44 years ago today, 30,000 marched in East LA in the Chicano Moratorium in protest of the Vietnam War, and in an act of self-determination for Chicanos. Historians believe the Chicano Moratorium was one of the largest anti-war protests of its day and the first to call attention to the number of Chicanos disproportionately represented in Vietnam.
Thousands who gathered at Laguna Park after the march to listen to speakers and performers were forced to run for cover after deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department began brutally attacking march-goers with night sticks. Reporter Rubén Salazar was one of them.
Salazar, who was a well-known journalist, was killed later that evening at the Silver Dollar Bar on Whittier Boulevard when sheriff’s deputies shot a tear gas canister into the bar. The canister hit Salazar in the head and killed him instantly. Salazar had clashed with local police in the months before his death, reports the LA Times. Ángel Díaz and Lynn Ward also died that day.
We departed at midnight from my humble suburban abode; a band of weary, restless, overworked, and underprivileged thrill seekers. After a brutal 5/6 hour drive, we arrived in the Valley where we waited in line for a spot in the only first-come first-served campground: Camp IV. There were 36 spots available, and the last member of or group was number 36, but when the ranger arrived to dispense the passes that allocated spots, 4 of our group where either getting supplies from the car or in the restroom. Instead of waiting out for last minute departees that would relinquish their spots to us, we took the advice of a group of hikers ahead of us and stayed at Tamarack Flat, a campground about 30 minutes outside of a valley with a gnarly 3 mile Inlet. The camp itself was very homey and laid back, with far less regulation than anywhere in the valley, making it a natural home for our rowdy bunch.
We ate a quick meal, took a couple shots, then slept because the drive was ridiculously draining. At around 3pm everyone woke and we began a small excursion into the open country behind camp in search of a creek (which we later discovered ran right through camp). Directed only by a map and a compass, we scurried north, each of us evident that we were setting foot where few have set foot before. Pinecones where scattered everywhere. The sight and smell of a recent fire resounded on the ash-laden trees. It was a beautiful sight, and the absence of phone service assured our appreciation. After failing to find an active stream to the North, we headed back, this time descending the amazingly steep rocks we had ascended previously.
Here is my dad hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 1972. He was the first recorded person to hike all 3 of the major US trails, aka “The Triple Crown of Hiking”.. Appalachian in ‘71, Pacific Crest in ‘72, and Contintental Divide in ‘77. Blast from the past.