before three weeks were up.  If we were to share the food then we would both run out sooner than he would if he ate his alone.  So he took the sailor attitude of looking out for himself and let the other fellow do as he best could.

The light station is on the top of the hill to the south of us.  The observing party had to build a tower on the top of the hill so as to make the light visible to the other stations.  It is a 15’ log tower.  The Pacific Ocean can be seen from the top of the hill.

After supper we went to the hill to look for lights.  If we saw any we would show ours.  We stayed up there until 9 o’clock then went back to the tent and into the sack.

28 April 1949 – Thursday

Oh what a night!   I am going to fix the bed the first chance I get today.  I walked to the stream after breakfast to get washed up.  Coming back I took a different path than the one out and came to a hill in back of the camp.  From that hill I watched the clouds come rolling over the mountains from the north.  They were large clouds and thickly bedded.  They came over the mountain tops just like a breaker washes over rocks at the sea shore.

Larrimer has a pot of corn boiling over the fire.  The smoke blows in my eyes every once in a while making them smart.  Too bad it doesn’t make me smart (intelligent).  Larrimer is studying Spanish.  For hours at a time he reads out loud from a grammar and review book.  I don’t let it bother me.

I fixed up my sleeping position a little.  I dug hip and shoulder holes in the soil.  They are just very shallow depressions but it means a lot of comfort when you don’t have innersprings to sleep on.

Food taken to Pena Blanca with price paid.

1 corn .22

2 hamburger .44

1 crisco .36

1 ev. milk .xx

1 pk tea .60

1 apple sauce .17

1 log cabin .22

3 sausages .48

1 spinach .11

1 spaghetti .18

1 hash .32

1 beans .16

2 peaches .48

1 chile/carne .40

1 fruit cocktail .34

1 corn meal .19

1 peanut btr. .41

1 cocoa .22

1 tomato jelly .29

2 pancake mx .44

1 case C2 ration   $8.52

Total cost for food carried to Pena Blanca for 3 week stay = $14.99

29 April 1949 – Friday

We looked for lights from the other light stations from 7 to 9 last night.  When we received no signal by 9 we went below to the tent.  I slept well for the first time in four nights.  Pancakes for breakfast again and they were good!  Log Cabin syrup on top.  It started raining about 5:30 and rained till about 1 a.m.  Larrimer went to look for lights when the rain ended but ho lights were seen the rest of the night.

30 April 1949 – Saturday

Breakfast consisted of cornmeal, cocoa and B-1 unit of Army rations.  I gave myself a severe cut on the right hand forefinger with a can lid.  I put a band-aid on it.  I went for water about 2 p.m. and the damn 5 gal. can weighed 200 lbs by the time I back packed it to the camp from the stream.  Larrimer and I had flipped a coin to see who would go first to get the water.  Of course, I lost.

Most of the afternoon we talked about literature.  Now it is beginning to rain again, about 5:30 p.m.  I just finished shaving.  Larrimer doesn’t shave.  He has quite a beard.  Larrimer told me of several happenings that concerned him.  I am putting them down because they show the way of thinking by people in Latin America.

Larimer went to the light station with a negro Panamanian (station Guassimo).  It was Larrimer’s job to instruct the Panamanian in the methods of light keeping.  Unfortunately they did not have enough food with them and had to supplement their supply with rice and beans from the Indians.  Together Larrimer and the negro went to a cluster of Indian huts half a day’s walk from the light station.  The Indians would shake hands with Larrimer and say “Hola” which was their greeting.  When the Indian shook hands with the negro they rubbed his arm with their other hand.

Now the Indians of that part of Panama believe that the devil is black just as we picture him to be red.  Since the Indians paint themselves on occasions (as I had seen several days ago) they thought that this fellow had painted himself.  When the paint did not rub off they assumed him to be a devil.  The Indians of the interior here (2 days by horseback to the nearest road) had never seen a negro before.

As Larrimer and the negro were leaving the village the Indians invited the negro back again alone to partake of a Chicha party.  Chicha is their intoxicating drink.  When the day came for the negro to return Larrimer asked him if he was going to go.  NO! said the negro, shuddering with fright.  “They plan to get me drunk and kill me.” he said, “They think I am a devil!”

Since the first meeting with the Indians the negro would never venture any where unless Larrimer was along.  He was not taking any chances of being killed as a devil.

Larrimer told me of another incident which took place in Costa Rica.  At the particular light station where he was stationed he was able to live with an Indian family.  The daughter of the home who was recently married came to Larrimer and asked if he would pull several of her teeth out.  The two upper rear molars were terribly decayed.  At one time she had gone to a nearby village to have them pulled out.  The Indian used a pair of gas pliers and only cracked the tooth, leaving the root in her mouth.

Larrimer said that he wouldn’t do anything about it.  He felt sorry for the girl because she had just married a worthless fellow who had her do all the work.  Besides having to work so had and being racked with pain from the teeth she was pregnant. 

Since you can’t help these Indians by a direct gift or they consider you crazy and take all the rest you have it was difficult to think of a way to give her the money to go to the dentist in the nearest town (two days travel by horseback).  Now the Indians in that particular region of Central America as in most other parts of Central America are so extremely poor that they just exist.  Their homes are bamboo huts with straw roofs.  They live just as their forefathers lived before them.  There is no possible way to pull themselves out of their condition.

While talking to the girl’s husband one afternoon Larrimer asked about her health.  “It’s fine” said the Indian.  Larrimer told him of the teeth and said that if she didn’t get them fixed very soon it might kill her.  “But” the Indian explained, “it costs 2 dollars to have a tooth extracted in the town.”  Larrimer said that he’d loan him the money if he would swear that it would be used only for that purpose.  Yes, the Indian swore that it would only be used for his wife’s teeth, nothing else, only for his wife.  So the Indian received 4 dollars from Larrimer

The following day Larrimer saw the young man with a new bull.  Right away he knew where the dentist money had gone.  The Indian had used the four dollars to purchase a twenty dollar bull, owing the rest.  With the bull he hoped to carry grain from his neighbors to the searby seaport and become a rich man (in his estimation.)

At 9 p.m. I went to the light station and put on the lights.  Larrimer came up shortly and we arranged to split the night.  I was to remain on watch till 11 p.m. and then he would watch ‘till 3 a.m.  Twice I received signals from Manacuda.  They just sent short dots with no morse message and no z.  I kept the light on any way.

1 May 1949 – Sunday

For some strange reason today seems like a Sunday.  I don’t know why because out here every day is the same.  The usual routine was followed till 11 a.m., i.e. writing and reading.  At 11 it started to rain.  It must be at least 3 p.m. and still it is raining.  We ditched the tent so the water runs around and not through the tent.

For lunch I had spaghetti with meat and yucca roots.  The yucca roots were boiled in water like potatoes.  I also had cocoa and fruit cocktail.  I dig into the peanut butter jar from time to time and have peanut butter a la spoon.  Larrimer is writing a story or stories.  I am sitting on a box in the tent writing this while he is sitting on a box outside under the shelter writing.  It is still raining.

Man the guns!  We have been attacked! They’re coming in on all sides!  We’re surrounded!  Here they come!

In a fraction of a second we were covered by thousands of black, four-winged insects about the size of a mayfly.  They got into the soup, in your clothes and virtually every place imaginable.  There seems to be less now.  I don’t know whether we killed them all or they are finished with us and are looking for more meat elsewhere.

We received a light from Gavilan tonight for the first time.  It was about 7:15 pm when we got it.  They had us dim the light twice.  The observer really likes his dim.  We saw the lights from Manacuda but it was just the light keeper fussing around.

Larrimer and I decided to take turns keeping the light.  I was to watch it from 8 to 10 p.m. and then come down to the tent.  Larrimer had his alarm clock set for 11:30 so he could get to the light by 12 to see if there were any messages.  If the light needed another battery he would put it on at that time.  When he came down se’d set the alarm for 1:30 a.m. so I could be up top by 2 to receive any messages if necessary.  No messages.  Tomorrow night we will switch.  He will keep the first watch and the 2 o’clock check while I will have the 12 o’clock check only.

2 May 1949 – Monday

It’s raining again, or should I say yet?  I awoke at 6:30 a.m. and heard the rain against the top of the tent.  It rained ‘till 8:15 a.m.  The sun has now come out.  I hope it dries up some fire wood.  The supply is running low.  In fact I had to use the gas stove this morning to cook the oatmeal. 

I stop and think some time whether the salary isn’t right for the job.  There are many things that you must put up with in the field that you would never put up with in civilization.  Even so I do not doubt but that I’ll stick it out until next August.  I hope that I’ll be able to.  The draft board might have something to say about it.

I’ve just finished a letter to Bill Hillcourt.  It is 10 pages long.  Quite presumptuous of me to believe that he’d read all that chatter much less answer it.   It is raining again.  The rainy season has really started.

Even though it rained most of the day I was still able to get dry wood to build a fire to cook lunch and supper.  My Parker “51” pen is wonderful, never the least bit of trouble.  It always writes as soon as I touch it to the paper and never blots.

About 7 p.m. we received a message from Gavilan.  It told us that there is to be an “O” party (observation party) on Manicuda tonight.  We received a “Z” from Gavilan so zeroed in his light and left it.  We saw flashings from the light on Manicuda but received no “Z” or any other recognizable message.  We left the light on him anyway.  Larrimer stayed up until about 10:30.  I meanwhile went to sleep and went up the hill at 1`2 midnight to check the lights.  They were OK but it was clouding up terribly.  Soon it started raining.  It rained most of the night. 

3 May 1949 – Tuesday

Got up at 8 a.m. had cooked rice and a B-1 ration for breakfast.  The B-1 ration consisted of cold cereal, cocoa, sugar, cookies and jam.  It rained again today.  In the evening we got a “Z” from Gavilan pretty early and a “THD” from Manicuda shortly afterward.  Then for some reason Azucar started flashing us.  We sent him a code message in Spanish and one in English, “What’s up?”  but only received crazy flashing during and after the message.  Larrimer gave him a “DG” and he put out his light.  Later he put it on again, flashing us again.  We ignored him.  It was probably a Panamanian light keeper.

4 May 1949 – Wednesday

I slept well all night.  I’ve been getting up at 8 a.m. lately.  I went hiking today.  Twice I tried to get to the top of Pina Blanca.  I first time I ended up by a rock wall which I could have climbed but it would have taken too long so I went down half way and circled around the peak to the other side and started going up on a grassy slope.  I got near the top when the clouds started coming so I decided I’d better wait rather than be caught in a cloud on that steep peak.

It rained again today.  At night we received a “Z” from Gavilan early and repeated it, leaving the light on afterward.  We received no signal from Manicuda but left their light on anyway.  Azcuar was calling again.  He wouldn’t answer any of our messages nor give any sensible actions himself so we assumed it to be an untrained  Panamanian light keeper.

5 May 1949 – Thursday

Larrimer always gets up at 6 a.m.  He can’t sleep too well.  He wakes me up by his motion so I give a look at the clock and turn over again.  The Indians are quite something at night.  At night, while we are on top of the hill we can see their campfires.  When we put a spotlight on their fire and start flashing it they put out the fire. 

6 May 1949 – Friday

Rain as usual.  Corn meal was good for breakfast.  Larrimer just borrowed my comb.  He says that he combs his hair once a week whether it needs it or not.  It rained almost all day today.

7 May 1949 – Saturday

I had a weird dream last night.  I could hardly sleep the rest of the night.  I hope I don’t have those dreams often.  It would worry me if I did. 

I hope I don’t get sent out on a station with Lorrimer again.  He is of the artist type and is very difficult to get along with.  He sings out loud or recites poetry or writes all day long.  He gets sore if I disturb him.  All day long he ignores me.  That’s O.K.  I ignore him just to pacify him but it gets on your nerves.  You could be out here all alone for all the companionship he gives.  He is not a scout (a Boy Scout).  His principles differ greatly from the scout principles.  He is a good camper, alright but he is not at all helpful or brotherly as two scouts would be.  Even thought there are only two of us we each eat alone, have our own fire and our own wood pile.  Since he was here before I got here he has priority on all the lumber for the firewood.  I use brush wood, etc.  He is very difficult to talk to.

I am not complaining.  I could stand it for a year at the salary I’m getting.  In fact I guess I could take almost anything for 110 dollars a week.  The fire was extremely hard to start today because everything was wet.  It is going to be something if we have to be here for another week or two and it continues to rain every day without giving any of the wood a chance to dry out.

Larrimer went to the lights at 6:30.  He received a message at once from Gavilan.  They said “DG.  Horses on way in.”  Larrimer replied  “Good, for you and me.” meaning were the horses for them or us.  Gavilan replied “Adios.”  Larrimer sent “Is Mani –“  “Yes” Gavilan sent in.  So the horses are coming tomorrow. 

8 May 1949 – Sunday – Mothers’ Day

It was bright and sunny most of the morning.  In fact it didn’t rain very much during the day at all.  In the evening we were attacked by a swarm of immense flying ants.  We killed 16 of them and the rest finally went off.  If they had all landed at one time we would have been sunk.  As it was they came in one at a time giving us ample chance to knock him off before the next came in.  Since we had received no definite DG or word that Manicuda was finished we kept a light trained there again tonight.

9 May 1949 – Monday

At 9:30 a.m. Adolfo and eight horses had come to take us back to Tole.  We had a bite to eat before leaving the former campsite then mounted and rode on without stopping for lunch.  Our fears of the river having risen were unfounded since the water was hardly higher than when we had crossed going in.

We paused to have the load of one of the animals adjusted.  Larrimer said (I had just dropped my coup stick and he had picked it up) “One of us had better go ahead of the horses.”  So I took off and crossed the river.  I waited there for the rest.  I heard Larrimer call once and started back.  I shouted to him but received no reply.  Just as I was going to go back the young fellow came with Aldolfo and two horses.  The kid motioned for me to go on.  So I went.  I stayed in front of the kid and the old man.  We crossed the burnt off area together and continued on together from there.  They stopped at a pole fence to adjust a load and I kept on going slowly.  When I had gone on for a ways I stopped to wait for Aldolfo.  I hadn’t seen Robert or the older boy all this time.  Finally I saw Aldolfo coming over the hill.  At that time an Indian came along on a horse and said “Vaminos.”  I indicated that I was waiting for Aldolfo.  He indicated that Aldolfo was staying at his house up the trail a ways so I went on with him. 

I was waiting at the Panamanian’s house when Larrimer came up and said, “As a trail man you make a good soda jerk!”  “Why” I asked?  He told me that I had let the two white horses get away and he had spent an hour chasing them.  I couldn’t figure out where he thought I had let them get away.  “Down by the first stream” he said.  I tried to tell him that I stayed in front of the horses as he had told me to but he said “Aw, forget it.”  Why should I though, he won’t.

In Spanish he told Aldofo that he was going up the trail a ways to camp and started off without a word to me.  As he was going off I asked him if he was going to camp up the road a ways.  “Yeah” he replied and kept right on going.  He didn’t ask me to come along and his actions indicated that he didn’t want me along so the hell with him.  A person would be better off alone than with that guy.  He certainly is no companion (at times).

10 May 1949 – Tuesday

With out too much “to do” we got on the trail this morning.  Larrimer said very little to me in the morning.  We got to Tole at 11:45 a.m. and had several beers at the canteen.  He loaned me $10.00.  When he said “let’s forget it” last night maybe he meant it!  The Mayor had been taken by the police eight days ago to jail in Panama City on suspicion of instigating some sort of revolt lately.  We had dinner at the home of the mayor.  His wife told us of a natural waterfall about a half a mile down the path so after dinner we took off with soap and clean clothes in hand and went to the fall.  In Spanish it is called “El Salto” (the jump).  A young fellow showed us the way there and remained till we finished bathing and came back with us.  The waterfall was perfect for bathing.  It was a nice shower.  We stripped and went under, soaking and scrubbing off the dirt and grime of three weeks.  The mother of the young fellow is doing our laundry for us.  Back for more beers and talk with the local folk.  We found out such things as the rich Indian in the hills has 18 wives.  Others have five, six or ten or more, depending on their wealth.  A Panamanian went into the hills and sold a machine to an Indian for 500 dollars.  The machine, when buried with money would double it in three months so the Indian buried another $500 with the machine and when he dug it up the money was gone!  Que lastima!.  We made arrangements to eat at the home of the mayor while waiting for the truck to come for us.

11 May 1949 – Wednesday

Breakfast and a Spanish lesson at the mayor’s house this morning.    Had dinner.  Paid for meals ($2 for four meals.)  Truck came so left at 1:45 p.m. for Santiago.  Received mail.  Slept in the light keeper’s house.

12 May 1949 – Thursday

Breakfast $1.00.  Cashed first check for $43.00.  Made arrangements to leave tomorrow for Manicuda.

