The founders of our group were Bob Bernard, Ginger Brown, Jerry Drinkard, Mike Gessner, Merle Olsen, Dick Rauhut, Bill Sharpe, Dick Utter and Vic Weber.  Two weeks later Jim Carlin joined the group.

In November 1989, Hughes Aircraft Company released a number of long term employees with an early retirement plan called the wonderfully beaurocratic euphemism, Organizational Transition Plan (OTP).  The acronym quickly gained more appropriate meanings, such as "Off The Payroll", "Old Tired People" and "Out To Pasture."  The payoff was considered to be quite generous by the recipients.  At the farewell party, a group of friends who had worked together for years, shared a table.  It was decided that we should find some activity that we could share and thus maintain old friendships.  After some discussion, Bob Bernard suggested that hiking would be the answer.  Dick Rauhut insisted that we should hike every week and that we should start immediately.

Bob Bernard led the first hike in Sycamore Canyon.  At the end of the hike Dick Rauhut had a case of Lucky Light beer in his car, which he shared with us.  This is the origin of the after hike refreshment tradition   Over the years the refreshments have become more varied and elaborate.

Mike Gessner volunteered to lead the second hike in Placerita Canyon.  At that hike, he started the Leader Roster and Hike Schedule.  In the early days no one had e-mail so the next hike notices were sent via snail mail.  This necessitated an address list which he compiled.

On our first hike we had nine hikers.  Mike is the only one of that initial group still hiking.  We expected the group to last about six months.  It has done somewhat better than that.
On one of our early hikes Dave Lillback’s wife, Dorothy, sent a batch of cookies, which he distributed to the hikers at a break after about an hour’s hiking.  This started the cookie break tradition.  Although, later it became the custom to distribute the cookies at the start of the hike.  Since then, most people no longer wait for the cookie break to consume their cookies.

On the first anniversary of the group, Merle and Alice Olsen invited us all to their home for a party to celebrate completing a year of hiking.  We have since celebrated our anniversary each December.  At first, the party was rotated among the hiker’s homes, but as our group grew it became necessary to find a larger venue for our gatherings.  Jim and Jan Gardner hosted our last in home party.

Over the years there have been a number of amusing, outstanding or more serious incidents.  Mike started issuing awards for these happenings.  It became too time consuming for him, so Ron Forbess took over that effort.  He has done an excellent job of it.

As our group title, OTP and Others, indicates, our membership is not exclusively former Hughesites.  Indeed, now our group consists mainly of  “Others."  We welcome new members to our group.  Early in our history, Mike originated the website and also obtained the web domain name.  This has been very useful and effective in disseminating group information.

In August 2014, Mike decided that after more than 24 years of keeping the records of the OTP, he had enough of that fun.  He transferred his duties to Ron Forbess, who manages the Leader Roster and Awards; to Jim Carlin who managed the website; to Pat Forbess, who manages the address list and provides occasional cake to celebrate birthdays; and to Bob De Wolf, who manages the Yahoo Groups e-mail notifications.   Later, in December 2016, Phil Rutherford redesigned the web site and took over as web master.  Jim Carlin retains responsibility for hike description quality control and the excellent Google Earth maps with associated GPS hike tracks.

The OTP continues to trek along.  It has changed a lot over the years and we expect it to continue to change more as time goes by.  Hikes, hike leaders and most hike descriptions are provided above, by calender year. 

Summary Statistics of Hikes and Hike Leaders

Have you ever wondered how many hikes you have led, which ones they were, and when you did them?  Take a look at the summary statistics page, and then check out your original descriptions/announcements in the yearly history pages above.

In the early years (pre-internet), hike descriptions were copied directly from hiking trail books, newspapers and magazines, and provided directly to OTP hikers each week, by mail, for the sole purpose of guiding their path.  These hike descriptions have recently been compiled to provide a more complete history of the OTP. 

More recently, with the advent of the internet, maps have been copied from sites such as Mapquest and applications such as Google Earth, and provided to hikers, initially via email, and later via this web site.   Hike descriptions and maps on this web site, that were copied from books, newspapers, magazines and the internet, are used with full blanket attribution, acknowledgement of copyright, and are used for non-commercial purposes. 

If any publisher wishes to claim copyright and request removal of material from this web site, we will be happy to comply.  Please send a request to the web master specifying which pages you wish removed.