Dick Smith Calling a Condor, Piru 1970, a photo by brad.schram on Flickr.
With Lake Piru visible below, a California Condor barely visible above, Dick waves and shouts to draw the bird’s attention. The condor ultimately came directly overhead. December 1970.
I went to school in Santa Barbara with the grandsons of Dick Smith, the backcountry denizen who roamed the local wildlands on horseback accompanied by his dog, and for whom Dick Smith Wilderness was named. I also worked for several years with the wife of his son and they lived a block away from me.
I’m not sure to what extent Smith’s son shared his father’s appreciation of the wilderness, but he did love the ocean. Whenever I saw him around town he usually always had his surfboard in the back of his truck. He was also a craftsman. One day, his eldest son invited me into his house and showed me the miniature wooden surfboards his dad crafted in his spare time. I was impressed.
But I have to confess to not always getting along with Smith’s grandsons and that I was a total jerk at times. It’s something I’m embarrassed about nowadays.
I’m not sure if their mom ever knew, but she was always very kind to me. Her youngest son grew up to be a giant broad shouldered man and could probably beat the hell out of me nowadays. Lord knows I once deserved it!
In later years, I would learn about the legacy of their grandfather and what he did to preserve so much of what I have grown to cherish. Would that we were all a Dick Smith.
Desperate Fight with Condors: Narrow Escape of Santa Barbara Man (1899)
Hey its Ira, dont worry I dont beat people up anymore HAHA! Actually I’m glad you discovered about my family history and both my brother and I share the same love for the Santa Barbara back country.
Hey Ira. Thanks for stopping by, and commenting. I hope you and your brother J. are doing well. Your mom was always very kind to me. Not sure if she ever knew what an ass was I was in my earlier years. She is an awesome woman from what I knew of her, not that I knew her very well, but she told me some stories about how she lived with you guys up in the woods way up north in another state outside of C.d’L, and I always had a lot of respect for her.
Yup she’s an amazing women to say the least.
Judi is an angel, my boys are too, dads a repentant old dog. Jack, I try and keep my thoughts to myself about the back country, I spent my youth walking every trail that Dad ever trod. There are just no words to describe what a childhood in the company of my Dad was like. I read your posts and its like a dream, thank you. Dad was actually bigger than life! Sounds trite , but it’s true. Please continue to amaze me!
Hey Joel. Thanks so much for your readership. And for taking a moment to comment. It means a lot me. I’m stoked, to put it simply in a single word, to hear that you enjoy what I share here.