13 May 1949 - Friday

Left for Manicuda in weapons carrier at 0830.  Arrived at designated town, made arrangements to get to Manicuda before night.  Left with packs on back.  Met Bender coming down.  Took one of his horses and loaded packs on it.  Went to hut on ridge near the top of the mountain.  Had native back pack equipment to the top of the mountain.  Trail was cut through the jungle with machete.  Near top of the mountain met Bob Simms.  Set up hammock and was shown how to record.  Had supper, recorded three angles, 16 positions on each, between  0200 and 0500.  Got snatches of sleep during the night.  Pumped the generator for 0700 radio call.

14 May 1949 – Saturday

Had breakfast.  Checked record book for errors.  Split watch during the night for it to clear up.  We were clouded in all night.

15 May 1949 – Sunday

Gave up trying to train the light keeper.  He will be fired when we go in.  He came up with me for training.  Practiced meaning and subtracting figures for recording process. 

16 May 1949 – Monday

Radio call is now at 0830 and 1600.  For two days now we have been clouded in so we haven’t seen any land below or around us.  I have the last watch tonight.  First is by the light keeper, a Panamanian by the name of Max.  He was on till 2400.  Bob Simms was then on till 0300 and now I’m sitting here writing and keeping check till 0600.  We are waiting for it to clear up so we can get a light to S-10 so Larrimer can sight his light on us.

17 May 1949 – Tuesday

Land sighted!  It is still raining but there are a few breaks in the clouds so we can see the land below us.  Rice and beef for supper, pineapple for desert.  ‘Twas good.

We got an angle between Gavilan and S-10 tonight.  In fact we got two of them.  I made very few mistakes this time and kept up with the recording fairly well.  I saw a rainbow around the moon.  It was beautiful.  There was a thin layer of clouds high in the sky and the moon was just past full.  Both Bob Simms, the observer, and I were up till 0115.  I then took the first watch until 0330 and he took it from then till six a.m.  We were waiting for a light from Canasas.  Bob chased a snake off the lights during his watch.  He hit it with his machete but it got away.

18 May 1949 – Wednesday

We let the Panamanian go down this morning.  He is going to be picked up by truck tomorrow and paid off.  The fellow couldn’t sign his name on the receipt for the pack board we were loaning him to carry his gear down the mountain.

Tomorrow we will make ready to get off of here and on Friday morning we will take off.  I have an air mattress waiting for me at Santiago.  I believe that I will be sent to S-6 next with Robert Simms as a recorder.

19 May 1949 – Thursday

Got things squared away to leave tomorrow.  I have only food for the remaining meals and sleeping gear besides the necessary instruments for working.

20 May 1949 - Friday

Came off of Manicuda in a terrific downpour.  Most of our equipment had been sent down the day before but even so Robert and I had to backpack our equipment.  We put al the equipment on the four horses that we possibly could pile on and still we had to back pack the second part of the trip down also.  We arrive at the little town of Jarones at 12:30.   It had taken us 4-1/2 hours to get to Jarones.  There we had to wait for an hour for Larrimer to pick us up with the weapons carrier.  We got soaked again as we rode in the truck to Santiago.  We arrived in Santiago at 17:30 because of a breakdown.  We checked in, asked for mail and went to the house to get cleaned up.  We went to a movie in the evening.  Slept in the light keepers house with Bob the observer, Larimer the instructor for light keepers and Ken Rinehart the chief of the “O” (Observation) party.  There are about 16 men in “O” party #2.

21 May 1949 – Saturday

We got things squared away.  We were told (Bob and I) that we were to go to station S-6 on Monday.  The gang went out “sparking” tonight.  I stayed in the house and wrote letters.  It was cheaper.

22 May 1949 – Sunday

Warford and Sunny came in from Canazas today.  All of us went to the college to a piano recital.  Afterward we went to the hotel and had a party.

23 May 1949 – Monday

Left Santiago at 0900 for Station S-6.  We got to S-6 by 1430 and were all set to work by evening.  It cost 20 dollars to get all the equipment to the top of the hill and a place cleared to put up a tent.  We killed several scorpions before night fell.  We took two runs on the angle between S-8 and S-10.  Then they started clouding out one at a time and only one was showing the rest of the night.

24 May 1949 - Tuesday

Larrimer came to the station in the morning to obtain extra light and get the angles from Bob to take to Santiago.  We could not get the radio to work.  We changed the aerial to another position and raised it higher.  Still no go.  At night we took 2 runs on three lights and 2 runs on 2 lights giving us 6 angles to turn in tomorrow.

25 May 1949 – Wednesday

Radio did not work again.  Bob took list of angles and went to La Mesa to go to Santiago.  He sent me a letter by a native telling me to be prepared to come off S-6 tomorrow.  He was going to go to Bijao to observe.

26 May 1949 - Thursday

Got up at 0545 to start packing.  It is now 0930 and the packers still are not here.  17 packers came to get me off the station at 1030.  We went to Santiago.

27 May 1949 – Friday

Got ready to leave Santiago.  First load of equipment was sent to Pennonome, Republic of Panama where we were to set up our base of operations. 

28 May 1949 – Saturday

Moved to Pennonome.

29 May 1949 – Sunday

Went to the movies.  Saw the film “The Queen of Virgins.”

30 May 1949 – Monday

Got ready to go to Cuchilla.

31 May 1949 – Tuesday

Left for Cuchilla.  Spent the night in Calobre.

1 June 1949 - Wednesday

Arrived at Station Cuchilla at 1200.

2 June 1949 – Thursday

Took angles.

3 June 1949 – Friday

Took angles.

4 June 1949 – Saturday

Made arrangements to leave Cuchilla.

5 June 1949 – Sunday

Left Station Cuchilla at 0900 for Calobre. 

6 June 1949 – Monday

Arrived at Penonome at 1300.

8 June 1949

Left Penonome at 1100 for Station Viga.  Arrived at Viga at 1100 same day.

13 June 1949

Left Station Viga for Aguadulce.  Arrived at Aguadulce at 1300 same day.

18 June 1949

Lv. Aguadulce for Penonome at 1400, Ar. at 1600 same day.

21 June 1949

Lv. Penonome, Panama for Balboa, Canal Zone at 1200.  Arrive in Balboa at 1600 the same day.

7 July 1949

Lv. Balboa for Penonome at 1300, Ar. Penonome at 1700.

13 July 1949

Lv. Penonome at 1045 and arrive in Balboa, Canal Zone at 1330.

14 July 1949

Lv. Balboa for Penonome at 1330, arrive at Penonome at 1600.

16 July 1949

Lv. Penonome at 0900 for David, Panama by military air.  Arrived in David at 1030 same day.  Returned to Penonome by military air the same day at 1400 arriving in Penonome at 1530.

8 August 1949

Lv. Penonome at 1430 for Station Harvey.  Arrived at 1530.

9 August 1949

Lv. Station Harvey at 1430 and arrived in Penonome at 1530.

11 August 1949

Lv. Penonome for  Balboa, CZ at 1200, arriving at 1430.

12 August 1949

Lv. Balboa for Penonome at 1200, arriving at 1430.

18 August 1949

Lv. Penonome at 1400 for Station Cruz arriving at1500.

19 August 1949

Lv. Station Cruz at 0900 for Penonome, arriving at 1000.   Pvt. Guillermo Proskauer, office assistant for Major Cox went to the hospital to have his appendix removed leaving no office help for the Major.  Cox asked who in the operation could type and he was told that I often typed my letters home when in town.  Consequently he had me come in and help with office duties.  For a while that ended my field adventures as I was now an office clerk.

2 September 1949

Lv. Penonome at 1400 for Balboa, arriving at 1630.

7 September 1949 – 19 September 1949. 

My mother, Anne E. Drake, flew to Panama on a plane ticket I sent to her.  We spent time in the Canal Zone and then went to San Jose, Costa Rica for a week.

21 September 1949

Lv. Balboa, CZ at 1400 for Penonome, arriving at 1630.  Back in Penonome to serve as office help.

26 September 1949

Lv. Penonome for Balboa, CZ at 1000, arriving at 1245.

29 September 1949

I sent a letter to the CO, Panama Project, IAGS requesting assignment to the field and not to continue as supply clerk for the project.

21 October 1949

Lv. Balboa for Penonome at 1400, arriving at 1700.

23 October 1949

Lv. Penonome at 1400 for CZ arriving at 1700.  I was put in charge of handling supplies for all of the field parties in the nation of Panama.  I literally had a warehouse full of supplies, ranging from pistols to tents to J-boats, back packs, etc, etc, etc.  On one hand I felt proud that I was given such responsibility at age 19 but really wanted to be out in the field.  That was not my idea of a jungle adventure so one night, late in November, at the Officer’s Club bar when the C.O. for the IAGS project saw me and asked how things were going I ‘dumped’ on him and told him that I was buying a ticket to Australia on the Kon Tiki and would continue my adventures elsewhere, that I did not want to remain in the warehouse any longer.

“Where do you want to go?” he asked.  “Pick a country.”  I thought for a few moments and responded “Guatemala.”  “I’ll see what I can do” he responded and departed.  Within a week I was assigned to the field again, but still in Panama.

1 December 1949

Lv. Balboa at 1000 for Cristobal, CZ arriving at 1200.

2 December 1949

Lv. Cristobal, CZ at 0800 by LCM for Donoso, arriving at 1200.

2 December 1949

Lv. Donoso on foot for Station Cope at 1300 arriving at Cope at 1630.

7 December 1949

Lv. Station Cope on foot for Donoso at 1200 arriving at 1500.

9 December 1949

Lv. Donoso at 1400 by cayuca for Guassimo, arriving at 1830.

10 December 1949

Lv. Guassimo on foot at 0730 for Station Cerro Miguel, arriving at 1830.

22 December 1949

Lv. Staton Cerro Miguel on foot at 0800 for Silencio, arriving at 1600.

23 December 1949

Lv. Silencio at 0330 by cayuca and foot for Salud, Rep. of Panama, arriving at Salud at 1230.  Left Salud by military vehicle for Balboa, CZ at 1230, arriving in Balboa at 1430.

Thursday, 5 January 1950

Reported to office at Corozal at 0800.  Went with Richardson to Balboa to purchase a few last minute supplies.  Had lunch in Corozal.  Went to LCM (Landing Craft Medium) at 1245.  Complete “O” party was on boat ready to leave at 1310.

We had to wait for Beosajour while he went to pick up his orders.  Trouble came up in the IAGS office and Willie didn’t get his orders nor was he allowed to sail without them.

Bill Prosquer came to the LCM in the station wagon and told us that we were not going to leave until Friday at 0700.  We all arranged to go to the Central Theater in Panama City and see Battleground.  After the show we went to various nightclubs and bars.  The party broke up at 0130.

Friday, 6 January 1950

I slept on the LCM.  Had breakfast in Balboa Clubhouse.  Everybody was on the LCM at 0745.  Lt. Groves was at dock 20 when we pulled out for Fort Amador at 0745.  We took on fuel at Fort Amador and headed for Taboga Island.  The ocean was too rough to land so Domingo had to be taken ashore in a cayuca.  We then headed for Pacheka.  Jones caught several fish on a plug.  We put up for the night at Saboga.

Saturday, 7 January 1950

Set Embry, Hall and Shacklet on Pachuka. Headed for Rey Island and let off Rey Everett.  Headed for Maja.  Put up for the night in a small harbor (Cheman).

Sunday, 8 January 1950

Put Leisey and Jones on Maja.  Started back through the channel between the two islands but the tide dropped too rapidly on us and left us high and dry.  We sat around until 1600 when we finally had enough water to move again.  We arrived at Plata at 1800 and bedded down for the night.  The insects damn near drove us crazy!

Monday, 9 January 1950

At 0630 we unloaded all our gear from the LCM onto the shore.  The LCM took off at 0730.  Richardson and I toted gear up to shelter nearby.  After breakfast we each took packs and started around the island to the tower.  I had the T-3 and tripod (about 50 lb.) while Richardson had a pack that must have weighed 65 lb. We followed the coast for 45 minutes until we came to a stream draining off the swamps in the center of the island.  The mud was over 4 ft. deep so we couldn’t pass.  We heard a motor launch heading for an island near our campsite so we left the equipment and ran back to the campsite.  With a mirror we signaled to the boat till he came our direction.  I spoke with the fellow in charge and he agreed to return at 1600 when the tide was in and transport us and all our gear to the tower.

Richardson and I went back to where we had left the gear and brought it back.  The boat never showed up again.  We set up the 694 (radio) but made no contact.  No contacts with the SCR-300 either.  Bugs were wicked.  We had to sleep with head net on and in the sleeping bag closed tight around the neck.  We had our choice to be eaten to death or sweated to death.  We’d rather sweat.  Picked up the news on the BBC.

Tuesday, 10 January 1950

Contacted Riggs with the SCR-300.  Talked to Embry on Pecheka by 694 and told him our difficulties.  He’ll try to get in touch with LCM.  Heard LCM call us at 1000 but he never heard our reply and didn’t come in again. At 1100 G. Richardson and I left with only a canteen and some lunch to see if we could reach the tower.  There was no trail; we just took the path of least resistance.  Sometimes this took us across the mud flats, at times through the swamp, climbing over the arching roots.  Once in awhile we could follow a ridge of seashells.  We finally reached the tower at 1315.  We had crackers and Vienna sausage and water for lunch.  I checked the tower.  Steps were missing.  The platform was laid down in a lousy manner.  It was worse than trying to walk on just the metal framework.  The tower was a 110-ft. tall Bilby tower, a real one made of metal, not like the home-made wooden one we used up near David.

We started back to our camp at 1330 and arrived in camp at 1530.  Made radio contact with Riggs.  Slept on the cot and on the beach hoping the breeze would blow away some of the bugs.  Slept terribly.

Wednesday, 11 January 1950

Made no contact with the 694.  Talked with Riggs by SCR-300.  Did nothing all day.  Waited for boat to come.  At 1700 the same motor launch came that stopped once before.  On board were six men.  They carted our stuff to their boat and we took off.  First they picked up a few cayucas that they had anchored in a small cove.  They picked up a keg of water and then made for the tower (tore).

One fellow was cooking in a cut-down drum.  He was frying some shrimp about 7” long.  He insisted that I eat one and tossed me one right out of the frying pan.  Ouch!  I bounced it in the air a few times until I could handle it.  It was very good!  We arrived opposite the tower but about half a mile off shore. The water was only 2 ft. deep here and was just as shallow the rest of the way to the shore by the tower.  The equipment was transferred to one of the cayucas in the dark and four paddlers took us to shore.  We carried the equipment to the base of the tower in several trips and after one more trip to the boat by the cayuca we were all set to start to work. 

While George Richardson made some soup and coffee I fixed the floorboards somewhat and set up the rope and pulley by which to haul up the rest of the gear.  After eating we worked steadily until 0300 getting the tower collimated and lights set up.  We saw lights from Maje, Rey, Taboga and Chipillo during the course of the evening but by 0300 all but Maje were out.  The sealed beam lamps are bastards to set up.  They don’t fit firm against each other.  The screw through the top of one does not fit into the bottom of the other.  Therefore it is necessary to turn the next one upside down.  To screw the third one on it is necessary to use the large bolt, which cannot be screwed in unless the globe is out.  Complications!

We finally gave a light to Maje and I stayed up top to keep light while George Richardson went below.  He sent up my air mattress and blanket and we both went to sleep.  [Note:  when sleeping on top of the tower we roped ourselves in so we would not roll off the tower in our sleep.]

Thursday, 12 January 1950

Woke up at 0800 with the sun beating down upon me.  Got up and turned off the lights and came down the tower.  That was the best bit of sleep I’d had in three nights.  Set up the 694 radio but picked up no one except AEPP trying to call Fungus Baker.  Heard no reply.  Set up the 5-man tent and moved the gear into it.  Heard the LCM on the other side of the island.  Saw it later when it pulled away.  At noon a native arrived from the other side of the island where the LCM had dropped him off with his cayuca.  He was to help us move to this side of the island but we had already moved.  He says that he will be here for a few weeks or at least as long as we are here.  He is to help us in whatever tasks we might have for him.

About 1600 we went up to the top of the tower to complete preparations for observing in the evening.  We came down at 1745 and had a fast supper and returned to the top.  While George Richardson set up the instrument I called the other stations [by light].  Soon we had a light from Maje (which was on since dusk), Rey, Pecheca, Taboga and Chepillo.

We tried one set using all five lights but we were having so many interruptions that we finally gave it up after the third position and turned only two lights, Maje and Rey.  Our light to Pecheca was he middle one of the three.  It blew out. For rapidity I just aimed the top light to them.  The time is noted in the horizontal angle book. 

The Taboga light acted quite queerly.  It would wave from side to side.  We did not use it any more.  We will wait until an “O” party gets there and gives us a good light.

