Author Topic: Chuck Yeager Story  (Read 22004 times)

wshawkins

  • East Side Hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3524
  • Got to love the Eastern Sierra
    • View Profile
Chuck Yeager Story
« on: April 06, 2012, 07:22:22 AM »
Thought I would share something not too old and the hero of this story is still with us today.  If I could trade places with anybody and live the life they did, this would be an easy choice.  It’s time to start living the life you dreamed about.  Let me know what you think!


Chuck Yeager Story


Chuck Yeager, a true hero and noted Air Force fighter pilot, started his career as a private and retired a major general.  He trained as a fighter pilot and flew many missions in World War 2 and became a decorated combat ace.  In one mission alone he shot down five enemy aircraft for an “ace in a day”.  He is one of the "toughest" pilots, both mentally and physically, in aviation history, and few have ever matched his piloting skills.


Ripping through the sound barrier in a bullet-shaped orange rocket plane, battling Messerschmitt’s in the cold European skies, testing exotic aircraft of all shapes and sizes in the bleak Mojave desert, hooting and hollering with friends on crazy drunken misadventures--it all sounds too fun to be legal!


What's more, he lived the kind of life that people don't seem to believe in anymore, the life of the self-made man who rises from nothing, who picks himself up by his own bootstraps and succeeds through good ol' Yankee Doodle initiative, ability and gumption.


Chuck Yeager WW11 fighter plane



After the war he remained with the Air force and became a test pilot, breaking many speed records.  He was first to break the sound barrier, Mach 1, Mach 2 and went to Mach 2.4 in 1953 with the rocket-powered X-1A fighter plane.


Chuck Yeager X-1A Rocket Powered Fighter Plane



Retirement allowed Yeager more time to return to his roots and his love of the outdoors. And nothing came between his two-week treks in early July through the High Sierras where he angled for the precious golden trout.  His favorite fishing trips was to catch golden trout which he extols as one of the best game fish and best eating fish to be found.


Operation Golden Trout


In 1964, "Operation Golden Trout" was a go.  Chuck and a USAF general had been drinking in the officer's club at Edwards AF base and after getting pretty smashed decided to go on a fishing trip for a few days. They got dropped off with all their camping and fishing equipment at the golden lake, but when the pilot returned to pick them up a few days later the altitude along with four passengers instead of two, plus all the equipment and golden trout caught was more weight than the chopper could lift.  It crashed into the lake but Chuck, the general, pilot and co-pilot got out before it sunk.  They hiked out and the general sent a recovery team back to salvage what they could. 


Each July Chuck Yeager undertakes a backpacking/fishing trip that would cripple many a younger man. "Years ago, when I was flying over the Mount Whitney area," he says, "I spotted this lake way up in the High Sierra—gin-clear and teeming with trout, up there above the timberline. Lake at 13,000 feet and the golden trout spawn in there. We pack in on foot 25 miles each way.

 
Fondly, he produces a well-thumbed pack of color prints: The fish, some up to four and a half pounds, are the color of old gold. Looking at them, his blue eyes sparkle under the curly gray hair much as they must have many years ago.

 
"When you really stop to think about it," he says, "finding that lake like that, just with the luck of the flight pattern, that's one of the real rewards of flying. Those trout up there—they've got the real Right Stuff."


Chuck Yeager




« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 09:04:42 AM by wshawkins »
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

saudust

  • Eastern Sierra Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 1539
    • View Profile
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2012, 08:41:00 AM »
wshawkins,

125 miles each way???  Sounds like he's trying to hide a CSI lake!  He is truly a fisherman!  What a marvelous man and historic history.  Good post!
Let me wake laughing from a nap in the afternoon under the aspens in the fall.

Gary C.

  • Rock Creek Guide
  • *****
  • Posts: 968
    • View Profile
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2012, 09:10:16 AM »
Having been born here in the AV and working aircraft most of my life including several years at Edwards I'm pretty familiar with the stories of Yeagers exploits. If even half of the things I've heard are true he must have been a heck of a guy.

