Arriving in dazzling Berkeley, California in autumn of 1967, I felt as though I had landed on another planet.
I joined the research group of Nacho Tinoco (2nd from left) because two of his passions were climbing and studying the structure of nucleic acids. Here, Nacho and our group are climbing in Yosemite Valley in 1968.
Dave Lloyd, another graduate student in Nacho's group, rappels down a climb.
My model of tRNA folded neatly into the form of an H. The structure was simple and elegant. But was it true?
Taking a break from our studies, fellow-chemistry graduate students Kay Wilkerson and Kathy Martin traverse the outside of Lewis Hall at UC Berkeley with me.
Most weekends, we'd drive to the mountains on Friday, hike into our Base Camp on Saturday, and climb on Sunday.
Then we'd descend and drive back to Berkeley, arriving home early Monday morning.
Mount Waddington, sometimes called Mystery Mountain, is steep, remote, and the highest peak in British Columbia.
In August of 1969, Phil Trimble and I headed toward the dense old-growth forests, huge glaciers, and steep rock and ice summit pinnacle of Mount Waddington.
Hot, sweaty, and desperate to escape the thick swarm of mosquitoes, I jumped into the freezing lake at Nabob Pass.
Our base camp on the Tiedmann glacier was across from Mt. Munday, named after Phyllis and Don Munday, the intrepid Canadian couple who pioneered a long and difficult route from the ocean to the northwest summit of Mt. Waddington in the 1930's.
As we followed an intricate route through the Bravo Icefall, I focused on the wild beauty of the ice formations, exactly where to put my cramponed boots, and my breathing.
After climbing for several hours along a steep ridge of snow and rock, crampons scratching discordantly on the rock, we reached our camp at Bravo Spearman Col.
We dug a large snow cave and pitched two tents at our high camp.
Easy rock scrambling led us to the summit of Mt. Waddington on an atypically gorgeous day.
Holding the tRNA flag my research group had given me, I felt full of joy at reaching this perfect place after our long hard struggle.
We reveled in the wild beauty of the peaks and glaciers around us and the forested valleys in the distance.
Rappelling, I was acutely aware of the warm sun and the hard rock and my place in the world.