Friday, 13 January 1950

Finally got to bed at 0450.  Woke up at 0900 and called down to George so he could catch the radio call.  Talked good with Doxey on Pecheca.  Said we would give him our angles at 1200.  At 1200 we did not have angles ready.  Told Doxey we’d give ‘em to him at 1900 by SCR-300.  We are now finding out our mistakes in recording.  It is hell trying to record for an instrument that is 20 seconds out of colimation.  Garcia went up with me in the morning.  We put up the roof of the “O” tent.  I showed him how to replace bulbs so he could do it tonight if any of them blew out on us.  Lunch at 1215.  Worked on angles all afternoon.  Finished at 1730, supper and then to work.  We collimated the instrument.  Sent radio message to Doxy and Brandon on Pacheca, which was dropped, to us by Captain Sneed in an L-5 about 1530.  “Mark is to be in the Zone with LCM on Sat 21 January.”  Sent angles to Mark for computing.

I took the first run from Maje to Rey to Pacheca.  George then took a run Pacheca to Chepillo and Maje, Rey Pacheca.  We finished at 0530.

Saturday, 14 January 1950

Got up at 0900 to see if Pacheca was on 694.  Did not find anyone on the air.  Went back to sleep.  Came down tower at 1100.  Started working on abstracts.  Lunch, more abstracts.  Supper.  Went up tower.  Turned on light to Pacheca.  Called Maje, Rey, Taboa and Chapillo by light.  Received no replies from anyone but Maje.  Rey and Chapillo did give us a light.  They do not return “Z’s”.  Talked to Pacheca by SCR-300.  Gave him the angles of last night.  Adjusted level bubble on instrument.  Called Taboga.  No reply.  Used a 6v. lamp to call Taboga, Rey and Maje.  No reply.  Took a set of zenith distances on all stations except Taboga.  Ran part of set Maje, Rey, Pacheca.  Maje light went out and didn’t come on again.  Rey dimmed almost completely out.  Run not completed.  Went to sleep at 0145.

Sunday, 15 January 1950

Radio call at 0900 by 694 with Pacheca.  No traffic.  Read 5 x 5.  Breakfast.  Garcia arrived with water tanks.  Lunch.  Recollimated the tower.  Collimation was perfect, no change necessary.  Called Maje by light.  No reply.  Maje light dim, too dim to work.  Haze thick at times.  Called Rey for a brighter light.  No reply.  Called Taboga.  No answer.  Used a 6v. lamp.  No reply.  Assumed no light keeper on Maje and none on Rye off station so gave Patella a THD.  Kept on calling Rye and Maj. till 0130.  No reply.  Saw Pacheca calling.  Noticed my light to him was out.  Replaced it.  Pacheca calling again.  Went up top.  Called Pacheca.  Received a “Z”.  Returned it and went below.  Pacheca calling again.  Went up top.  Asked by light “What do you want?  Try radio.”  Went below.  Called Pacheca on radio.  Started to give ‘em hell for incessant calling.  They claimed innocence.  They called by light while I was on the radio.  They denied it and turned on their light to prove it.  Found out that it was someone in base camp fooling around.  Wise guys!  Went to sleep.

Monday, 16 January 1950

No radio contact at 0900.  Contacted Maje by 300 at 1900.  Turned two sets in back quad and one angle in front.  LCM is to stop tomorrow with water for us.

Tuesday, 17 January 1950

LCM arrived at 0830 to far side of island.  By the time it came around opposite the tower and the water and lamps put in the cayuca it was 1130.  Sent signal to Pacheca at 1900 by radio.  Asked Pacheca to leave a light keeper on duty if they finish before us.  Negative reply.  They have no light keeper.

Wednesday, 18 January 1950

No radio contact with AEPP.  Slept in the afternoon.  Sent angles to Pacheca by 300 at 1900.  Ran a set in back quad.  Signed off for the night.

Thursday, 19 January 1950

No 694 contact. Played checkers with Riggs on Maje.  Got Taboga on SCR-300 at 1900.  Set up two 6-8v. lamps one above the other and with one case of batteries for each.  Tried to call Taboga by light.  They saw us once in awhile but very faintly.  We never saw them.  Since they have only 3.7v. bulbs we’ll wait till they get brighter bulbs.  Pacheca called while George and I were up on top of light stand working on batteries.  I gave them a “Z” several times and then an “A” to wait awhile.  They had kept up their blinking even after I gave the “Z” and the “A”, never returned the “Z”.  By the time we got to the radio they were off the air.  Riggs had told them we wanted a light tonight.  They need a light keeper on that station.  Gave Rey and Chepillo a “THD” – got no reply so I let them keep their lights on.

Friday, 20 January 1950

Radio contact with ARPP.  Told to be on SCR-300 at 1100 today.  Asked them to send 12 v. lights to us for Taboga-Plata line.  I believe they received OK.  Tried to call Taboga.  No contact. 

Contacted the LCM at 1900 by SCR-300.  Transmitted complete list of angles.  Was informed that I am to go to Honduras soon by way of Guatemala City.  Suggested Doxey pick up a light keeper for Pacheca.  Rey light never came on.  Turned one angle, Maje to Pacheca.

Saturday, 21 January 1950

Looked for Taboga in daylight, couldn’t find it.  Garcia needs food.  Contacted Pacheca by SCR-300.  Told that L-5 had dropped mail when it came over last Friday.  The mail is lost now.  No light from Rey again.  Turned 2 sets of angles in back quad.  LCM to come to Plata as soon as possible.

Sunday, 22 January 1950

Garcia looked for letters at high tide in cayuca.  After breakfast George and I tried to go on foot to look.  It was impossible to go far.  Mud came up to your knees.  We gave up the search.  Garcia is sick.  Contacted Pacheca by SCR-300.  Back quad is closed.  LCM to be at Plata on Thursday  to pick me up and let off my replacement.  Garcia went to Chemung and a native from Maje is to arrive at Plata tomorrow night.  Gave Taboga a light (8v.- 40 batteries).  Got a light from Taboga but too dim for use.  Ran one angle from Pacheca to Chapillo. I had a terrific headache so we closed shop for the night.

Monday, 23 January 1950

Contacted zone by 694.  Talked to Chepillo by 694.  No traffic.  Hunted fossils in the morning.  Contacted Pacheca y SCR-300 at 1900.  Turned two sets of Pacheca-Chepillo.  Taboga light not on.  Wasted one hour in middle of run while Chepillo tried to get Pacheca through us.

Tuesday, 24 January 1950

Contacted AEPP.  Was told LCM had left without bulbs for Taboga.  Contacted Fungus Baker.  He was well on way to Pacheca by 0830.  Tried rewireing  batteries.  Set up two SCR-300 batteries in series for 8v. lamp.  It might work.  Light to Chepillo is same one used for Pacheca (lowest one on the stand).  The second light is the only one used for Taboga.  Tower measured at 1200.  Native from Maje not here yet.  Contacted Pacheca at 1100 by SCR-300.  Transmitted angles to him.  Reception poor.  Chepillo cut in.  Could not get Pacheca again.  Native from Maje arrived off shore.  He sat out there in his boat until the tide came up.  Turned no angles.  Searched five hours for light from Taboga.  Saw it once in awhile but always too dim to work.

Wednesday, 25 January 1950

Gaspar, George and I went to sea in Gaspar’s cayuca to meet the LCM.  At 1000 we returned for fear of being held out till nightfall by the tide.  At 1400 the LCM showed up on the horizon so I climbed the tower to use the SCR-300 for contact.  I gabbed quite awhile with Riggs.  Another native with a cayuca which the LCM was towing put the supplies for us in his cayuca and started for shore.  He finally was able to get in at 1800.  He brought 6 cans of beer for us.  Turned one angle Pacheca-Chepillo.  Searched for Taboga for hours.  No luck.  To bed.

Thursday, 26 January 1950

Had a good night’s sleep.  Got up at 0700.  Sent blanket roll down the tower.  Came down tower for the last time (?) and had breakfast.  Gaspar went with Bonifacio to see where the water hole is.  Richardson and I went out to sea in the large cayuca and by using the sail we slowly progressed about two miles out where we waited till 1330 when the LCM came and picked me up.  It left Shaklet in my place.  We went on to Pacheca.  I looked at the station and tower. Slept on the beach.  Was afraid the high tide would carry me off.

Friday, 27 January 1950

Shaved.  Had a cup of coffee.  LCM arrived from Saboga at 0730.  We got on board and headed for the Canal Zone.  Picked up fuel at Amador.  I hitched a ride to Corozal.  Got bulbs ready for Taboga.  Picked up foot locker from LCM and took it to the Officer’s Club at Quarry Heights where I had a room.

Had a steak dinner with Guillermo Proskauer.  Met the steward of the plane Mom and I came back to Panama in from Costa Rica.

Saturday, 28 January 1950

Brunch at 1130. Wrote letters.  Movie.

Sunday, 29 January 1950

Wrote letters.  Buffet supper.

Monday, 30 January 1950

Cleared with Panama Project.  Reported to Captain Phillips.  Was told of assignment to Guanhallas Project (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador Project).  Was given a short assignment to gravinometric party.  Checked out the equipment for them.  Picked up bench mark descriptions of all benchmarks situated between the Zone and Chitre.  Took laundry to the commissary, films to the YMCA, had supper at the Ancon clubhouse.  Went to see Dean Ferris in Ancon.  Talked for 2-1/2 hours.  Went to officer’s club to write this and then went to bed.

Tuesday, 31 January 1950

Went with Dr. Crary and Bob ______ to Penonome.  We took gravity readings along the highway from Arrijan to Penonome.  On several of the stations we took two and three readings.  We spent the night in Therell’s house in Penonome.

Wednesday, 1 February 1950

Left Penonome in ¾ ton truck (weapons carrier) and worked our way back to the Zone.  We arrived in the Canal Zone after 4 p.m. so we left the equipment for IAGS in the main office and went about personal business.  Went square dancing in the evening.

Thursday, 2 February 1950

Handed in report to Major Richards on the gravity work.  He asked if I’d be able to get ready to leave for Guatemala City tomorrow.  I, of course, said “Yes”. I hired a taxi for the day for $10 and really started chasing around.  I got everything settled and am ready for the station wagon tomorrow.

Friday, 3 February 1950

At 0700 Miller came by with the station wagon to pick me up.  He already had Mrs. Gager in the car with her three children.  We went to the airport at Tucoman in Panama.  We got the plane to Guatemala OK and arrived in Guatemala City at 1315 with no incidents.

Sgt. Kezella said when I met him at the airport that I was to have gotten off in El Salvador.  I am to leave for there Monday morning. 

Saturday, 4 February 1950

I was picked up at Betty Shaw’s boarding house by Bob Chaney and was taken out to the IAGS office at the air base.  It was decided by Mr. McIlwaine to keep me in Guatemala to take Edward’s place and help Roche in Retahulehu in stead of going to El Salvador.  In the afternoon I met Riki and several scouters I’d met the year before here in the city.  I made arrangements to go to Antigua tomorrow with Riki.

Sunday, 5 February 1950

Got up late, ran to place where I was to meet Riki and he wasn’t there.  I did little of anything all day.

Monday, 6 February 1950

Packed up and left Betty Shaw’s for good.  I went to the office and then had to rush to catch a plane which was late (it always is).  It was a 1-1/2 trip to Retalhuleu by Aviateca.  I read “The Egyptian” while on the way.  Mr. Kerwin B. Roche met me at the airport in a jeep.  We went to the Hotel Astor and arranged for a room there.  I was introduced to Meade who was checking some computations at the time.  In the afternoon I helped test several 694 radios.

Tuesday, 7 February 1950

Mead and I picked up a 694 left at Las Pilas.  We got stuck on the way in and waited for Roche to come to see what was taking us so long.  He came along after awhile and we went on into Retalhuleu.

Wednesday, 8 February 1950

Roche left me at Hacienda La Chorrera while Meade went to Las Pilas.  Roche meanwhile sent up a balloon on Tortuga to see if a tower would be OK there.  I could not see the balloon at Tortuga.

Thursday, 9 February 1950

Could not see balloon today either.  I slept in the main house on Hacienda La Chorrera.

Friday, 10 February 1950

Today I saw the balloon at Cabillo Blanco.  The radio went dead.  No further radio contact.

Saturday, 11 February 1950

Was picked up by Meade and Samayoa.  I had seen the balloon in the morning.  We went to Retalhuleu.

Sunday, 12 February 1950

Meade and I went to La Memoria and turned reference marks.

Monday, 13 February 1950

Today we started constructing the tower at Tortuga.  We began digging the holes for the legs.  It was slow digging.

Tuesday, 14 February 1950

Up at 0500 and got an early start on the tower.

Wednesday, 15 February 1950

Worked on the tower again.

Thursday, 16 February 1950

Completed the tower.  Returned to Retalhuleu early to get the equipment ready for observing.

Friday, 17 February 1950

Put in main monument at Tortuga.  Left Roque at Tortuga to keep light.  Proceeded to La Chorrera with Rivas and Benigno, Rivas to record and Benigno to keep light.  Found main monument intact.  It was reported destroyed.  Collinated the tower.  It was about 8” off from center.  Took 4 pos. on it to make sure.  Ran set Santa Clara to Chaparro.  Ran set Chaparro to Paraiso and Chaparro to Tortuga.  Santa Clara light too dim to work on it efficiently.

Saturday, 18 February 1950

Radio call at 1000.  No contact.  Showed Rivas how to speed up recording.  Checked tower collination.  OK. Roche at Hanover called by light.  Turned DZD.  Paraiso to nail in tree for RMs (reference marks).  Measured RMs.

Sunday, 19 February 1950

Contacted Meade at Paraiso at 1020 by 694. Angles checked OK. No contact with Roche.  Contacted Roche at 1630.  He was in San Juan Horizonte.  Was told to go to Tortuga tonight to observe.  Packed up and ready to leave at 1800.  Observed Tortuga.  Returned to Retalhuleu at 0600.

Monday, 20 February 1950

Worked on abstracts and books with Rivas.  Went back to Tortuga.  Tied in RMs.

Tuesday, 21 February 1950

Went to Las Pilas with Roche and Rivas.

Wednesday, 22 February 1950

Went again to Las Pilas with Rivas.  Roche came out later.

Thursday, 23 February 1950

Went to Chorrera with Rivas and then to Tortuga.

Friday, 24 February 1950

Started for Salvador but decided not to go.

Saturday, 25 February 1950

Worked on DZD computations.

Sunday, 26 February 1950

Left Retalhuleu at noon for Station Ayutla, arriving at 1830.

Monday, 27 February 1950

Returned to Retalhuleu.

Tuesday, 28 February 1950

Started for Salvador but got stuck, came back by foot.  Went out again.

Wednesday, 1 March 1950

Loaded vehicles and took off in ambulance and weapons carrier to Guatemala City.  Stopped in Esquintla for supper and arrived in Guatemala City about 10 p.m.  Stopped at Gager’s house and had a drink.  Went to Meade’s place and spent the night.

Thursday, 2 March 1950

Went to the office.  Completed books and abstracts, filled out per diem form. Moved to Calle 15 #2 where Warford, Tankersley, Chaney and McIlwane are staying.  Cost $2.50 per day with all meals.

Friday, 3 March 1950

Worked on DZD books.  Checked all DZD abstracts.

Saturday, 4 March 1950

Took the morning off and went shopping.  Bought a jacket, Guatemalan style.

Sunday, 5 March 1950

Wrote letters.  Went to see a Russian with MacIlwane.  We couldn’t find his place.  Ended up in El Gallito (a house of ill repute with a good bar and band).  Had Tequilas.  Sgt. Kazella met us there.

Monday, 6 March 1950

Half-days of work all this week.  That’s so we can go to the Olympics which are now in progress in the city.

Tuesday/Wednesday 7,8 March 1950

Went to the Olympics.

Thursday, 9 March 1950

Went to Station Campanero. Turned reference marks on that station.

Friday, 10 March 1950

Put Poncho on Campanero and went to Anacocho.  It was clouded in.  Went to Aurora.  It started to rain.  Went home.

Saturday, 11 March 1950

Picked up paper for album which I had cut for me in town.  Cut all my badges off the cloth and mounted many of them on the paper.

Sunday, 12 March 1950

Went with Meade to fair to purchase textiles.  Went together to the home of friends of his.  Spent the afternoon there.  Got home in time for supper.  Fell asleep at 8:30 pm while reading.  Went to bed at 1 a.m.

Monday, 13 March 1950

Went with Tores to Anacoche.  Rivas took Poncho to Campanero.  I finished the RMs on both Anacoche and Aurora.

Tuesday, 14 March 1950

Finished up books and abstracts.  Got home from work at 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, 15 March 1950

Made a box to put equipment in and lock it.  Signed out for rest of the equipment necessary for the trip to the El Salvador border to complete necessary Reference Mark information.  Got all ready to go.  Put all equipment in the trailer and chained it all together.  Poncho is to be ready at 0730 tomorrow.  Rivas says he is ready to go.  Went to Roche’s house in the evening for a game of canasta.  Home to bed by 2400.

