Captain Fiddle Music

Ryan and Brennish


Mandolin and pennywhistle in

the Sierra range

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Crossing the Sierra Range by Back Pack

by Ryan Thomson

After my first year in New Hampshire I traveled back to California

to cross the Sierra mountains west to east by backpack with

some old friends. 10 of us carried all supplies for a 10 day trek.

My pack weighed about 50 pounds. I considered bringing my

fiddle but choose my grandfathers old mandolin and a

pennywhistle because of their lightness. I put it in a cloth sack

and attached it to the outside of my pack. One night, while camping in an isolated

mountain pass over 11,000 feet high, we had an impromptu contra dance.

The picture in the boat was taken on the day we hiked back down out of the mountains

and took a well deserved rest on a boat ride back to where our cars were parked. As usual,

as the other hikers were gazing serenely at the beautiful scenery, I felt the urge to make

music. Earlier in the trip I played an Irish tune on my pennywhistle while standing on a

huge sequoia log.

This article written by Ryan Thomson 1999