Peter Stekel writes-
I first remember Tim Stubbs from 1966 when I was a camper because he was always trying to one-up the older staff. They all teased him like an annoying kid brother. He took his troop on a day hike to the Sherman Tree and then to Cresent Meadow and arrived back at Camp just as we were finishing dinner. It appears that Tim either didn't know the route [this being the days when trail maps of the Giant Forest didn't exist] or how long the hike would be [I'd say, off the top of my head today... at least 10 miles] , or both. The Camp Director was not amused. Tim got a lot of razing from everyone for that stunt - staff and campers alike.
My next encounter with Tim Stubbs was in summer of 1972 when I spent July at Camp with Don Williams. Don and I were driving back from grocery shopping in Visalia where it must have been about 110 in the shade. We stopped at Tim's trailer - he was working on the Blister Rust crew at the time - at Ash Mountain and Tim offered me a cold beer. It was the best beer I have ever had. Even if it was a Coors.
Anyway, after two years of junior college I was still undecided on what to major in. Looking back on my previous summers of fun at Camp, I thought forestry would be a good academic change. I wanted to work in the forest. I liked plants. No brainer, right? Wrong! I mentioned this to Tim because he was studying forestry at Humboldt State College. Tim's answer to me was, “Don't go into forestry. Forestry is all about cutting down trees and making money.” It was Tim who steered me to study botany.
We met again in 1976 during the summer I worked for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in Resources Management. Tim was on the forestry crew, cutting down hazard trees and not making a lot of money. But it was work he enjoyed with gusto because he was good at it - having learned the craft from ace-feller Charlie Castro. Tim was mostly out in the field during the summer, escaping the summer heat of Ash Mountain, which is where I lived. He would come to Park HQ once every few weeks with his crew of local Native American tree fellers. Tim was in full redneck mode by this time, having worked fire crew and a bunch of other jobs for the park service where crews were not of the college educated types - which Tim was in spades.
He still wore his blond hair in a long mop but he talked about driving trucks and shooting things. If you got him drunk enough though, the old surfer-dude Tim emerged. He told me once about how he enjoyed taking his flute out when he was drinking with the rednecks and blow them away by playing what he called, “Hippy flute.” That would be free form, improvisational, spacey, atonal stuff that struck me as being weirdly, otherworldly, creative.
I was in thrall and not a little bit impressed with Tim at the time. He was a big success to me. A guy who worked at Wolverton, loved plants and botany, played great music, worked for the park service and, Oh; did I mention it? Tim was really popular with pretty women. Whenever he showed up at park headquarters there were always these two very lovely women who would show up and never leave his side.
That was my last physical encounter with Tim. I did get some emails from him when I started up the Camp Wolverton website. And he wrote to me when he was about to retire. It came about from an article of mine he saw in Ranger Magazine about a medivac from the backcountry at Crabtree Meadow and the backcountry ranger I mentioned. He wrote, “Good article in Ranger Magazine! I know George Durkee from eons ago. Crabtree discussion was total nostalgia. I will be retired from the *&^%$ NPS in 10 days and hope to start seeing folks again in some of the old haunts such as Whoopee this Summer. I am taking my firefighter retirement at age 52. My wife and I will stay here in Carlsbad NM for a few more years until the last kid has flown the coop. Then we are looking at either East TN or Central CA (Three Rivers again?). Hope to see you before long. Adios.” That was January, 2003.
I will remember Tim in the way I have always thought of him. Tough. Pugnacious. Smart. Full of life, energy, and verve - vigor, spirit, and style. I can still hear his voice with its slight nasal twang and see his long sun-bleached blond hair waving in the wind. And I see a grin a mile wide on his face just as he is lifting up his flute to his lips.
Sandy Sandbakken writes-
Another “hippie” has gone to that big commune in the sky. Fond memories date back over 40 years. Tim & I were hippies together back in SoCal. We were staff alumni at Camp Wolverton BSA Sequoia Nat Park with many other friends of Tim. He used to surf an Iron Cross surfboard and had the Maltese cross decal on his 60’s Chevy Impala. We used to ride bikes together, I had a Honda 450 and he had a 17 It was crazy, he would ride that dinky bike back & forth from Humboldt College in Nor Cal, down to LA, and back, rain or shine. He was hardcore. I had not seen Tim in decades but we reconnected a few years ago at an annual Camp Wolverton reunion in Sequoia NP. He promised to call me to surf together next time he came to visit his Ma in SoCal. Sadly, we never connected but I like to think of him now riding that great wave of Eternity for a truly Endless Summer. Peace, Love & Aloha Brother!
Margie Buckingham writes-
Tim and I grew up a block from each other in Cheviot Hills, CA. Many memories, but favorite is our time at Boy Scout Camp Wolverton when we were 18 (yes a girl at a BS camp). Tim was staff assigned to teach the new campers how to pack a mule. He was having a “challenging” time getting the truly unruly critter from the stables to camp. As I’d done a lot of mule/burro packing I joined Tim wrestling the beast to camp, then showing the kids the finer points of halters and pack boxes. He’s been back at Wolverton several summers recently and like all his friends we shared laughter, memories and beer or two. We’ll hoist a round to Tim when we gather this summer at Wolverton. Here’s to you, my friend.
Armando Quintero writes-
I played music with Tim many times in the shadow of Giant Sequoias at Wolverton. He was a wonderful musician and I have always looked forward to sitting around the fire, drinking beer and throwing music into the air with Tim. I will miss him and remember him with every future song in Sequoia. Tim, rest with music and in peace.
John Taylor writes-
Tim was a Boy Scout camp counselor in Sequoia National Park before he began his career in the NPS. He was the first to jump into a tough situation, just like Paula’s post, and he spoke his mind then, too. He was one-of-a-kind and all of his buddies from Camp Wolverton will miss him.
John Daniels writes-
I also lived around the corner from Tim in Cheviot Hills, CA but mostly I remember playing guitar and singing with him and others at Camp Wolverton. He was calm around the campfire but one time we went to “climb” Moro Rock and I thought that we would take the steps but Tim decided to free climb the west face! “The NPS will not like this Tim!”. He just flat out lived life. I’m so glad I got to see him at a recent Wolveron reunion. Peace for him.