Thursday, 16 March 1950

Went to pick up Roche.  He took his own car to work.  Rivas had come to work and went home for his equipment.  Returned two hours later.  Went with group to observatory to see new seismograph.  I left when Rivas came.  We hooked up the trailer.  Poncho rode in back seat of the jeep while Rivas and I rode in front.  Finally we were on the road at 1030 a.m.  Had lunch in Mataquescuintla.  Let Poncho off in station Soledad and headed back to Cruz Alta.  Gas was low so had to purchase some from a private individual in Matesquescuintla at 50 cents per gal.  Finally got to the house of Don Antonio Solares where we had supper. We climbed to the top of the hill behind his house where the station is located.  Arrived on station at about 7:15 p.m.  The sky overhead was very clear but all around us and below us was fogged in.  Rivas and I spent the night to watchif the clouds might drop far enough for us to shoot the light on Soledad.  I brought up the sleeping bags and blankets from the house below and went to sleep.

Friday, 17 March 1950

Weather never broke during the night.  Went below for breakfast at 0830.  Rivas went on down to jeep for stamping set to mark RMs.  Only one is marked.  It is marked “Ref 1”.  We stamped the others reference marks II and III.  We used Roman numerals since we were missing the corresponding numbers in the number set. I finally was able to pick up the instrument stand on Tabacal.  I turned the reference marks from this.  We had dinner and finally left Cruz Alta at 1500.  We got 10 gallons of gas in Matesquescuintla.  We started toward Guacamayas but only went about ¾ mile and the road ended.  We were on the wrong road.  We got on the correct road and started off again.  We made a turn off the main road which Rivas said went to El Jute.  We followed it for about ten miles.  It turned out to be a logging road.  We had to turn around and go all the way back.  We got to the correct road finally and continued on to Finca El Jute, stopping only for dinner. Rivas is going to sleep in the jeep and I will sleep in the hall of the Finca house.  We’ve made arrangements to leave for the top of Guacamayas at 0730 tomorrow.  The fellow here says it is a two hour trip.

Saturday, 18 March 1950

Had breakfast of French fried eggs served in a platter of grease, coffee with sugar (and I hate sugar in my coffee) and tortillas.  At 0730 we left Finca El Jute on horseback and started for Cero Guacamayas.  We arrived at the station with no incidents worth mentioning.  We had a guide and altogether, including the horse of the guide, there were three horses.  It took us 3-1/2 hours to reach the station.  I immediately set up the instrument while Rivas looked for the reference marks.  I was able to see the monument and light stand on Jumytepeque.  I turned the angle of Jumytepeque to Ref. #2.  I recorded for myself.  We had difficulty locating RM#1.  It was found by reeling the tape out the number of meters indicated in the station description and swinging an arc with it as a radius.  It was lucky that I turned the angle to Jumytepeque when I did because soon the clouds came in and we never saw Jumytepeque again.  We finished the station at 1300 and started down the mountain (2,300 ft).  At the foot of the mountain at the finca we had to wait for the administrator in order to pay our bill.  The cost of the trip was one dollar for each horse (x 3 horses) and one dollar for the guide.  No one at the finca was able to write their name so the guide put an “X” on the receipt and Revis and I witnessed it.

We went back to Casillas and spoke with the Alcalde about the road to Jutiapa by way of Ayersa.  He said it was passable.  So off we went.  It was four o’clock when we left Casillas.  We got to Ayersa at 6:30 p.m. and spoke to the Alcalde regarding the road to Jutiapa from there.  He said that the road is impassable.  Those standing nearby backed him up in this statement.  The Alcalde gave us supper at his house.  We had hot tamales on a bannana leaf and beans, tortillas, cheese and coffee.  Rivas and I were given use of the Alcalde’s office in the municipal building in which to sleep.  Tomorrow we get up at 0530 and to 80 miles to Jutiapa.

Sunday, 19 March 1950

We had breakfast at 0630 and left Ayersa by 0700.  We passed through Nueva Sta. Rosa and every once in a while checked with people along the road to see if we were on the road to Barberana.  We asked even though there were no conspicuous forks in the road that would lead us to doubt that we were on the correct road.  After yesterday and the day before I don’t trust these roads at all.  They go where they want and often the beaten path is the one to a private finca and the main road shows little use at all.

At about 1100 Rivas said “There is station Tabacal.”  I couldn’t believe him, but it was!  Soon we came out on the Pan American Highway only about 100 yards south of Routa 18.  Since we would have to lose a day in Jutiapa getting the brakes fixed I decided to go on into Guatemala City for the day and fix the brakes there and then leave for Jutiapa early Monday morning.  The 12 miles to Guatemala City was covered rapidly.  On the way to the office we met Kohlan.  We gabbed with him for awhile and then parked the trailer in the yard of the office. I spent the afternoon finishing up the album of scout insignias.

Monday, 20 March 1950

I went to the office in the station wagon with all the others from Casa Alxit.  We picked up Rivas on the way in.  Repairs on the jeep were started immediately. I went to the Guatemalan office and collected my debts.  I had $25 there.  I also picked up $10 for Roche.  Rivas and I left again for Jutiapa at 1100.  We arrived in Jutiapa without incident at 1530.  We went to see Sr. Alexandro Ramirez about horses and a guide for the following day.  The distance to his place is 4.3 miles not 4 km as stated in the station description. 

We will try to be out to his place by 0730 tomorrow.  We came back to town and got a room in the Hotel Astor.  The room costs 75 cents a day with meals.  There are straw mattresses on the beds but you can’t expect any better in a little burg like this.

Tuesday, 21 March 1950

Up at 0600, breakfast at 0645. I was mistaken about the cost of the room and meals. It is 75 cents per day for the room and 50 cents for each meal. The meals were not too good.  We finally got on the road to the home of Sr. Ramirez at 0730 and on the trail by horseback at 0845.  The station description said the trip takes five hours.  We made it in exactly three hours.  The monument is set in concrete about 1.2m. above the ground.  This is useable as an instrument stand.  The station is called “XECON” on the description but the monument is stamped “SHECON”.  I assume this is the same station since Shecon is the English spelling of Xecon.  All the reference marks were located but reference mark #2 had been tampered with the square brass disk in the concrete had been dug out and broken off. The metal stem still remained.  The concrete base for the mark was leaning over on its side.  I straightened up the concrete and taped a center point in the metal stem protruding in the center of the concrete. I turned an angle to this point and measured the main monument.  I taped “REF. 2” in the concrete.

Scratched in the side of the main monument is “4 de Junio de 1948. A.E.” The disk in the main monument is a standard IAGS small disk with Spanish inscription.  The only thing stamped on it is “SHECON”.

Angles were turned to all RMs and the distances measured.  We had hot tea, bread and a can of sardines in tomato sauce for lunch.  Supper of fried spam, cocoa and bread.  I took the first watch till 0100 calling Poncho on Soledad every 15 or 20 minutes.  The clouds were between us all night.

Wednesday, 22 March 1950

Rivas had the watch from 0100 to dawn.  He had no luck.  The clouds stayed down low.  It is now 1000 and still we can’t see a thing because of the haze.  Alexandro came with the mules and we left.  It took us 3 hours to reach the foot of the mountain. 

We paid $1.50 per day per horse for 2 days.  That was $9.00 and $1.00 per day for the guide.  Altogether the bill was $11.00.  Rivas and I went to Jutiapa to have something to eat.  I was so disgusted with all the flies walking all over the food in the hotel that I walked out and didn’t eat. We then proceeded to Jalapa and went toward Mataquescuintla to Soledad to pick up Poncho.  It was damn cold and raining a little.  I had to loan Poncho $5.00.  We returned to Jalapa. I ate in the Jumy hotel.  It is a clean looking place.  75 cents per meal.  They were full so I couldn’t get a room. 

After dinner we got in the jeep again and headed out of the city toward Jutiapa looking for a campsite.  We finally ended up in Jutiapa.  We pulled outside the city for about a mile and slept near the jeep off the road a few hundred feet.

Thursday, 23 March 1950

Up at 0630 and into town for breakfast.  We went to the market to purchase food.  Poncho needed to buy food for his stay on Xecon.  Rivas was approached for his cedula.  Complications arose and he was taken to the Guardia Civil office.  The matter was soon cleared up and we had breakfast.  We left Poncho off at the house of Sr. Ramirez.  Rivas and I continued on to Cameron where we took the road to Calares.

We hired a guide and a horse to take us and our equipment to the station.  It was a 30 minute walk but we had our sleeping and eating gear besides the tools of the trade so it all made a good load for the horse.  I carried the T-3 theodolite (35 lbs).

The station description says the monument is stamped “La Calera”.  Actually it is stamped “Caleras.”  (CALERAS).  Reference mark #1 has been tampered with but not much. The concrete has been chipped off for about 2 inches on two sides of the RM.  The other RMs are OK.  There is an extremely strong wind blowing.  I got a light from Poncho on Shecon at 1900 and turned an angle to RM #2.

Friday, 24 March 1950

Up at 0600.  Wind still blowing strong.  It never let up all night.  I turned the angles between the RMs recorded for myself while Rivas made breakfast.  After breakfast measured distances to RMs.  Distances are horizontal distances and not slope distances. 

Started for Comapa at 0930.  Arrived at 1230.  Road very poor.  Had lunch, went to see the Alcalde about getting a horse to pack our gear to the station.  Took a box of cement and 5 gal. of water to put in reference marks.  Arrived at the station at 1600.  Found RM #1.  Station description said there were no RMs (by T. Warford).  A young fellow said there were two more but we couldn’t find them. I set in two more Reference Marks.  In case the other two are found I distinguished these by stamping “REF #III EST. 1950”.  A point was put in the center of the marker and an arrow designating direction of the main station stamped on it.

(1950) RM  #III = 4.84 m. distance from main station.

(1950) RM  #II  = 14.80 m. distance from the main station.

(1948) RM  #1   =  12.65 m. distance from the main station.

Neither RM #1 nor the main station has a date stamped on it.  There is no instrument stand.  A 5m. light tower is above the station.

Saturday, 25 March 1950.

I turned an angle from Shecon to RM #1 last night about 9:30.  That finished this station.  Now we will go to Yupi.   We had breakfast in the comedor in Comapa.  Rice bread was served.  It was very good. We left Comapa at 0815 and arrived in Caleras at 1015.  Here we picked up the trailer and went to Jutiapa.  We went out to see Sr. Alexandro Ramirez.  He is to go to Sehcon before 1700 today to tell Poncho to show his light to Yupi.  As soon as we give him a “Fin” he is to come down and we will head back to Guatemala City.  Dinner in town of Jutiapa and on to Yupi.  We got to the trail to the station at 1430.  The equipment that we did not take with us we left in the care of the people in the house near the start of the trail.  We arrived on station at 1545.    All RMs were located OK.  Angles were turned from 1 to 2 to 3.  Clouds closed in by 1700.  Soon we couldn’t see a thing.  We went below to the house and had a cup of coffee.  It started to rain about 2000.  We took shelter in the house of the owner.  We were given more coffee.

Sunday, 26 March 1950

We went up again at 0500.  It had rained all night.  It still was foggy and misting.  At 0650 we went to the jeep and continued on to Jutiapa.  Breakfast in Jutiapa and then on to Sr. Alexandro Ramirez’s to pick up Poncho at Chaperno.  We took Poncho to Caleas and returned to Yupi.  We arrived at Yupi at 1515.  The mountain was soon clouded in.  At  2330 we finally saw the light and in a few minutes we were finished.  We picked up Poncho and returned to Guatemala City.

Monday, 27 March 1950

Arrived in Guatemala City at 0630.  Got cleaned up.  Had X-ray taken of teeth.  Picked up album for scout insignias.  Cost $10.00.

Tuesday, 28 March 1950

Went to Barberena about 2 p.m.  We went prepared to set in reference marks and found them already established.  Rivas and I went to Barillas in the evening but were not able to reach the station.

Wednesday, 29 March 1950

Went to the dentist in the a.m.  Went to Barillas in the afternoon and finished early.

Thursday, 30 March 1950

Went to San Fernando.  Left at 0900 and got to the station at 1500.  Finished at 1900, started home at 2100, reached Guatemala City at 0300.  Sleeping guard at entrance to the air base.  Had to wait for him to wake up before we could get to the office.  Finally he woke up and was startled to see a jeep parked right near his post.  He quickly pointed his rifle at me and called “a donde vas?”  (Where are you going?)  “A dentro.” (inside) I responded.  “Pase Ud.” He said (Pass).  I wonder what he would have done had I just driven right past him when I got to the entrance to the air base?

Friday, 31 March 1950

Dental appointment at 1500.  It will cost 27 dollars to have crowns put on two teeth.

Saturday, 1 April 50

Worked in the office all day. Arranged with Riki to go to Antigua tomorrow.  Paid the rent for the month of March.

1 April through 18 April on duty in Guatemala City.  18 April is Census day.

Wednesday, 19 April 1950

The census is not yet over in the city but we went to the office anyway.  All the vehicles were ready before lunch so we started on our way toward Rabinal where our roads forked.  At San Miguel Chicaj Bud Roche bedded down for the night.  Rivas and I went on to Salama.  We had sent a telegram two days ago to the Alcalde of Salama asking him to have 25 men ready to work for us tomorrow morning.  We arrived in Salama at 2100.  A policeman directed us to the Alcalde’s house.  The Alcalde asked us if we had not received his reply to our telegram.  “No,” we said, “We didn’t.” 

He explained that he told us in the telegram that he could get no men until the 23rd which is a four day wait.  We called up Roche and told him of the difficulty.  We decided to go back to San Miguel and spend the night with Roche.

Thursday, 20 April 1950

The Alcalde of San Miguel was standing nearby when we awoke (we set our cots up on the porch of the municipal building).  He had troubles.  It seems as though he is accused by some local people of keeping some of the money Roche gave him to pay the men before Easter.  Absurd as the charge was he was afraid of his job.  So we took him in the ambulance and went back to Salama, this time to see the governor of the state.  We saw the governor and got things all straightened up.

Rivas and I left in the weapons carrier for San Cristobal.  We arrived in San Cristobal at 1330, having had a flat tire on the way.

A simple matter of going to the top of a mountain and clearing it can becme quite complicated.  Chiyuc was supposed to be government property.  We found out that it isn’t.  So we looked for the owner.  The owner gave us permission to cut trees on top but needed permission from the Dept. de Forestal before he could allow us to cut.  He offered to go with us to the top of the hill to give an estimate of damages on Monday.  The census prevents anything from being done any sooner.

We left for San Cristobal and went to Coban.  In Coban we tried to radio to Mc. In Guatemala City but there was no electricity in town so that let that out.  We then sent a telegram to Roche in San Miguel Chicaj asking him to advise us on what to do.  I received no reply.  I went to Pension Monja Blanca where I got a room with meals for $3 per day.  I met a stranded Englishwoman and we played cards (Canasta) with a traveling salesman.

Friday, 21 April 1950

Up at 0700 and went to the radio office to talk with Mac.  No current.  Went back to the hotel and then to the market with the English woman.  Bought some textiles.  Joan left at 1000.  After lunch went to foot of Chicoyohito.  Stopped at finca Chicoyohito for information regarding ownership of the hill.  Colonel in charge of the finca went to Coban with us to discuss the matter with his jeffe.  We will go up tomorrow to look around. 

Saturday, 22 April 1950

Up at 0530 and had breakfast.  Went to finca Chicoyohito.  Went with a guide to what appeared to be the highest point.  Took 45 minutes to get there.  Found point could not see to the east.  Picked another point further east.  It was no good because of poor visibility to the north and northeast.  Finally accepted a point that saw good in all directions except for about 40 degrees toward the northwest.  Returned to the finca.  Left for dinner at 1200.  Went to see the owner of the cerro.  Not home.  Went to see station Chichil.  Had a nice ride but that is all.  Clouds dropped so we couldn’t see anything.  Returned to Coban.  Received telegram from Roche that he would be in Coban tonight.  He arrived at 2115.

Sunday, 23 April 1950

Roche and I went to Chicoyohito to look over the situation and made arrangements for tomorrow. We picked up a native who spoke both Spanish and Mayan and took him with us to Chiichil.  We went to the top of Chiichil.  From the natives we found out who the owner is.  We went back to San Pedro and looked for the owner.  He wants to go with Roche when he goes to the station.  Lunch at the pension and a nap afterwards.  Took a walk around the town before dinner and played two games of Canasta afterwards.

Monday, 24 April 1950

Up at 0600 and at finca at 0715.  We started on trail at 0740.  We arrived at top of Cerro Rishpeccaranish (what a name!) at about 1030.  The hill was cleared and the station established by 4 p.m.  We were on the trail down at 1615.  Men were paid 25 cents per day. 

Tuesday, 25 April 1950

Went with Roche to Chiichil.  Cleared and monumented the station.  Had a native drink called “chicha” on the way down the hill.  Saw a dead man along the streets in morning.

Wednesday, 26 April 1950

Got a letter from the Governor of the province authorizing us to cut any trees we needed to.

