On many days we hear from former campers. Occasionally we hear from a former camper who was with us back in the 1940's. Mason Clingan was a camper at Walton's Grizzly Lodge during the mid to late 1940's. Today he is 84 years old and lives in Idaho. Recently Mason reached out to us after viewing our website and realizing we are still operating as a summer camp. He also shared with us about an item he gave to Mom and Pop Walton that still hangs in our Lodge 70 years later.
Mason learned to shoot a rifle while at camp. In 1948, as a 13 year old, his parents took him on a hunting trip to Wyoming. Below is his story about the trip and what eventually ended up hanging in our Lodge and still hangs there today.
"I looked up on the computer Walton's and was really taken back by what I saw. I think the horns that are to the right of the American flag are the horns of the elk I shot in 1948 and gave to Mom and Pop.
In the seventh grade my father took me out of school for two weeks and he and my mother and myself left our home in California and drove to Moran, Wyoming to the Teton Ranch. From there we went by horseback to the Ennis Lake Camp and prepared to hunt from there. Hunting was very hard that year because the winter weather had not started to set in yet. We hunted real hard for a week and then came across a Bull Elk with a group of cows. My father got ready to take the first shot and just as he fired the elk moved forward and you can see in the picture where he hit the elk. Dad got ready to fire again and the bull started to walk away. My mother pulled her .270 out of the scabbard and handed it to me and said,' Junior, take that bull down.' I took a neck shot and dropped the bull. We dressed the bull out and headed back to camp. This was our last day of hunting for the time we had signed up for.
The following year my father took me hunting again in the same area. Right after we got into camp my father and I went out with a guide for a short ride to see what we could find in the way of elk tracks. While riding we came across two spike bulls. We got down off the horses. Dad shot one and I took the second one down. This ended our hunting for that year.
Since that year I have not had a chance to go to Wyoming to hunt elk."
We enjoyed speaking with Mason on the phone as he shared stories about camp back in the 1940's. He reminisced about going on five day horseback riding trips during the summer, making trips into Portola to pick up cans of milk and get the mail and attending winter camp at Walton's where campers would cut willows to make hockey sticks to play hockey on our frozen lake.
Mason was kind enough to send us a copy of the photo of he and the elk taken in 1948 which you can see here. If you look to the right of the American flag in the photo inside of our Lodge you can see the horns from the elk are still hanging there 70 years later. We have framed and will hang the photo of Mason and his elk in the Lodge. Our plans are for it to be there for at least another 70 years. Thank you Mason for your long ago gift, your recent gift and sharing your story with us!