Fredb

  • Guest
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2012, 09:56:54 AM »
I have seen him several times at Edwards breaking the sound barrier, two of my favorite outings Air Shows and visiting the Sierra
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 07:08:46 AM by Fredb »

Trev Dog

  • Rock Creek Local
  • ****
  • Posts: 449
    • View Profile
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2012, 07:00:41 AM »
Great Story wshawkins! I knew about his flying accomplishments but did not know about his adventures in the Sierras. Thank's again!

wshawkins

  • East Side Hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3524
  • Got to love the Eastern Sierra
    • View Profile
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2012, 09:04:10 AM »
Thanks for all the nice comments!

125 miles each way was a “typo” on my part.  Should read as “25 miles each way”.

Most information is from his book, “Yeager: An Autobiography” [Paperback], Chuck Yeager (Author).  Read the chapter titled “Operation Golden Trout” and he spills the beans were the great golden trout fishing hole is at.
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

saudust

  • Eastern Sierra Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 1539
    • View Profile
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2012, 09:29:39 AM »
Whew!  I was tired thinking about 125 miles.  Next stop, "Operation golden Trout".   8)
Thanks much, wshawkins.
Let me wake laughing from a nap in the afternoon under the aspens in the fall.

vhbcinc

  • Weekender
  • ***
  • Posts: 245
    • View Profile
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2012, 08:20:19 PM »
Gen. Yeager wrote a book within which he describes some of his exploits in the Sierras.  The book is entitled "Press On".  It is very good.

As a side note, he once told me a story which was corroborated by a pesron involved in the incident.  Once while returning to Muroc (Edwards AFB) his F-84 Thunderstreak was heard calling out for a KC-97 refueling tanker because it was almost out of fuel.  My golfing buddy was in that KC-97 and received the transmission.

Yeager's F-84 was 10,000 about the KC-97 and in order to maintain lift it had to dive to gain speed.  The F-84 dove to the altitude of the KC-97 with the hope of getting enough fuel to return to Muroc.  Unfortunately the fuel recepticle on the Thunderstreak was not functioning correctly.  Although the recepticle extended, it would not take in fuel.

Rather than panic, Yeager was able to "plug into" the refueling line of the KC-97 and was towed gingerly for 10 miles until he was able to disengage and then make a dead stick landing at Muroc.

Yeager promised the boom operator of the KC-97 dinner and drinks...and made good on that promise at the Mission Inn in Riverside that very night.

As it has been said many times before, necessity is the mother of invention...even when inder duress!

wshawkins

  • East Side Hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3524
  • Got to love the Eastern Sierra
    • View Profile
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2012, 01:24:24 PM »
True, Crabtree Lakes was one of his favorite golden trout lakes, but he had many more!  He just liked fishing for golden trout as they were the best tasting fish according to Yeager.  A couple of quotes from Chuck Yeager: 

"They’re so delicious that once you eat some, you’d crawl halfway to heaven to have some more!"

"We caught a batch, fried them up, and just rolled our eyes to heaven!"


On the copter crash, that happened at Rocky Basin Lakes.
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

Sierraslam

  • Guest
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2012, 08:20:18 PM »
Lots of Golden opportunities over New Army Pass. I think New Army goes about 12,400 ft. Pretty good walk.

wshawkins

  • East Side Hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3524
  • Got to love the Eastern Sierra
    • View Profile
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2012, 09:57:41 PM »
Been there once in the 90’s and is a pretty area.  But take the Cottonwood Pass trail instead of the New Army Pass trail and will cut 2 miles off each way.  Plan to spend your first night at Big Whitney Meadows.

Next day fill up your water bottles as there is no water until you reach the Rocky Basin Lakes.  Follow the trail west to the lakes and at the split in the trail take the right fork up over the ridge to the lakes.  Go around the first large lake to the west side and camp in the sandy area between the 2 lower lakes for the best campsites.