Thursday, 27 April 1950

The governor of Alta Verapaz loaned us a guide and we took off in the weapons carrier for the road leading north from Coban.  We went 4 miles out this road before coming out again.  We looked for the ambulance but couldn’t find I so we went on to San Pedro Carcaj.  There we picked up the police chief and started north toward Peten.  We went to Campur before returning again to Coban.  We had travelled 80 miles during the day. 

Friday, 28 April 1950

Roche and I went to see Mr. Deiseldorf to make arrangements for horses for early Saturday morning to go to finca Cubilquitz.  Torez and Poncho arrived in another WC with towers for us.  They also had mail for us.  In the afternoon I went to see the scout rooms of the Boy Scouts of Coban.

Saturday, 29 April 1950

Left Pension Monja Blanca at 4 a.m. on mules for Cubilquitz.  Rode for eight solid hours.  We arrived at the finca at 12 noon.  After lunch I took a short nap and then wrote letters for awhile.  I played cards for a while with a scout by the name of Oscar.  Several of the fellows played a few pieces on the marimba for us.  Supper, a few more letters written and then to bed. 

Sunday, 30 April 1950

Up at 0700 and had breakfast.  Went with Roche to check the base line site.  We found it OK.  Had lunch.  Was entertained by tunes on the marimba. Finished up the wine.  Lost at cards.  Went to bed right after supper.

Monday, 1 May 1950

Up at 0330 and on the trail on mules for Coban.  We travelled steady for eight hours without stopping.  We arrived in Coban at 12 noon.  After dinner Roche and I went to San Cristobal to make arrangements to go up Chiyuc tomorrow.  Returned to Coban.  Supper at 2030 and went to bed right afterwards.

Tuesday, 2 May 1950

Up at 0500.  On the road to san Cristobal at 0700.  Was able to get 18 men.  Took 2 hours to get to top of the first hill.  That one was no good.  Arrived at highest part at 12 noon. Had lunch then went to the very top.  Top is covered with jungle growth.  We started cutting.  Saw a family of six monkeys.  Came down at 4 p.m.  Natives wanted $1.00 rather than the 50 cents they had agreed upon.  OK, so I gave them $1.00.  Went to Coban, stayed at Pension Monja Blanca.

Wednesday, 3 May 1950

Did nothing, only slept and ate.

Thursday, 4 May 1950

Same as yesterday.

Friday, 5 May 1950

Went to station Chiyuc and paid off the workers.  Cost of the station (labor only) was 52 dollars.  Left Chiyuc and started for Salama at 12 noon.  Arrived in Salama at 1500 and spoke to the alcalde.  Asked him to get 10 or 15 men ready to work for us on Monday.  Left the alcalde’s office.  Was stopped by the Guardia Civil (police).  Rivas was questioned about an accident in Quetzaltenango the week prior.  We were detained till answer to telegram sent to Quetzaltenango is received.  Was held by the police for 6 hours.  Finally left at 2100.  Rivas drove all the way in to Guatemala City.

Saturday, 6 May 1950

Drove Chaney to the airport.  He is going to Penonome, Panama for more schooling.  Had a letter for me at the office from the College Entrance Examination Board.  They informed me that it would not be possible for me to take the aptitude tests  on May 20th as planned (in Guatemala City).  I will have to take the exam in Guatemala City on August 9.  That really fouled me up.  I just sent a cable to the EXAMBORD asking them to establish the center in Guatemala City for August 9.  I caught up on some of my personal business.  I stopped at Betty Shaw’s to see if Ray Ettinger was in.  He is due in at 3 p.m.  He called me when he arrived and we spent the rest of the afternoon together.  I went to sleep early after supper.

Sunday, 7 May 1950

Up at 0900 and right after breakfast I started writing letters.  I had a brainstorm.  Why not go to Mexico City to take the CEEB tests on May 20th rather than wait for August 9?  I thought it over and finally went to see Sgt. Kuezella for advice on it.  I decided to go.  Another cablegram was sent to EXAMBORD requesting a change of center to Mexico City.  I then wrote a letter to the Exambord telling them my reasons for the sudden change.  I also sent a letter to Mrs. Olagary telling her that I would be in the city soon and to hold any mail for me that might be sent there.  The plane fare, round trip from Guatemala City to Mexico City is about $94.  Rivas came to pick me up at 11 p.m. and we started for Salama.  In San Pedro Sac. we met Roche.  He is finished with his two stations. His tower didn’t work either so there is no tower on Chiyuc or San Mateo and Carnero is lacking one since we have none with us to put up.

Monday, 8 May 1950

It took six and a half hours to get to Salama from Guatemala City.  Rivas and I slept for two hours then had breakfast.  After breakfast we went with eight men to the foot of Cerro El Carnero.  We started climbing at 0900 and arrived on top at 1300.  We found remains of the old station which Yates and Fawcett established a number of years ago. The surface monument was completely destroyed.  We dug it up to see if there was a sub-monument.  There was none.  We started cutting.  Set up a tent and got ready for nightfall.  The men went down the hill for the night.  Rivas and I located all stations except Chiyuc.  I find that a far ridge of this same mountain is in the way.  Gad-dang-it.  We will have to check that tomorrow.  Had a spot of tea then wrote this while Rivas went to sleep. It is now only 7 p.m.

Tuesday, 9 May 1950

The men arrived at 0800 and we started cutting some more.  Still I did not know whether or not I was doing the right thing since I could not see CHIYUC.  Finally I decided to go down the mountain and on to Guatemala City for advice.  I got to the foot of the hill at 1400 and into Guate. City at 2200.  I stopped at Roche’s house to make sure that he would not leave the city before I could speak to him.

Wednesday, 10 May 1950

At the office I spoke with Roche about the line not seeing.  Roche, Meade and I went up in a Cessner plane to look over the situation.  From the plane it looked as though I was cutting in the right place any way.  Arrangements were made for Rivas to go and finish the station.  In the afternoon I met MacIlwaine and discussed the situation with him. 

Thursday, 11 May 1950

Worked on station description cards.  Went to the National Palace for permit to leave Guatemala.

Friday, 12 May 1950

Picked up clothes at the cleaner.  Got tourist card from Mexican Consulate.  Left the city at 1530 on the plane for Mexico City.  Arrived in Mexico City at 1930.  Went to theHotel Emporio.  Went to Olagary’s.  Met Ogenia and German.

Saturday, 13 May 1950

Went to Robinson’s shop.  Went with him to American Boy Scout camp in the afternoon.  Slept in tent with scouts of Group #2.

Sunday, 14 May 1950

Met Scout Commissioner of Pachuca.  Made arrangements for his son to meet me in Mexico City on Thursday.  Returned to Mexico City at 10 p.m.

Monday, 15 May 1950

Got up late.  Went to Robinson’s.  Went to Olagaray’s in the p.m.   Went out with a French scout to visit the night life.

Tuesday, 16 May 1950

Got up late (had a hell of a cold).  Bought scout insignias in the a.m.  Went to a Rover Scout meeting in the p.m. Met Alfonso de la Parra.

Wednesday, 17 May 1950

Went to cub scout leader meeting in p.m.  Traded insignias afterward.

Thursday, 18 May 1950

Met fellow from Pachuca in the p.m. and went to a movie.

Friday, 19 May 1950

Had dinner with Robinson.  Talked with Salvador Fernandez.  Went to Olagary’s house.  Went to Rover Clan XX meeting.

Saturday, 20 May 1950

Took exam in American School.  [College Entrance Board Exams].  Dinner with Robinson. Went to Olagary’s.  Said good by.  Met Mateos [with whom I had climbed Mt. Popocatepetel the year before.]

Sunday, 21 May 1950

Returned to Guatemala City.

Monday, 22 May 1950

On duty in the Guatemala office of IAGS.

Tuesday, 23 May 1950

Wrote letter of resignation.  Met fellows from Washington in store.  Went out with them.

Wednesday, 24 May 1950

Left for Comapa at 1000.  Arrived at Estoraque at 1530.  Made arrangements for horses.  Slept in the ambulance.

Thursday, 25 May 1950

Went on horseback to Comapa.  Left Estoraque at 0700, arrived in Comapa at 1330.  Arrived on station at 1500.  Set up tent.  Rained rest of the afternoon and night.

Friday, 26 May 1950

Up at 0600.  Went down to Comapa and had breakfast.  Did some shopping and right after lunch went up top again.  Takes ½ hour to climb hill from the center of town.  We finished setting up instrument stand and light stand.  We established a better campsite.  Called on 694 at 1600.  No reply.

Saturday, 27 May 1950

Read books, contacted Norman by 694.  Rain at night, overcast.

Sunday, 28 May 1950

Same as yesterday.

Monday, 29 May 1950

Turned good sets.

Tuesday, 30 May 1950

Left Comapa at 1100.  Mule bolted down the hill losing his cargo.  Arrived in Estoraque at 1730. Went to Guatmala City arriving at 2120.

Wednesday, 31 May 1950

Went to the office.  Got ready to go to the field.  Found a broken axle on the vehicle.

Thursday, 1 June 1950

Left office at 0900 for Moyuta.  We drove right to the town.  Arrived at Moyuta at 1430.  It was impossible to get our equipment up the mountain that night so we had supper below and I slept in the ambulance.

Friday, 2 June 1950

We made contact with Virgin at 1000 but only Justo Brooks was there.  Packed our gear on mules and started for the station at 1100.  Arrived at station at 1500.  Set up tent.  Rivas set up jungle hammoc in which to sleep.  Rain and overcast all night.  No work.

Saturday, 3 June 1950

Looked over the situation.  I don’t know what to do.  It looks as though two eccentrics are needed since Cerritos can not be seen from Moyuta or ecc. #1.  I found no way to measure any of the distances between eccentrics since eccentric #1 is on top of a hill across a baranca from Moyuta and ecc. #2  is on the same ridge as Moyuta but about 150 meters from the station.  Turned angles tonight.

Sunday, 4 June 1950

Contacted Meade on 694 at 1000 again.  Told him of difficulties.  Read in afternoon.  In past week here have read several books.  Worked at night.

Monday, 5 June 1950

Read, ate, slept.  No work done.

Tuesday, 6 June 1950

Rivas went below to see the Alcalde about getting men to help on the station.  Alcalde couldn’t get any men since they all wanted to work in their fields cleaning their corn. He did give us a fellow who worked for the municipality to bring us a can of water each morning.  Rivas came up with a letter for me from the alcalde.  He asked me if I would use the ambulance to help a government vehicle out of a mud hole down the road.  Since he was cooperative with us I said OK and Rivas went below to assist those stuck.  Arturo and I played stud poker till 12 p.m. and finally hit the hay.  It had been overcast all the time.  In the morning we had gotten word that Mac[Ilwaine] and Samayor will come to the station tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 7 June 1950

Fellow from alcalde’s office brought water early.  After radio call Arturo and I set up instrument stand over true station and cleared lines to Comapa and to ecc.#1.  Rivas did not show up in the morning.  Arturo went down the hill in the afternoon.  I took a bath and finished up all the computations possible.  We had our first real rain today.  Rivas and Arturo returned in the worst part of the rain.  Mac. didn’t show up in Moyuta.

Thursday, 8 June 1950

While I was talking to Norman on the radio Mac, Major Higgens and Samayoa arrived on the station.  After the radio call was finished we got busy looking over the situation.  We decided to measure a short base and work out a base expansion.  The base was measured four times.  We will have to erect several instrument stands to observe the base expansion.  We finished measuring before the rain.  Mac loaned me $50 Class B.  Rivas and Arturo went below.  I stayed on station and read “The Emperor’s Physician.”

Friday, 9 June 1950

The fellow arrived with two cans of water at 0900.  Rivas tried to hire some men to clear lines of sight.  No one would work.  Rained all afternoon.

Saturday, 10 June 1950

We cleared on the line from Moyuta to south end of the base line.  Turned angle from Comapa to Moyuta at the eccentric.  Indelacio arrived in the town of Moyuta.  He sent up a note.

Sunday, 11 June 1950

Indelacio arrive on station at 0800.  Roche wanted to know where Miraflores is.  He was in the weapons carrier stuck up the road.  Rivas went to help him out but didn’t reach him.  He returned.  Clouded in all night.

Monday, 12 June 1950

Rain most of the day.  Three fellows came to work.  Did some clearing.  10 hours of rain.

Tuesday, 13 June 1950

Only two fellows came to work in the a.m.  Rain started at 1245 and lasted all afternoon.  Did some work in evening.  Gave Comapa “Fin.”

Wednesday, 14 June 1950

Two fellows came to work.  Started setting up instrument stands.  L-4 7272 came over station, dropped a note.  Talked on frequency 5600 on 4185.  Tested reception.  Heard 3 x 3 at 38 miles.  Note told me to return to Guatemala City to go to Zone before 22 June 1950.  Packed gear, went down the hill.  Got haircut and shave for 25 cents.  Waited for Roche in ambulance.  Roche arrived in jeep with Tores at 1800.  We slept in the ambulance.

Thursday, 15 June 1950

Up at 0515 and to the Pension for coffee. We walked up to the station.  I turned over property to Roche.  I went down mountain and left in the jeep with Torres.  Arrived at Roosevelt hwy. at 1200.  Picked up Begnino at Chaparron.  Returned to Guatemala City.

Friday, 16 June 1950

To office in the morning and cleared all equipment.  Arranged for exit visa from Guatemala and entry into Panama.  Went to scout office and picked up badges.  Had dinner with Riki.  Mac showed us his colored slides.  He gave me some. 

Saturday, 17 June 1950

Up at 0530 and to the airport at 0630.  Plane took off at 0730. Had to pay $13.80 overweight baggage.  We left El Salvador and had to return a few minutes late because of bad weather over Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  After a wait of two hours we took off for Managua without stopping at Tegucigalpa. At Managua I went across the street from the airport to the home and office of Captain Sneed, IAGS officer for Nicaragua.  I was invited to stay there while in the city.  I borrowed his jeep and went into town (12 km away).  In town I met Gus Wilson.  We went to the home of Porfilo Salarseno where I had my international letter [BSA letter] endorsed.  I rushed back to the IAGS office and picked up my collection of scout badges and returned to Salarseno’s home.  There he traded several insignias with me.

Sunday, 18 June 1950

Woke up with Captain Sneed standing by my bed with a glass of orange juice for me.  How nice!  I spent all day in the office fixing up the boy scout badge collection and writing letters.  In the afternoon I went to the airport and spoke to Julio Pinell.  He said that he would trade insignias with me.  He has one of each of the Inter-American conference insignias.  He might give them to me.  He will bring them to the airport tomorrow. 

Monday, 19 June 1950

Up at 0700 and went to town immediately after breakfast.  I went to the philatelic office and bought 1,000 Boy Scout stamps of 2cent denomination.  Later on I found out that there is also a 2 cordoba scout stamp.  I gave Mr. Fred Ponce the rest of the $20 (110 cordobas) to purchase 2-cordoba stamps for me.  He will send them air mail to the US for me.  I got on the plane at 1100 and napped all the way to San Jose, Costa Rica.  While in San Jose I called up Rev. Fish.  After the 15 minute stop over in San Jose we headed straight to Rio Hato in Panama and then went down the Pacific coast to Tocumen.  After clearing customs I got in a taxi and went to the YMCA in Balboa where I got a room for $1.00 per night.

Tuesday, 20 June 1950

I cleared this morning and afternoon.  By 1500 I was off the pay roll.  I met Herb Eggar and together we went to see Terry Warford at the hospital.  We then saw a show in Balboa.

Wednesday, 21 June 1950

Slept late. Went shopping in army stores.  Got footlocker out of storage in TSSS and brought it to the YMCA and sorted gear.  I went down to Panama City and bought $60 worth of gifts.  In the evening I went to see Rev. Ferris. I brought a small tablecloth of Guatemalan “shadow weave” for Mrs. Ferris. Dean Ferris and I went to the drive-in and had a hamburger.  He took me back to the YMCA.

Thursday, 22 June 1950

Got up late.  What luxury!  Went to Panama Project office and met Ken Rinehart again.  In the afternoon I packed all my gear and brought the old footlocker with the books, correspondence folders and albums (also a few clothes) to TSSS to be bound and stenciled.  In p.m. I went to a movie in Balboa after visiting Terry Warford in the hospital again.

Friday, 23 June 1950

Up a 1000.  I’ve been taking a shower every morning and evening since I got to Panama.  It is HOT here.  I got the footlocker shipped Army transport.  It will be in New York City in late July.  I went to a square dance in Ancon in the evening.  A few beers in the Atlas, then back to the YMCA.

Tuesday, 27 June 1950

Flew by Army plane to Mobile, Alabama.  Took bus back to New Jersey from there. 


And so ended one hell of an adventure, the memory of which remains with me to this day, 7 November, 2010, over sixty years later.  I will add more to this report but want to get this posted before it gets put aside and not on the autobiography web site.

Central America 1949-1950

Central America Trip – 1949

My trip through Central America began in December of 1948. I returned to the U.S. in June of 1950. The story of the travels and experiences on the road presented in this section actually end in March of 1949. At that point I took a job with the Inter-American Geodetic Survey in the Canal Zone. That portion of the trip is written up in its own section under ‘Employment – IAGS.’
I plan to present my Central American experiences in sections as follows. Until them items are posted in the order of their occurrence.

