successful. He raised chickens for a while, then mink and chinchillas. He opened a stable and sold horse rides to tourists. Much of the food he put on the table came from hunting—despite the fact that he was uncomfortable killing animals. “My dad cried every time he shot a deer,” Billie says, “but we had to eat, so he did it.”
He also worked as a hunting guide, which pained him even more. “Men from the city would drive up in their big Cadillacs, and my dad would take them out to his hunting camp for a week to get a trophy. He would guarantee them a buck before they left, but most of them were such lousy shots and drank so much that they couldn’t hit anything, so he’d usually have to shoot the deer for them. God, he hated that.”
Loren, not surprisingly, was charmed by Chris. And Chris adored his grandfather. The old man’s backwoods savvy, his affinity for the wilderness, left a deep impression on the boy.
When Chris was eight, Walt took him on his first overnight backpacking trip, a three-day hike in the Shenandoah to climb Old Rag. They made