MOUNTAIN LION CHARLIE
By Barend Van Kimball
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Mountain Lion Charlie was a real person. Those few who were fortunate to know him and those who heard hand-me-down tales romanced his deeds unnecessarily. Charlie’s truths are more than sufficient. A mountain of a man, his life began in the late eighteen hundreds and extended through almost three quarters of the twentieth century. His is far different from the typical mountain man tales. There is little typicalness in Charlie’s story. Born in the wilderness, raised in the wilderness like no other, he became truly one with its wild inhabitants, his beloved mountains and above all their spirit. His personal unique existence abounded in adventure. A walking legend in elusive solitude that from the continent-long Rockies to the majestic High Sierra, inhospitable deserts and badlands to inaccessible mountain tops he mysteriously came and went, rarely retracing his steps. Stride for stride, mile by mile no man’s moccasin prints ever trekked more land or blazed new trails. This is his story, from birth to his disappearance.
Barend Van Kimball has spent decades trekking the Eastern Sierra mountain ranges. He was the first white man invited into the Big Pine sweat lodge and taught arrowhead making at the Paiute educational center. Prior to the 1970s he attended graduate school at Pepperdine University and was employed as a human factor engineer in Los Angeles before settling in Bishop, California, the permanent home for him, his wife and his eight children. Love of the great outdoors, the Sierras and the White Mountains are his most endearing pastimes. Owen’s River trout and the occasional mule deer grace his table. He is also the author of Tuck and Nip from Sunstone Press.
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