1. Preparing for departure and travel to the US-Mexico border.
2. Mexico
3. Guatemala
4. El Salvador
5. Nicaragua
6. Costa Rica
7. Panama and the Canal Zone

When I left on my trip to South America I wrote to the Boy Scouts of America and applied for an International Letter of Introduction. I received letter number one for 1949. Here is that letter with the endorsements on the reverse.


Climbing Mt. Popocatepetl


January, 1949.

I was enjoying a ‘night on the town’ one Friday evening with a group of Rover Scouts of Group VII, Mexico City when the question was posed to me “Would you like to climb Mt. Popocatepetl?” Of course I agreed immediately. A couple of the guys got on the telephone to call around to see if anyone else in the group were interested. Arrangements were made to meet the rest of the fellows the next night at midnight. That settled, then I went with the fellows to various scouts homes to gather gear for the climb. The next night German and I were at the meeting place early. Soon the bus that we had hired came along. There were to have been about 20 boys going but only 13 showed up. That meant that the expense would be greater per boy but we fixed that later.

At 3:16 a.m. we arrived at the point where the road ended. Some of us decided to start climbing immediately. The others slept for a while. There was a good path to follow most of the way up the lower slopes. It was very easy to follow in the moonlight. A Rover Scout by the name of Mateos came along side of me and said “Let’s go!” The others were already straggling behind.


Mateos kept up a steady pace which I soon found I could not follow. The climbing was very steep and the air was getting thin. I could only go about 300 feet and then had to stop for a few minutes for my heart to stop pounding. In that manner I was able to keep up with Mateos fairly well. Then I lost him. I called to him and heard his voice from above so I started climbing the slope nearby. The slope was all right for a while then it grew steeper and steeper until I had to make use of the ice ax to cut a hold in the mountain side. Eventually I got to the point where the going was easier. Mateos was waiting for me. He had gone up a slope to the left of the one I went up. It was much easier than the one I used.


We then started climbing together. The wind was very strong and at times we had to force the spike at the end of our ice ax into the slope and lean forward on it so as not to be blown over. The wind blew many stones loose far above us which came tearing down at terrific speed. They weren’t more than eight inches in diameter for the most part but would hurt plenty if we were hit. To add to our difficulties the wind would often blow some sulfur fumes from the crater upon us.

It was very cold climbing, especially at that time of the morning. I lost feeling in my feet soon after leaving the bus. We wore several pairs of socks, gloves, a woolen cap that covered the ears and chin with only the face exposed and a heavy jacket. When the wind grew so bad as to blow sand in our eyes we put on goggles. We had the ice ax in one hand. It is a tool with a hoe-like blade on one side of the head and a pick on the other. On the top of the handle is a spike which we often used in climbing. We had steel spikes, called crampons, attached to our shoes.

As we were going up we could see many towns in the distance looking like patches of light. As the sun came up we could see the towns themselves. Directly in back of us was Iztaccihuatl with its three snow covered peaks. Its name means “the sleeping lady.”

Mateos finally sat down and admitted that the conditions for climbing were worse this time than any of the four other times he had climbed Popo. He would go no further. He said it was not worth the risk. I went about 100 ft. more but was still about 300 ft. from the crater. There was a party of four hikers up there at the same time as we were. They also went no further so I didn’t feel so badly in not completing the climb. As it was, Mateos and I were two of the four out of the party that reached the ice cap. None of us go to the edge of the crater.

It was almost impossible to go down the slope we had just come up without use of the crampons and ice ax. When we were about half way down we stopped and had breakfast. It would be quite something if I could have a view for breakfast every morning that I had on that morning! That is one of the satisfactions you get from climbing a mountain, the view. Only birds and those in planes see the same thing, it is wonderful!


German and Cocolicio met us on the way down. They were the other two of our party who got to the ice but they, too, returned because of the falling rocks and the extreme wind. A swift descent brought us to the place where the bus and the rest of the group awaited us. We then started back to Mexico City. To help pay for the cost of chartering the bus the boys changed the sign from “Especial” to “Mexico, D.F.” and picked up passengers along the way who were charged a reasonable fare. Not only did they get a cheaper ride to Mexico City than they otherwise would have they soon became involved in the singing and games the scouts were playing as the bus hurtled down the mountain to the city far below. German taught us all to sing the song of the elephant dancing on the web of a spider. At the end of each verse another boy would join those already singing the song until all were singing. Then we played hat games, also while singing a scouting song.

The fellows in Grupo VII of the Boy Scouts of Mexico City did not usually make decisions to go on a hike of this nature just the day before the actual climb but they were intent on having this Gringo Boy Scout have the experience of climbing Mt. Popocatepetl and knowing that I would be ‘hitting the road’ soon they made a quick decision and were able to put it all together in only one day. I am glad that I was able to put on a good show, notwithstanding the high altitude and the rugged nature of the hike. After all, the reputation of the Boy Scouts of America was at risk. I had to show that U.S. Scouts also could handle themselves on mountains. Maybe those thoughts imposed a bit of pressure on me but in reality I went and thoroughly enjoyed this adventure with the guys from Grupo VII because I loved this type of adventure. I truly appreciated that the fellows of Grupo VII were so friendly and accepting of this strange kid from across the border who couldn’t speak any Spanish. In the fullest sense of the word these fellows portrayed the brotherhood of Scouting.

[This story is based on entries in my diary of my trip from New Jersey to Panama in early 1949. Gfd]

Popocatépetl (commonly referred to as Popo, El Popo or Don Goyo) (IPA: [popoka tepet ]) is an active volcano and, at 5,426 m., the second highest peak in Mexico after the Pico de Orizaba (5,636 m). Popocatépetl comes from the Nahuatl words pop ca ‘it smokes’ and tep tl ‘mountain’, thus Smoking Mountain. Popocatépetl is linked to the Iztaccíhuatl volcano to the north by the high saddle known as the Paso de Cortés, and lies in the eastern half of the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt. [from Wikipedia]

Spelunking at Las Grutas de Cacahuamilpa


Looking into my box of ‘keepsakes’ I found some letters that I had typed and sent home to my mother in Manasquan in the early days of February, 1949. One of those letters told of the trip I took with a group of Rover Scouts from Group VII in Mexico City to the caves located near Taxco. The upper caves are well lit and developed for tourists. The cave we entered had no such amenities as lights, steps, cables, etc. I sure wished that I knew Spanish at that time so I could have communicated with the scouts and told them of the path that I found when I climbed way above them looking for a way forward into the caves. I went back to Taxco to explore more caves five or six years later but that is another story.

To more easily read the scans of the original journals click on any one of the page images.





Scouting in Nicaragua 1949-1950
Here is a letter I received from a 95-year-old Scouter I met in Nicaragua 60 years ago.
23 April 2009
Greetings, George:
You created a mental tsunami in the calm of my “memory sea”, not of destruction, but a pleasant defoliation and reactivation of semi-forgotten events. Thanks-a-million!

First, I’ll try to provide answers to your question packed exardium. Yes, by the mercy of God, I am still around to serve and encourage fellow travelers along life’s finite journey. Healthwise I have had continued battle with non-insulin dependent diabetes for some twenty-five years. The fight goes on. According to the doctor, my organs continue to play the right tunes. They will grow old and shut down some day, I know. So far I have crossed the 95th year mark: post number 96 is in the offing, still get around at a slower pace.

Received your e-mail while in Dallas. A very dear friend and his wife were in the city where he was about to undergo open heart surgery. They came from Managua, Nicaragua. The least my daughter Norma and I could do was to be there. Thank God, everything went well. I flew into Torreon on the 24th to visit six members of my family.

The last trip my wife and I went to Managua was to celebrate 90 years of Colegio Bautista’s educational and spiritual service to Nicaragua. She had been in poor health for quite some time. When we returned, Norma and her husband asked (demanded) we dwell with them. That was in July of 2007. We celebrated her 92nd birthday in August 2008. On September 26, she went to be with the Lord. We had been married sixty-nine years, six months, eight days. So here I am, lovingly surrounded by my children, grand and great grandchildren, a dwindling number of Scout brothers, many brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.

Of the Colegio Bautista’s now 92 years, I spent 47 (1932-1979) as student, teacher and Principal. The political upheaval was instrumental to my voluntary exile which began in June 1979. Returned 13 years and 20 days later since then, as the political climate improved, I have made some seven or eight returns.

In this blessed land, I accepted an invitation and served as Parental Liaison for USSD 480’s Migrant Education, Liberal, KS, from 1981 -2001, a 20-year stint. Upon retiring for the second time, once in Nicaragua (1979) and once in the USA (2001) we moved the KSC where two of my daughters live. We set up home until the events I related earlier. I am still active in a small American Baptist Church, serving as chairperson of its Board of Deacons and a “croaking song leader.” Can you imagine?

I have four blood-line children, (three females and one male), one adopted son and a daughter who adopted us, eleven grand children and five great-grand children, four girls and one boy, 25 months old. All my children except one, Fredy, who lives in Torreon, and some grand and great grands gather in KSC for Christmas and four birthdays, including mine.

I asked Fredy to dig up some information on “Sebastian” whose real name is Enrique Carbajal. He provided me with 15 internet pages, all in Spanish. I assume you have it in English, given the fact of the coming exhibition of his works in your city. Once I learned of the several sculptures in this city, I asked my son-in-law to take me to see them.

I wish you much success as you become more involved in the projects you mentioned. I read into them an understanding heart of the brotherhood of man, sharing in the pain of a nation and the recognition of the creative potential of the mind, North, South, East or West. You now live 29 degrees WNW of New Jersey. By the way, two alumnus of Colegio Bautista, (not Moravian) live in the area; one in Bellingham, the other in one of the surrounding towns.

For me, Scouting began in February of 1926 when I joined Troop No. 1 Moravian, Bluefields. Then came the armed uprising of May 2 of the same year. Most of the leaders left the Country and Scouting went dormant, sputtering off and on. I left for Managua in 1932. There conditions were no better. In 1942, Scouting had a fresh start and has continued to flourish. I had the privilege to serve in various positions and participated in several International events; 1st gathering of Scout Leaders from Latin American countries in Bogota, 1946. That was when the Consejo Interamericano de Escultismo was organized to unify, as much as possible, existing differences in Terminology, Uniforms, Administration, Badges, Training, etc. Earned my two, three and four beads; participated in the Jamboree of Peace, Canada 1955 as the uni-delegate from Nicaragua. Organized or attended five Central American Camporees, participated in TTT three times (Meztitla, Mexico, Kingston, Jamaica and Philmont Scout Ranch, NM, USA. From 1979 to 1992, there is a blank. Returning to Nicaragua in 1992, I continued contacts with headquarters and in 2004 participated in the XX Central American Camporee. Was first to receive the “Silver Puma”, highest award for service. Most humbly, I tried to do my best to live by the Motto, Oath and Law of Scouting. At times I failed, but with God’s help, kept moving forward. My mother used to say “Stop! You talk too much.” So, I’ll obey.

May all your good dreams come to fruition.

Your Scout Brother
Gustavo (Gus) E. Wilson

Pablo Steiner, George F. Drake, Julio Pinel and Gus Wilson. March, 1949 at the Managua, Nicaragua, Airport.

It seems that in this one photo I have three of the early founders of scouting in Nicaragua. I wonder if the Boy Scouts of Nicaragua have a photo of the three of these founders in one photo? I will send them a copy of this one. You will note that my International Letter of Introduction from the Boy Scouts of America was signed by don Porfirio Solorzano who is noted below as having gotten the Nicaraguan Boy Scout Association recognized by the World Scout Organization. Gus Wilson (Gustavo Wilson Batleman) joined the first troop founded in Nicaragua in Bluefield on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. When he moved to Managua where he became a professor in a small Moravian college (Colegio Bautista) he founded the third Boy Scout troop in Nicaragua. Julio Pinell founded Troop Four “Leon” in Managua.

In 1945 the scout movement in Nicaragua was restructured and Professor Wilson became the first Chief Scout Executive of Nicaragua. The note in this history of scouting in Nicaragua (appended below) ends with a comment that the first national scout camporee was held at the Hacienda Las Mercedes, near the International Airport. The head of that camporee was Pablo Steiner (known as ‘the Raven’) who is also in that photo with me. Pablo Steiner has quite a personal story. He barely escaped capture by the Germans as he fled his home in Hungary in 1939. As a Jew he would have been exterminated in the Holocaust. He opened a print shop and began publishing in Managua and married a woman who became one of the most famous authors in Latin America. He died in the 1980s.
Here is the information I obtained in its original Spanish.
En 1943, el sennor Julio Pinell fundó la Tropa Cuatro “León”, en la ciudad de Managua, el profesor Gustavo Wilson Batleman, la Tropa Tres en el Colegio Bautista. Originario de Bluefield había sido uno de los primeros jóvenes que se integraron a la Tropa fundada por Campbell y el reverendo Harrison. En 1945 don Gilberto A. Blanco se convirtió en Primer Jefe Scouts Nacional.

En 1945 el Movimiento Scout de Nicaragua inicia una nueva estructuración. El profesor Wilson se constituye en forma voluntaria en el Primer Director Ejecutivo, con el apoyo de don Adrian Espinosa Orochena y el joven Róger Mendoza Solís. El señor Espinosa Orochena debido al derrocamiento del presidente Leonardo Argüello tuvo que salir exiliado. Actualmente reside en Miami, con más de 60 años de ser Scout, uno de los más activos dirigentes de su época.

En 1946, don Porfirio Solórzano Marín, logró el reconocimiento oficial de la Organización Mundial del Movimiento Scout. En 1946 se celebró en la Hacienda Las Mercedes, cerca del actual Aeropuerto Internacional, el Primer Campamento Nacional de Patrullas. El Jefe de Campo fue don Pablo Steiner, también importante funcionario de Caritas de Nicaragua y esposo de la escritora María Teresa Sánchez.

Here is a letter I wrote to the Secretary of the Order of the Arrow, Cowaw Lodge #9 back in 1949. It gives a good idea of the depth of my involvement in scouting in that period of time.

To: Order of the Arrow, Cowaw Lodge #9

14 September 1949
c/o I.A.G.S., Box 2031
Balboa Heights, Canal Zone

Dear Lyle:

Again I write to you, this time from Costa Rica rather than Panama. I came here on Friday with my mother who is visiting me for several weeks from New Jersey. We are spending a week’s vacation here in Costa Rica. As soon as I got here I looked up the scout association again. As you recall, I spent one week with them in March of this year.

There are several reasons for this letter. One, of course, is to say ‘hello’ to you and let you in on what is new in Panama. The other reason is to report to Lodge #9, Order of the Arrow, on my scouting activities since becoming a member of that lodge one year ago. If I were living at home, where I could assist the lodge in their activities, this letter would not be necessary. As it is, you might think, if you didn’t hear from me, that I was a disinterested member.

I am very much interested in the Order of the Arrow so please do not let my name be dropped from the list. I do not know the amount of dues that I owe nor when they are due. I would appreciate it if you would bring me up to date on that information.

I am having an interesting time here in San Jose at present. A Scout Manual has recently been published in Spanish for the Scouts of Costa Rica. The trouble is that it was published without the acceptance of the National Council and included many things that were definitely not acceptable to the Scouting standards of Costa Rica.

I attended a meeting of the National Council and listened in on a debate about allowing an American Boy Scout troop operate in San Jose. I was permitted to say a few words on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America troop.

On the morning following the meeting of the National Council I talked for two hours with Reverend Fish who is organizing American scouting in San Jose. In the afternoon I attended a Costa Rican troop meeting. I then spent two hours discussing scouting methods with several Costa Rican scouters. In the evening I talked scouting for three hours with three scouters of San Jose. I was asked to check on the Costa Rican branch of the order of the Arrow. This International Scouting if very interesting.

I would now like to bring the Lodge members up-to-date as to my scouting activities after one year in the Order of the Arrow. I therefore enclose a summary of my activities since September, 1948.

Yours in Scouting,

George F. Drake

Summary of Scouting Activities of George Drake for one year following the Ordeal of 1948 of Lodge #9, Order of the Arrow.

1. I am registered as an Explorer Scout in Post #31 of Spring Lake, N.J. Until December, 1948 I was Post Guide. I have attended no meetings since December, 1948.

2. I am a Life Scout and a Woodsman Explorer. I have passed no scout requirements of any kind since December, 1948.

3. I have done the following hiking and camping with scouts since becoming a member of the Order of the Arrow:

a. Went on a 3-day exploration hike with Mexican Rover Scouts spending 30 hours underground in a cave in Taxco State, Mexico.

b. Went on a 2-day hike with full pack with Mexican Scouts from Xochomilco to Cuernavaca, following a straight line over the mountains, about 45 miles.

c. Participated in a 1-day hike up Popocatepetl, a snow-capped volcano near Mexico City with Rover Scouts. Four out of 13 made it to the top. I was one of the four.

d. Went on a two-day camping trip with scouts of Guatemala.

e. Went on a one-day hike with Guatemalan scouts.

f. Joined Scouts of El Salvador on a one-day horseback ride.

g. Went on a one-day mountain climbing trip with Scouts of Costa Rica to the top of Poas Volcano.

h. Went on a 3-1/2 month trip, by all means of transportation, through Central America to the Canal Zone. The uniform of the Explorer Scouts of the Boy Scouts of America was worn at all times.

