Vietnam Jeeps in 1964

I was recently contacted by Derek Redmond, webmaster at The CJ3B Page, which contains the best collection of Jeep models I’ve ever seen, complete with great photos of those Jeeps at work in their native environments – usually military.

Derek wanted to post some of my Jeep photos from Ban Me Thuot, Vietnam, and I gave my blessing. You can see his new page Jeeps in Vietnam, 1963-1964 here.

Don’t miss the rest of his great collection at The CJ3B Page, though!


Ferry along the route from Ban Me Thuot to Gia Nghia and Da Lat. Photo copyright Alex Forbes. “Vietnam Jeeps in 1964” photos used with permission.

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Maine, Summer of 1959

I recently scanned part of an old family album. We’d vacationed in the East in 1959, spending a few days on a family island in Maine. Annotations are sparse. Many photos were lost over the years. These give you some idea of what it was like when a kid’s best dream came true in 1959. In Galleries.

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Rae Lakes Climb – Stuck!

27-My-Climb.jpg ... Click image for 1024x768 desktop file.

I’ve had this photo on my desktop for a couple of days and thought I ought to share it. This is a small unnamed mountain in the Rae Lakes Basin, Kings Canyon National Park, California. It sits practically in the shadow of Painted Lady, a more celebrated mountain in the vicinity of camp. I camped in a nice site overlooking the Rae Lakes in 1972, my one luxurious layover in a tough 7-day solo circuit.

The story behind this mountain, I suspect, has been told somewhere before: looking for a nice non-technical rock climb and an opportunity for some hard-to-get photographs, I climbed up this mountain with my little Rollei B-35 camera and  a T-shirt. I am not a trained rock climber but I used to be pretty good at free-climbing my way up some interesting ascents. I did get some nice photos, once of which is linked here.

Trouble is, I’m not as good climbing down, and I got stuck.

I attempted to retrace my ascent going down, but found I hadn’t paid attention. If you can right-click the image to “open in a new window”, you’ll get a 1024×768 desktop image. You can pretty much see how I must have gotten up: zig-zag up the side frontally, as you see it in this picture, to the 45-degree slab near the top, and then ascend carefully to the top.

Going down, I believe I got stuck on the ledge that’s lined with stunted trees about a quarter of the way down. The trouble turned out to be,  looking over the edge, you can’t see which part of the ledge gives the most favorable holds for climbing down. I suspect I originally got there by zagging in from way over to the right. I have no idea where in that ledge I was on the descent down, but it was too steep to climb, I couldn’t see, and frankly I was beginning to panic. It was getting darker, and COLD.

I finally picked the shortest sheer drop I cound find, climbed down a few feet on the seat of my pants, and jumped. I landed safely on a ledge below, and the rest was easy sledding, or, well, scree sliding.

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Sierra Buttes

09-Sierra-Buttes.jpg ... Click image for 1024x691 desktop file.

By popular demand: a good friend and I were discussing the old days around Sierra City, California – turns out we both know that neck of the woods. So I hunted up the scan of the old color slides, posted here. Click the image for a fine desktop-size 1024×691 image.

Seen from town or outlying campsites, “The Buttes” were almost hidden behind towering fir and pine. This photo was taken with a Nikorrex 35mm from a hiking trail (the John Muir Trail, actually), a thousand or so feet above camp.

This is a respectable mountain, presiding over man’s activities in the area going back to the days of the gold rush. And there are tales of it holding gold – a PG&E lineman was reported to have found a massive fist-size nugget by kicking the same rock on the trail year after year, until one year he noticed shiny scratch marks. 

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Painted Lady

Painted Lady, Rae Lakes, Kings Canyon ... Click image for 1024x768 desktop file.

I recently posted an article on place names, a review of a wonderful book Names On The Land by George R. Stewart, in Writing Notes. In the article I posted a photo of a mountain in the Rae Lakes of Kings Canyon National Park, to illustrate how sometimes a prominent feature of a landmark will suggest its name.

I knew at the time the photograph I located did not show off the feature exactly as I had remembered photographing it (in 1972), but I haven’t looked at this collection in a long time, so I posted it anyway. This photo shows off Painted Lady to better advantage, or, perhaps, disadvantage. From the eyes of the unknown surveyor or prospector who first saw and named it, the red bands of the Painted Lady depict, in a certain light, an image which can be imagined as a lady reclining, left to right, inviting the further attentions of her suitor.

I always supposed that the person who first saw that in the features of the peak, and named it thusly, probably was dipping into the medicinal whiskey, and may not have seen female companionship in quite a many moons. But here you have it, taken at sunset with a compact Rollei B35, in 1972.

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