No fishing in these lakes as they have removed all the fish about 10 years ago or so.  Lots of Golden opportunities over New Army Pass as Sierraslam says, but none at these lakes!


Rocky Basin Lakes

"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

Sierraslam

  • Guest
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2012, 08:26:57 AM »
Bummer.

wshawkins

  • East Side Hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3524
  • Got to love the Eastern Sierra
    • View Profile
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2012, 04:56:17 PM »
Yeager was referring to when he first came to California and was stationed at Muroc Army Air Field (Now Edwards Air Force Base) in 1945.  Back then, there was no road to Horseshoe Meadows.  That road (Horseshoe Meadows Road) was not built until 1967, and it was just a dirt road then.  I believed they started paving the road around in the 80’s.  Anyway, the old road stopped at Carroll Creek pack station at the bottom of the mountain.  You would park your car there and you hiked up to Horseshoe Meadows and Cottonwood Lakes, or wherever your destination was.  It would have been a long hike to Rocky Basin Lakes back then.  25 miles sounds about right.
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

OldSarge

  • Rock Creek Guide
  • *****
  • Posts: 518
    • View Profile
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2012, 04:58:09 PM »
In '86, our crew hiked in to Rocky Basin Lakes. We camped a few days at the end of the road just past the Cottonwood Creek trailhead. The road did not go into Horseshoe Meadows back then. We fished for Goldens 10-20 feet from the road.

After aclimating for a while, we took off across Horseshoe Meadows, over Cottonwood Pass (not much of a pass), down along Stokes Stringer, and then across Big Whitney Meadow. There are lots of tributaries that flow down to the Kern. Most of them were teeming with GoldenBow hybrids.

We then continued on the trail to Barigan Stringer. Hawk is right, it's a dry, dusty pull after you cross Big Whitney Meadow. We got to within a mile, or so, from the lakes and ran out of steam and daylight at about the same time. We dry camped for the night, and then made the last pull into the basin in the morning.

It was a beautiful place, with multiple places to fish. We caught Goldens, Bows, and hybrids. All were good eating. Very few people back there; only serious Sierra folks.

We climbed the wall, south of the basin, and the view from the top is amazing. It's like the surface of the moon up there. Nothing large living, but there were stumps of large trees. You could look down the east side to Funston Lake, and after moving north along the ridges, you could almost see forever, down into a different Rock Creek.

On the way out, we decided not to walk on our own footprints, and cross-countried over to the trail to Siberian Pass. After spending the night just below the pass, we traversed the pass and went down into and across the canyon. We then gained the New Army Pass trail, and went up and over into the Cottonwoods. We continued on down and out to the trailhead by the road.

Great trip; long haul out. I wanted to go back, but now...not unless I get a real hankering for frog legs.

Pity. 

OldSarge
 
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 06:08:50 PM by OldSarge »
Smokey's watching you!

wshawkins

  • East Side Hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3524
  • Got to love the Eastern Sierra
    • View Profile
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2012, 01:03:20 PM »
Yes, he has fished out of Rock Creek area at the Hilton Lakes and hiked over the Mono Pass to Pioneer basin Lakes.  He hiked at Mammoth Lakes up Duck Pass to the Fish Creek area to name a few.  But his favorite was hiking from Horseshoe Meadows on the Cottonwoods Lakes Old Army Pass Trailhead, with the Mount Whitney Trailhead a close second.

He did leave his mark, so to speak, at the June Lake Loop close to “saudust” famous fishing hole.  I'm sure He's seen it many times as he walks by with his fishing gear.  And yes, Chuck Yeager admits that was by him many years ago!


Chuck Yeager 1952 June Lake Loop

"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

High Sierra

  • Guest
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2012, 02:21:13 PM »
That carving is 60 years old!  He would have been a young man then. 