4. I visited the following local council offices of the B.S.A.:

a. Raritan, NJ

b. Monmouth, NJ

c. Norfolk, VA

d. Orlando, FL

e. West Palm Beach, FL

f. Miami, FL

g. Pensacola, FL

h. Mobile, Alabama
i. New Orleans, Louisiana

j. Balboa, Canal Zone

5. I visited the following National Offices of Scouting

a. New York City, B.S.A.

b. Mexico City, Mexico. Association of Scouts of Mexico

c. Guatemala City, Guatemala. Scout Association of Guatemala

d. San Salvador, El Salvador. Exploradores de Salvador
e. Managua, Nicaragua. Scouts de Nicaragua

f. San Jose, Costa Rica. Cuerpo Nacional de Scouts de Costa Rica.

g. Panama City, Panama. The newly organized Scouts de Panama.

6. I have met and discussed scouting with the following leaders of scouting in these countries:
a. U.S.A.: Mr. McKinney, Mr. H. Patton, Mr. G. Cronie, Mr. R. Mozo and others in the National Office, BSA.

b. Mexico: Mr. Juan Llane, President of the Scouts of Mexico, as well as with the National Commissioner of Cub Scouts of Mexico and leaders in Rover Scouting in Mexico.

c. Guatemala: Mr. Deutchman, President of the Scout Association of Guatemala, also with Armando Galvez, Sr. Armado and other national leaders.

d. El Salvador: Padre Juan Garcia Artola.

e. Nicaragua: The association President, National Commissioners of Scouting, Cubing and Rovers and others.

f. Costa Rica: The President of the association and all national officers.

g. Panama: The President of the Scouts of Panama.

7. I have sent American scouting literature to scouts in the following countries: Mexico, Canada, Australia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Venezuela, England, Chile, Germany, Austria, Greece

8. I correspond with scouts in the following countries: United states, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Chile, Scotland, England, Finland, Sweden, Australia, New Guinea, South Africa, Indonesia, Burma, Pakistan, Hindustan, China, Greece, Belgium, Austria, Germany

9. I have had articles published in the following Scouting magazines:

a. Lone Scout, BSA
b. The Scout, England
c. Escultismo, Mexico
d. Xxx , Indonesia
e. Xxx, Nicaragua

Hopefullly it works!

Hitch-Hike Trip 1947

Hitch Hike Trip – 1947

What follows is my diary of my trip around the USA and part of Canada in the summer of 1947. I was 16 years old when I took off from my home in Manasquan, New Jersey and was ‘years older’ when I got back almost three months later. What is not in the diary is the extensive reading I did before leaving. I wrote to the tourism office of every state that I intended to visit and read scores of books from our local library of traveling in the ‘old west.’

I attached my gear to a pack board that I got as army surplus after the war (WW II). To it I attached the knapsack and the sleeping bag. The sleeping bag also was army surplus which the US Army made available to Boy Scout troops for a pittance. I began the trip by taking a bus to Denver, Colorado and, for the most part, hitch hiked the rest of the way.


May 10, 1947
Getting the urge to travel and see things that many young fellows don’t get to see, I decided to do something about it. I shall take a hitch-hike tour of the United States.

May 12
My parents approved of my plans and I think that I shall leave for the west as soon as school lets out. This will be the summer between my Junior and Senior year in Manasquan High School.

June 15
Got a ride from Manasquan to Newark, NJ with Mr. Jarvis. Slept at Aunt Ann’s house.

June 16
I got to the Public Service Bus Depot at 7 a.m. My bus was due to arrive at 7:20. I waited for more than a half hour and the bus still didn’t arrive. At last I saw it come. It went right on past without as much as a blow of his horn and left me to wait for the next bus at 9:20. When it arrived I got on and got a window seat. We took the Pennsylvania Turnpike through most of its course. It was a beautiful ride.

We arrived in Pittsburg at 8:08 p.m. Ozzies (my mother’s brother and wife) were at the station waiting for me. Nancy wasn’t there as she went to an opera. We had something at a soda fountain. I taught the waitress how to make a vanilla frosted float. My bus for St. Louis pulled in and I said good-by and jumped in. The bus was a local and made every stop between Pittsburgh and St. Louis. There was very little sleep for anyone that night. A lady and her daughter (Mrs. L.H. Beverly and daughter) were sitting across from me. We got to talking and found out that she had attended the conference of some Temperance group in Asbury Park. I gave her a lot of information for a radio script she was writing. She gave me one dollar for postage on minerals to send home from various states gone through.

I arrived in St. Louis at 3:45 p.m. The bus for Kansas City left at 5:15. I took it and rode all night

June 17
I arrived in Kansas City at 12:19 p.m. Here we had to jump in line to get reservations for Denver. I got mine in the first bus. I got the seat directly behind the driver and next to a soldier who was going to Washington State for his discharge. His name and address is Gerrit Van Wieringen, Rt. 1, Box 131, Bow, Washington. [466-3517 – La Conner. Is this him?]

June 18
We now started to cross the great plains of Kansas. Our driver, after 5 a.m. was Francis Schorling. A load of newspapers was put on the bus when we left Kansas City to be left off in various towns along the way. At 5:30 the bus driver started blasting his horn for some unknown reason. There wasn’t another vehicle in sight nor a person on the road. I asked him why he blew the horn and he explained that it was to wake up the farmer in the farmhouse we were passing so he could milk his cows. It seems that all drivers passing on this rout at this time wake up the farmer in the same manner. Francis told me that he visited the farmer once on his day off and had returned home with a gallon of milk, some butter and many fresh vegetables.

We are now passing through Wilson, Kansas. It is a Czech town. It looks the same as any other Kansas town gone through. It has the grain elevators next to the tracks, a church, a few stores on the highway and a few houses along the highway. All around were immense fields of wheat. This area was part of the Piedmont Plateau and was called the bread basket of the nation and now of the world. A strange thing that I noticed about this area was the fence posts. Tjhey were of rock. The farmers quarried limestone and cut the pieces to about 6” x 6” x 5’ in size and used them for posts. There were miles and miles of them.

We were now passing through the oil ridge section of Kansas. Oil wells were all over the place. Barley could be seen growing along the road. We changed drivers again and road on and on, finally arriving in Denver at 6:20 p.m. I got off the bus, looked up the address of the YMCA and went right to it. I got a bed for the night in a dormitory and had dinner in their cafeteria. I got to bed by 9:30 and fell right asleep.

June 19
I woke up at 5 a.m. this morning with the phone ringing loudly. It sounded more like a burglar alarm. The desk was calling to wake up bed number five. Instead it woke up everybody else. From then on about every half hour the phone rang so there wasn’t much more sleep for me. I finally got up at 8 a.m. and went down to get something to eat. I left my pack in the pool room and went out to find a store where I could purchase an Explorer Scout shirt. I eventually arranged with a shop to order one from Chicago and have it mailed to La Junta General Delivery by June 27.

While in the May Company store I struck up a conversation with a scout and his mother who were purchasing scout equipment there. I arranged to meet them in the Barnum School out on West 1st and Hooker at the Wes District Court of Honor. I asked the clerk if he knew of a place where I could stay for the night. He arranged for me to stay at the Harris Hotel for $1.50 per night. I figured it was worth it if I could get some sleep. I got to the hotel at 1:30 and checked in. I then got my pack from the YMCA and brought it up to my room. I threw everything out on the bed and looked the things over.

My sleeping bag needed some sewing done on it so I took it to a tailor nearby and he fixed it for 35 cents. I then went back to my room and did some writing and fixing equipment. After supper I went to the Court of Honor. It took me ½ hour to get out there as no one knew how to direct me. Finally I took a number 75 trolley and arrived there at 8:30 p.m. the Court of Honor was similar to ones we have in New Jersey. The audience was exactly the same. The awards were presented by various troop leaders and all awards of the same kind were given out at the same time, i.e., all Life Scout awards were given at one time regardless of troop.

Following the presentation of awards a man set up an easil and a drawing board and drew with charcoal anything that was asked of him. He had scouts come up and write their names and from them he drew pictures which were very clever and humerous. The court was closed with a prayer by Jim Tincomb who kinda forgot the words. I was introduced to Jim by James Russell whom I had met in town that morning. Jim is a Life Scout and seems like a very nice chap. He asked me if I cared to go on an overnight camping trip for the purpose of collecting rocks and minerals. I, of course, agreed readily. That was what I had come for, to see if I could get in on any such trip. Jim introduced me to his scoutmaster who said that whether I could go or not depended on whether he could get enough transportation.

He said he would let me know by Friday evening whether he would have room or not. I then went over to James’ house to see if his mother had been able to locate somebody to go go to Genisse and Lookout Mt. on Friday. She said that she hadn’t but that James might go. She arranged to call me at the hotel at 8:00 a.m. and let me know. I then left and caught the next trolley back to the center of the city and to my hotel and to sleep.

June 20
I awoke at 5:30 a.m. and turned over and went right back to sleep. It was no hour for decent people to get up, not me anyway. I finally got up at 7:30 and was all ready to leave at 8:00. I sat on my bed waiting for the phone call from Mrs. Russel until 8:30 and finally called her. She had decided not to let Jim go with me for various reasons but asked me out to their place to start on my trip to Lookout Mt. Mrs. Russel fixed up a very nice lunch for me and took me up the highway for a few miles. I then stuck out my thumb and soon got a ride. I was let off on the highway when the man I was riding with turned into his home. I then walked about 3 miles when I was picked up by a man going clear across the mountains. He took me right to the road leading to Lookout Mountain. I walked the three miles into Buffalo Bills grave and museum.

There wasn’t anything very spectacular about the grave. All it is is a fenced in area with a monument in it. The museum is more interesting. In it are many relics of his. Here is found his guns, saddles, clothing, pictures of his and many of his Wild West Show posters. The museum is located on the top of Lookout Mountain. From the top of the mountain you can see for over 100 miles.

Instead of coming back from Bill Cody's grave on Lookout Mountain by road I cut down the mountain side and across the fields toward Golden. This, I believe, is the most beautiful time of the year. The grass on the hill sides was green and soft under foot. I followed a small stream (Bear Creek) for awhile as it wound down the hill, sometimes passing through wooded sections that were damp and wet with many ferns, Solomon Seals, shooting stars and buttercups thriving in the richness of the loamy soil. The stream would then cut across the open field and bounce down the rock slopes of a sudden incline, passing beautiful wild cactuses in full bloom with their waxy yellow blossom atop a thorny base. The wild blue lupines, yellow columbines and the white Mariposa lily all were blooming in profusion, lending their beauty to the scene, making this one of the most pleasant of walks on a warm summer’s day.

I got a ride from Golden to Denver and I went right to Mrs. Russell’s house. I helped her pick strawberries and then set up a pup tent with Jim in the back yard. After supper at the Russell’s I went to Jim Tincomb’s patrol meeting. They were getting ready for their overnight camping trip to Selida where they were going to hunt for rocks and minerals. Each patrol in their troop has one troop committeeman looking after it. It is he who goes with the boys when they go camping and on various hikes. After the patrol meeting I went back to the Russel’s home. Jim and I went to sleep in the tent. It rained all night long. I didn’t get the least bit wet but Jim did because his ground cloth protruded out from under the tent and the water came right in on it. My sleeping bag cover is no good. It sweats. My sleeping bag was wet from the moisture inside of the cover. Jim Tincomb told me at the patrol meeting that they hadn’t been able to get enough transportation to take me along on the trip so tomorrow I’ll start for Pueblo.

June 21
I took a bus from Barnum to Santa Fe highway and started hitch hiking. Pueblo is 114 miles away and I hope to get there by evening. I got a ride to Littleton which is about 12 miles from Denver. From there I got a ride straight to Colorado Springs. From there I got a ride that let me off about 25 miles from Pueblo. Then it started to rain. And it did rain. No one would pick me up so I finally took a bus the rest of the way. I got into Pueblo about 4:30 and went right away to look up Ida Mayer whom Mrs. Hancock (of Manasquan) suggested that I see. When I got there I found her ill in bed. She had just come home from the hospital after having had a heart attack. I had supper there and then got a bed at the YMCA.

June 22
I woke up about 8:30, washed, packed my equipment and left the YMCA. I had breakfast and then walked as far as Vineland. It took me 2 hr and 15 minutes to get there. It is only ten miles from Pueblo. The Courtesy Patrol (police) stopped me and told me to walk facing traffic, i.e., on the left side of the road. I did. When I saw or heard a car coming I crossed the highway and walked toward it while hitch hiking the other direction. Finally I got to Vineland. Vineland is a Mexican village consisting of two coffee shops and a gas station. I had a bottle of “pop” in one of the cafes and then sat on my pack a short way past the gas station and put out my thumb. A bunch of Mexican boys sat on the café steps a short way down the other side of the block and watched me. They were continually shooting firecrackers.

I finally got a ride to Avondale which was about 10 miles further down the road. From there I got a ride for about 3 miles further. I was left off by a bend in the highway where there was one gas station. I sat out there for 2-1/2 hours without getting a ride. I finally went into the gas station and talked awhile with the attendant. As soon as I got out to the road again a new Chevrolet panel body truck stopped and picked me up. It had only gone 85 miles since coming from the factory. Well he took me straight into La Junta. I had something to eat and then took a room in the Colorado Hotel for $1.50 for the night. It had hot and cold running water which I wanted to do my wash. I did my laundry and then went to sleep.

June 23
I awoke at 8:30 a.m. and packed up. I went to the Fred Harvey restaurant for breakfast. There were two men sitting a few seats away from me who were talking about the Koshare Indian Dancers. They were discussing where the chiefs were to be placed and about makeup they bought. From their talk I imagined them to be leaders in the troop but I didn’t say anything to them. After they left I asked the waitress who they were. She told me that the heavy set man was Buck Burshears who is the scoutmaster of Troop 230, better known as the Koshare Indians.

The waitress told me that the scouts had a clubhouse on 8th Ave. so I went up there to look at it. It was quite a nice building. It was closed when I was there so I couldn’t see much of the inside. I went back to town and bought a community strip for my badge collection. While there I asked the man who was waiting on me if the boys were going to put on the same performance both nights. He didn’t know but he went outside and called in a fellow who was washing the windows and asked him. This boy was one of the braves.

We got to talking and we arranged to meet at about 7 p.m. and go to Buck’s house together. After lunch I did some writing, paid for my room for 3 more nights at a cost of 3 dollars and then went to Bent’s Fort Museum. There I saw the Horace Greely Stage Coach, many ancient fire arms, Indian relics and minerals of the locality. The lady in charge was very kind and courteous and gave me some post cards, a Koshare Indian Dancers Book and a Koshare sticker.

After I left there I went to a book store where there were a lot of photographs on exhibit of the Koshares. The young man who owned the store is the Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 230, Bill Cash. I introduced myself and we got to talking. I looked over the photographs he had for sale and asked him if I could order them in September when I got home. He said I could and gave me a photograph as a gift.

After supper I went to Bob Hurt’s house. He took me to Buck Burshears house and introduced me to Buck. Buck took me down into the cellar where he has his den. In the first part of the basement was a workshop and model railroad. His railroad has been shown in Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Railroading and numerous other magazines.

You step through a doorway and you are in another world. You are in the world of the American Indian. Buck has furnished this room with Indian paintings, rugs, pottery, costumes, arrowheads, stone implements and household articles. The couches are covered with Indian blankets. There are numerous trunks around the wall that are full of Indian costumes, jewelry and hand work. When I first came in I was introduced to Wade Williams, an artist from Taos and a friend of his, Charles Reynolds, who is also from Taos.

Many of the Koshare Indians were introduced to me. I met the head chief of the Koshare Tribe. There were no less than 15 scouts coming in to visit or work in Buck’s shop and den during the evening. This, I found out, goes on every night. Wade brought in his trunk full of Indian costumes which he had brought for the dance. He had two pair of beautiful beaded moccasins, a beaded vest, two pair of beaded buckskin gloves, 2 pair of beaded leggings, a loin cloth, 2 bone necklaces, a pipe bag, headdress and various other pieces of costume.

After all the scouts had left I started to leave and Buck offered me a ride downtown as he was taking his mother and guests down for ice cream. I went with him and he asked me to join thin in having a dish of ice cream. After finishing I said good-night and went to my room and fell asleep.

June 24
Helped set up teepees in field.

June 25
Attended Koshare show. Tonight I have seen one of the most impressive shows I think that I ever shall see. The show was the annual Koshare dance performance given by the scouts of troop 230, LaJunta, Colorado to an audience of over 3,000 persons from many parts of the mid west and further (including this guy from New Jersey.)

