August of 2003, Kal Brauner
and Amy Carlson, Jim and Phebe Richards, and John, Aaron, age 9,
and I hiked into Wyoming’s Wind River Range. A sign we’re all getting
older, after 10 or 11 miles and 3500 feet of elevation gain plus
another 1000 loss, we made camp at Double Lakes, declared it our
“base,” and made ourselves comfortable. From here we could fish,
swim, make day hikes, or just hang out.
One day, while Kal, Amy,
John and Aaron bagged some of the surrounding territory, Jim, Phebe,
and I shared some of Jim’s famous gourmet coffee and talked around
the campfire in one of those meandering conversations that comfortably
ebbs and flows with no particular aim. Somewhere in that liquid
stream, we touched on the fact that, while John has always shared
trip reports, his overwhelming wealth of knowledge of Washington’s
mountains, and his incredible 50,000+ slide collection were privately
held treasures of significant public interest and value.
"What he really needs,"
Jim declared, "is his own website." With his 60th birthday
rapidly approaching, the time was ripe.
And so began this venture to collect and organize information and lay out the chassis of a vehicle that would allow – no, encourage – John to share his lifelong love with all. As of now, this site is but the barest framework, ready to be filled with John’s vast knowledge and accomplishments, the manifestation of his life’s work.
Many thanks go to Jim and Phebe for
their ideas and encouragement, to Jeff Howbert for helping me identify
and pick out a piece of John’s massive documentation to link to
his website, to Ian MacKay for keeping John busy while Jeff and
I went through his computer files, to Aaron for keeping the secret
and helping wherever he could, and to all of you who took the time
to submit your thoughts, memories, and photos for the “Friends'
Stories” section of this site. For those of you still yearning to
roast/boast John, we'd love to add your stories too. You know the
Thank you, Gregg Brickner,
for allowing us to use your wonderful shot of the Pickets that heads
most every page, and John Lixvar for letting us use your very entertaining
Most of all, thank you Colby Ray for designing and creating the site and serving as our webmaster and for your continuing friendship and support. Without you, this site wouldn’t exist.
January 14, 2004
Copyright 2004, John Roper. All