Saudust, is your famous fishing hole the "CSI" lake?

saudust

  • Eastern Sierra Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 1539
    • View Profile
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2012, 03:02:00 PM »
General vicinity, High Sierra.  I have probably walked past that tree a dozen times and never looked up from my feet, so now I have a new quest in May...find the Yeager Tree  ;)  There aren't that many trails with aspens that size up there.

Let me wake laughing from a nap in the afternoon under the aspens in the fall.

Sierra Girl

  • Guest
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2012, 05:54:33 PM »
Is there any other place he been to, like Rock Creek area, Mammoth Lakes, etc., where he left his mark?

He left his mark all right!   :)   I have a new quest now, to find this aspen tree in the June Lake Loop.  I do love that area.  I might need a better hint on the location.   ;)
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 05:56:17 PM by Creek Dude »

High Sierra

  • Guest
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2012, 03:39:54 PM »




Hard to beleave that has been up there for 60 years and still looks that good.  I'm thinking it might be harder to find then most of us think.  Great little find of history wshawkins! 

« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 04:21:20 PM by High Sierra »

wshawkins

  • East Side Hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3524
  • Got to love the Eastern Sierra
    • View Profile
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2012, 04:32:14 PM »
I prefer to keep the location under wraps, as this is an open forum.  All it takes is one person to ruin it.  If anyone finds this, great but if you take pictures of it, please keep any obvious background landmarks out of the picture.  That way our children, their children, etc., will be able to enjoy a small piece of history.  Thanks. 
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

saudust

  • Eastern Sierra Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 1539
    • View Profile
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2012, 06:55:16 AM »
Well put, wshawkins.  All it takes is one dodo to ruin something like this.  When I find it, and I will find it, I'll pm you.
Let me wake laughing from a nap in the afternoon under the aspens in the fall.

Heuschele

  • Junior Creeker
  • **
  • Posts: 63
    • View Profile
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2012, 01:59:13 PM »
I find it strange that graffiti/damage that is old or from a famous person (in this case somewhat both) is worth protecting.

If my child did that I would have him volunteer a weekend to that park service or some other good cause as there really is no appropriate restribution for that damage.

This is not the first time I have seen this about old or famous people.  Pompay's Pillar has either Lewis' or Clark's signature (I cannot remember which) carved into the pillar.  It was protected under a pane of plexiglass when I last saw it.

Not quite the same but a castle in Switzerland has Lord Byrant's name carved into a column.  This is not quite the same as he was actually being held prisoner at the time so it is different.  It was also protected under a piece of glass when I saw it and appropriately so as the column has 100s of names carved into it and the signature would have been destoyed if it had been exposed (it is tougher now for people to carve their names into the column as there is an entrance fee and staff for this castle but my first time there it was pretty much visit at will).

Note I am not stating the Yeager signature should not be kept (it definitely should not be destroyed) but I am simply pointing out the irony that we are making a case to protect something that would likely tick most of us off if it where done by a regular person (say it stated "James Jones 1956") instead of Yeager.

wshawkins

  • East Side Hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3524
  • Got to love the Eastern Sierra
    • View Profile
Re: Chuck Yeager Story
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2012, 03:16:27 PM »
I get your point Heuschele.  Old graffiti somehow turns into historic when it gets old enough!  The more famous the person was the more importance it is.  If a ranger caught me or you carving on a tree, a mighty big fine plus community work probably would result.

Yeager’s tree is on a private area and not in a wilderness area.  Not that it makes it right.  But there are a lot of writings out there.  For instance, the sheepherder’s carvings from the late 1800’s and the Paiute and Shoshone rock carvings as old as 8,800 years old.  Their actually graffiti, but you would probably be sent to prison if you decide to deface or destroy these historic pieces.

I love finding these old carvings.  We would know very little about these people if they didn’t scribble on something.  But there is no reason today to carve on trees.



Sheepherder markings 1896 Bishop Canyon



Paiute and Shoshone rock carvings as old as 8,800 years old Owens Valley

"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."