June 26
I arose about 7:30 a.m. and washed in the wash room under the stadium. Then I went to one of the scout’s houses for breakfast. After breakfast I went to the highway leading to Trinidad and put out my thumb. I finally got tired of waiting and decided to walk. I walked for hours and wasn’t able to get a ride all the while. I ate some ration bars and drank some water for lunch. I got to a town marked on my map as being 10 miles from La Junta. It consisted of one building and a water pump. I walked on and on, finally getting to a town which consisted of two gas stations, a general store, two houses and a railroad station.

I asked a driver that pulled up at the gas station if he would give me a ride to Trinidad. He was from California and was traveling with his wife. He consented to give me a ride that far. When I got to Trinidad I got a hotel room and after having supper went to sleep.

June 27
After breakfast I got out on the road and got a ride right away to Raton, New Mexico. From Raton I got a ride from a man making recordings of various types of Spanish spoken in New Mexico for the University of New Mexico. He let me off in Cimarron from where I got a ride to Philmont Scout Ranch in a car owned by one of the ranch staff.

At ranch headquarters I asked “Doc” if it were possible for me to stay there for a few days. He said that I would have to see Mr. Bullock who was camping director. Mr. Bullock allowed me to stay on the ranch for a cost of 50 cents per meal. I had supper in the mess hall after which I went with a wagon train of boys from Iowa to the meeting room where a Navajo Indian gave us a short talk on how an Indian trained to become a Chief.

I returned to the Rocky Mountain shelter to go to sleep. Mr. Johnson was talking to some boys at the far end of the shelter, so I went over to see what was going on. He was telling them some Indian legends. He finally told the Indian story of the creation of the world and how things got the way they are now, i.e., the stars, sun, moon in the sky, the flying fish, the birds, beasts, etc. He spoke for about three hours and his soft musical voice almost put me to sleep. It was very interesting to listen to and very kind of Mr. Johnson to tell it to us.

Mr. Johnson was born in southern Alaska and raised under the old customs. He is now living on a reservation in New Mexico because it is easier to live there than in Alaska.

June 28
I awoke with the sun in my eyes. Some of the fellows were already up, trying to get a picture of some elk on the ridge behind the shelter. The boys from Iowa and I piled into a truck after breakfast and went to Camp Ponil. At Ponil I met Tex Owen, Assistant Camp Director and also Camp Naturalist. We gabbed of old times.

I was given a bunk in the long house and spread out my junk there. I heard a shot behind the camp director’s house and went out to investigate. I found that the director’s wife had just shot a rattlesnake. One of her small children had come into the house and said they heard a noise in the bushes. Mrs. Johnson grabbed a shot gun and shot the rattler she found there. With her permission I took the rattles which I sent home. There were seven rattles and a button. Jim Smith gave me a haircut. He used barber’s clippers and a large pair of shears. He almost got my ear once. I think he did a darn good job for a quarter. A hot bath and then to bed.

June 29
Jim lit the kerosene stove before breakfast so as to have hot water for a shower afterward. At breakfast one of the fellows from over in the Wagon Train encampment came over and said the long house was on fire. Zoom! Everybody was outside in no time flat. The fire was rapidly put out and the only damage incurred was a pretty well burnt up bathroom.

The priest came at about 11:00 a.m. and said mass for 3 boys. After dinner I went back to headquarters with him. I couldn’t locate my notebook when I left so I asked Bob Owen to find it and mail it to me. When back at headquarters I washed my clothes. Tex showed up at the shelter soon after to be treated by the camp doctor for a foot ailment.

June 30
I left Philmont Ranch headquarters soon after breakfast. My cost for the stay on the ranch came to $5.00. I got a ride in a dilapidated hearse from Cimarron through the Cimarron Canyon to Eagle Nest. Eagle Nest is a small village in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in northern New Mexico. It is on the edge of a lake and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

The community school house was made of logs and perfectly fitted the atmosphere of the area. I got a ride out of Eagle Nest on the back of a logging truck. They took me to Taos. On the way we went through Carson National Forest. It was a very scenic ride and I believe I saw it from the best possible position. When I arrived in Taos I went immediately to Charles Reynolds Gift Shop. There I contacted Charles Junior and we visited Kit Carson’s house in Taos. After lunch we went out to the Taos Pueblo. We wandered around the pueblo for a while. I came to the conclusion that the Indians who lived there were a filthy lot and were too commercialized to gain any respect from me as being authentic American Indians. Charles and I found a few pieces of pottery in the ruins of the old mission.

After some supper down town on the plaza I took my pack and went up in the mountains to camp for the night. The following I wrote while waiting for the sun to go down: I have just climbed to the top of the first ridge of mountains to the north east of Taos. It was a tough climb over rock ground. There is only lodge pole pine, sage brush and cactus growing on these slopes. The sun is now setting behind the ridge of mountains on the other side of Taos from me. The Taos Indian pueblo can be seen to the right at the foot of the same range of mountains I am on. I am trespassing on Indian property.

There is just an orange glow left over the mountains across from me and the moon has risen to about 15 degrees behind me. A strong westerly wind is blowing and it is quite cool. Ants are bothering me so I guess I will have to use that insect repellent lotion. My bed roll will have to be laid out on rocky ground.

Manasquan, NJ

Manasquan, N.J.

In 1942, we moved from the city to the rural countryside located west of the township of Manasquan. It was then a small beach front town of about 4000 residents, on the Jersey coast about 7 miles south of Asbury Park. In the summer the population would increase to about 12,000. We were about 60 miles from New York City which we could get to easily via the Jersey Central RR which went right through town.

The house my parents bought was just outside the city limits of Manasquan in Wall Township. Accordingly we boys went to Allenwood Grammar School rather than to a grammar school in Manasquan. Beyond our house, to the west, were woods and farms, the main north-south highway and many small villages. The house faced an unpaved road, Tecumseh Place. Many of the nearby roads had Indian names.

The grammar school that we had transferred to was a four-room affair located out in the farming area of the county.  The 7th and 8thgrades shared one room.  I will never forget my first day of school in that little country school house.  We three Drake boys dressed in our Sunday School best for that event which meant we wore knickers.  We were subjected to merciless ridicule and informed our mother we would never again wear those knickers.  As I recall there were 15 of us in the 7th grade and 10 in the 8th grade.

One of the teachers in our little grammar school has an immense fossilized shark’s tooth on her desk which she said she found in a farm field that in the early days of settlement in the area had been fertilized with marl.  I found out that marl pits in Monmouth County had produced over 15,000 tons of marl in 1880 that was spread over the farm fields. I started looking for fossils in earnest.

Of special interest to me was that the marl contained fossilized remains of prehistoric sharks and other sea life.  So what did this new ‘country bumpkin’ do to find the sharks teeth?  After the first heavy rain following the fall plowing of the old farm fields in the area I would spend days on end walking the newly turned furrows looking for fossils.  And find them I did.  But I found something more.  Some of the fields were former Native American village sites and therein I would find arrow heads.  Wow!

My collection of arrowheads, fossils and other ‘finds’ was steadily growing.  Somehow, but I can not recall how or where, I located a place where streams would flow through a meadow and along the edge of these streams I would find bits of fossilized squid parts called belemnites. While still in grammar school, I would hitch-hike to New York City from our town or take the Jersey Central train and spend the day in the museums of NYC. I was hounded the staff of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, getting them to identify my finds.  I ended up selling belemnites to the visitor’s store in the museum.

One day when I was telling my classmates about my expeditions to NYC  and several asked if they could go with me. I organized a field trip for six or so of the class. Without telling our teacher or parents, one Friday we took the early train to NYC for a day of adventure. We failed to anticipate the commotion this caused that day in school or in our homes when our teacher called the parents of the students missing from class.  Classmates told the principal (teacher of the 7th and 8th grades) where we had gone so the families were at the Manasquan railroad station late that afternoon when our train arrived.  Good, that gave us a ride home for individualized reprimands from the parents.

Patty Worster, a classmate who lived near us told me that we would be in deep trouble on Monday as Dick Wilson, Principal/teacher, had introduced square root to the class and there would be an exam on Monday. To prepare for the exam I asked my dad to teach me and my brothers how to calculate the square root of a number, which he did.  Come Monday Dick Wilson said “Ducks to the board” which meant that the three Drake brothers were to go to the blackboard.  Once there, he gave us a number and instructed us to take the square root of it, which we proceeded to do.  “Stop.” He called.  “What are you doing?” “Taking the square root as you asked” we responded.  It turned out that the method we were using was not the way he taught the rest of the class to do it.  He told us to erase what we had written and sit down and learn to do it his way.  As I recall the only reaction to our field trip was that we had to ask permission if we ever planned to do it again.

While attending the Allenwood Grammar School, the local farmers would come to the school at 1 p.m. to hire farm workers if they had a crop that needed picking. Boys in the 7th and 8th grades would be let out at that time to help “in the war effort” as most young men were in the military, leaving a real need for farm workers. Since my brothers and I were a full head taller than any other kids in the school, we always were among the first hired.

The best money I ever made was following the potato picker who unearthed the potatoes and left them atop the row.  We would follow with a gunny sack and for every hundred pound gunny sack we filled we got ten cents.  I was able to pick and take to the end of the row at least ten gunny sack per hour, i.e., half a ton of potatoes per hour and earned a dollar per hour. This is when clerks in stores in town earned at most 35 cents per hour. I was rolling in money but it never lasted long as my father had announced the year prior that he and our mother would provide food on the table and a roof over our heads but everything else we would have to buy with our own money – hobby equipment, books, bicycle, clothing, etc.

I owe a lot to Dick Wilson, my 7th and 8th grade teacher. One day in 1943 as I stared out the classroom window a blur appeared in my vision and as I focused, there was Dick Wilson looking at me.  “You look bored” he said.  I agreed I was.  “Go out and catch a frog” he said which I easily did as the school was adjacent to the Manasquan River and lots of frogs lived along the edge.  When I got back to the classroom he had a dissecting pan and a college work book on dissecting a frog.  He chloroformed the frog and set me to work dissecting it and filling out the work book.

Later he got me involved in making a beam balance and a jolly balance for determining the specific gravity of rocks and minerals which I was then collecting.  He also taught me the use of a Bunsen burner for determining the chemical content of rocks.  A number of my classmates had trap lines so he helped me put together a collection of skulls of local animals leading to an interest in osteology.  I made plaster-of-Paris casts of foot prints of animals that I found impressed in the mud.

The attic of our house was unfinished and there I kept my collections of skulls, fossils, arrow heads, wood samples of all trees in the region, sea shells, minerals and many other things. I was a budding naturalist and collector. I literally knew all of the wild flowers within 12 miles of my home and had extensive pressed flower collections of all those varieties.  The same with moths, butterflies, bugs and insects of all varieties.  I literally had a natural science museum in the attic of our house there in Manasquan.

It didn’t stop there.  One day Dick Wilson saw me reading a book from the Hardy Boys series and suggested that I could spend my time reading better works than that.  He brought me a copy of “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens and then led me through many of the modern classics.  Dick Wilson helped me challenge my potential in many fields for which I shall be eternally grateful.  When I graduated from the 8th grade my report card had 71 “A” grades and 5 “B” grades (in music).

Irvington, NJ

As my mother lay in bed in the hospital that 3rd day of July in 1930 with twin boys now newly added to the family, a compassionate woman in the bed next to her said “Don’t worry my dear, one of them usually dies.”  One more mouth to feed during the depression was not necessarily considered a bountiful gift.  As we grew older my younger brother (by 5 minutes) Roy and I would often argue which of us was dead.  I won the argument as he died a number of years ago while I am still here and can write about that comment.

Unfortunately, one of my earliest memories, certainly before age four, is of my mother being beaten by my father, mother screaming, the police coming, dad fleeing from the apartment, police searching the apartment with their flashlights and the next morning the three of us boys with our mother appearing in court.  That was a scene that repeated itself in one form or another until I left home for good many years later.

My mother was the principal wage earner in our family during those depression years as she worked as a legal secretary in a law firm in Newark, New Jersey five and a half days a week.  I am sure that added to my father’s poor sense of self worth as he was often out of work until the beginning of the 2nd World War when he was hired as an electrician with the New Jersey power and light company.  While we were not really suffering in the depression I can recall many times getting donated baskets of food with a turkey or chicken set on our porch for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I can also recall being called into the office of the school nurse and given gifts of clean underwear. 

Money was hard to come by but you could purchase a loaf of bread for a nickel.  When old enough, probably by age 10 or 11, perhaps even earlier, I had a magazine route selling the Liberty Magazine and the Saturday Evening Post.    From time to time my grandmother (on my mother’s side) would give me a nickel if I would take my wagon to the empty lot at the end of the block and come back with it full of soil which she would dump on the cinder pile forming between our two story house and that next door.  That’s where we dumped the cinders from the coal furnace.  On occasion my grandmother would hand me a bucket and a small scoop and told to follow the horse drawn ice wagon and if I came back with the bucket with horse manure I was given another nickel.  She would put the manure in the water filled rain barrel to create her ‘manure tea’ which she would then use to fertilize the flowers she was raising on that pile of cinders and dirt.  If a passing neighbor admired her flowers she would cut a small bouquet and give it to them.  I asked her why, after so much work, was she giving her flowers away and she responded “It is a sin to have so much beauty and not share it.” 

In her later years my mother once told me how badly she felt that there were times when we could not afford to have a Christmas tree in the house for the holiday season.  I responded by telling her that I did not remember such but as far back as I could remember every Christmas each of us boys got at least one book as a Christmas gift.  As I think back on those Christmas books I realize that they had a significant impact on my later activities as often the books dealt with children in other nations and cultures.   I recall them as books by Madeline Brandies and they dealt with children in Ireland, France, Belgium, Mexico, Germany and other countries and cultures.  Even before I was ten years old I was aware of other nations and other ways of life.  That was the seed for my future travels and career commitments.

Often on Saturday afternoons or on Sundays we boys and mom would go on a walk to the South Mountain Reservation, a distance of about 4 miles and then walk home again.  When I was 9 or 10 years old the Cub Scout Master for our Cub Scout Pack took the pack on that same hike.  At the Reservation we active youngsters exhausted the Cub Master and he announced that we would be taking the bus back to Irvington rather than walking the distance.  I informed him that I would walk.  “No! We are all going on the bus together.”  Again I refused saying that I did not have the nickel for the bus fare.  He said he would loan it to me.  Again I refused, saying I would walk.  He gave up and told me that I was now out of the Cub Pack since I would not follow his directions and I could do as I pleased.  Well, my mother had other ideas and I was back in the pack at their next meeting.  Since then I was thrown out of the Boy Scouts of America two more times but that’s stories for later.

One of the elements that stands out in my memories of those first 11 years of life in Irvington was my involvement in art.  About 1939 my mother and dad decided that each of us boys would study a musical instrument.  Roy chose cello and studied with the principal of the primary school we attended.  Stanley chose piano which our dad could play a bit.  I chose violin but after about two months decided I did not like it and asked if I could take art lessons instead.  With an affirmative response I enrolled in the Newark Academy of Art and Saturday mornings I would take the bus to Newark to attend art classes. 

Frankly, I remember little of the art classes but I do remember that I began collecting clippings on art from the Rotogravure section of the Sunday newspapers and magazines that we got or I pulled from garbage cans in the neighborhood.  By the fall of 1941 I had 13 large newsprint scrapbooks filled with clippings of works of art from all epochs and all parts of the world.  At that time I subscribed to the catalogue of the Associated American Artists that listed lithographs by Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood and over a hundred other contemporary artists for as little as $5.00 each.  I didn’t have the money to purchase their art work but I could write to them for the cost of a postage stamp which I did.  The only artist I still remember exchanging letters with was Grant Wood.  He encouraged me to pursue a career in art.  When I was 11 years old I designed my future home and it had a 4,000 sq. ft art gallery in it.  That all went by the wayside when we moved from north Jersey to the coast. 

In fourth or fifth grade we learned that one could find fossils in coal so I sat on the top of the coal pile in the basement of our house one Saturday and went through that pile, one piece of coal at a time until I had quite a pile of fossils.  But I was also black from head to toe with coal dust as were my clothes.  Before I could join the family and show them my new treasures I was consigned to the tub and my clothes were put in the wash.  Such was the beginning of my collection of fossils. 

When getting soil from the lot at the end of our block for grandma’s garden I noticed a large sandstone boulder that had sea shells in it which I realized were fossils so I got a sledge hammer and chisel and chopped off several pieces.  I gave one of those rocks to the Newark Museum which they accepted for their collection.  Several years later, in 1943, I received a formal card from the Museum Director informing me that the piece of fossiliferous sandstone containing brachiopods that I had donated to the museum was now on display in the Science Department on the third floor of the museum.  With that recognition I felt I was on my way to becoming a certified paleontologist which gave a boost to my pursuit of research in that field.