Chet was an ardent hiker and completed many legendary hiking trails, sometimes more than once. Lynn recalls Chet being very pleased with completing the John Muir Trail in less time than most experienced hikers. The John Muir Trail starts from the valley floor of Yosemite National Park and traverses the High Sierras’ back country and finishes with a climb to the peak of Mount Whitney, a 212-mile hike. After completing this hike in only 18 days with his 11-year old son, Mark, Chet bragged that, “Even though my initials are C. A., I’m no Candy Ass!”
Listed below are some of the more significant hikes.
In August 1975, Chet, his son, Mark, and a long-time friend, Ray Cobb, hiked the 212-mile John Muir Trail. Chet kept a detailed journal during the hike, and later rode a narrative that covered each day of the 18-day adventure. In this story, Chet shows his writing skills and the reader has a visceral experience of hiking the trail with Chet. He covers the beautiful days and stunning vistas to bone-chilling snow storms and fears of frostbite. The reader experiences his humor even though the trip was arduous and at times very daunting. An example of his humor is when Chet ducks into a hut on the trail that is crowded with other hikers. Chet writes as follows: I spot an interesting looking character with a long red beard sitting quietly in the corner watching our antics. We are extremely proud, now, that we had started at Yosemite and have traveled 127 miles, so at every opportunity we ask people where they had started, hoping they will do the same. I ask red beard and he replies, “The Oregon border.” He and a friend are doing the Sierra Crest Trail and have already traveled over 900 miles. So much for bragging rights!
Chet’s story, with photos, of the John Muir Trail Hike can be downloaded by clicking the link below.
In 1991, Chet and Lynn, and Lynn’s 22-year old son Brian, hiked 13 days from Tuolumne Meadows to the community of south Lake Tahoe. Carrying back backs that weighed 35 to 50 pounds, the trek started at an elevation of 8,570 ft. and dropped down to follow the Tuolumne River. They traversed the high back country and, on day 7, they crossed Leavitt Peak Ridge at 10,880 ft. The hike was hard but scenic, with most of the camp sites located beside beautiful small lakes.
The Pacific Crest Trail (“PCT”) starts at the border to the US and Mexico and extends all the way to the Canadian border. Only a few very dedicated hikers make the trip each year for the entire trail in one continuous hike. The full trail is 2,627 miles and takes several months. Most hikers, like Chet and Lynn, hike the trail in segments doing individual legs, and later doing other segments.
Beginning in November 1996, Chet and Lynn started hiking one and two-day segments of PCT. They were accompanied by close friends, Bob and Nancy Steele. On weekends they would average 12 to 15 miles per day.
A couple of the typical legs are summarized here.
Chet and Lynn, accompanied by Bob and Nancy Steele, start the PCT at the Mexican border near Campo, CA take a one-day hike to Houser Creek, a distance of approximately 14 miles. The usual hiking order is Lynn, Nancy, Bob and then Chet. Occasionally, Lynn (the “rabbit”) will go on ahead and I will take off to hike with the rabbit. Upon arriving at Hauser Creek, they spot another day hiker and talk to him about his trip. He said he’s completed the entire PCT, but it has taken him 11 years to do so.
Again, joined by Bob and Nancy, the foursome pick up the trail at Houser Creek and hike 26 miles over the course of two days. The night is spent in a disappointing motel, that was not nearly as nice as remembered in Lynn’s last visit 15 years earlier. Kitchen Creek is a nice surprise, with its pools, waterfalls, and rock formations.
After thirteen outings of one or two day hikes, by late May 1997, they have covered a total of 212 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. They started at the Mexican border and finished at the San Gorgonio Pass at Highway 10 located just east of Cabazon.
More recently, in the summer of 2008, Chet and Lynn, accompanied by two couples, hiked the entire 184 mile length of the Thames River in England. On this five-week trek, the Allens, with Bob and Nancy Steele and Mike and Joy Stewart, hiked from the origin of the Thames all the way to the sea. This adventure is beautifully chronicled in a 100-page narrative called Three Couples In England. The story can be read and/or downloaded by clicking below on the following link.