If you have been putting off visiting Dr. Allen Clyde for your podiatric needs, unfortunately you have run out of time. But you’re just in time to schedule a pack ride or see what else the doctor is working on.
The newly-retired physician was the longest-practicing podiatric doctor in Clovis. He has been caring for patients since he finished his residency in 1976, building many friendships along the way that he said he will miss.
“I’ll miss the personal contact with the patients and the fellow doctors,” Clyde said. “I’ve had some patients for 30 years.”
Clyde, a Bullard High School and Fresno State graduate, completed his medical training in San Francisco before returning to his home town and beginning his practice as the only foot specialist in town at his location on Pollasky Ave and First Street in Old Town Clovis.
He worked for years at his location while performing surgeries at Clovis Memorial Hospital on Dewitt and Sierra avenues. When Community Medical Center opened on Herndon and Temperance avenues in 1988, Clyde moved his office to the brand new facility, where he has been ever since.
Having practiced podiatry for the past 43 years, Clyde said he has enjoyed the immediate relief he has been able to provide for his patients.
“When they walk in hurting and they walk out feeling better, that’s your goal,” Clyde said. “And that, you don’t see in a whole lot of specialties.”
Now that he is leaving his medical practice, Clyde has selected Dr. Felipe Ruiz as the successor to his practice.
“He’s been in practice here for 10 years. He does all the emergency room foot cases here, downtown and at Saint Agnes. He works day and night,” Clyde said of Ruiz. “He just needed a home, so it was a perfect fit.”
Though he will no longer professionally practice medicine, Clyde said he is not retiring so much as he is focusing more of his time on his other work.
During the summer season from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Clyde and his wife Deborah operate a pack riding and tour riding company called Clyde Pack Outfitters.
Clyde began riding pack horses around 40 years ago. He said he started as a backpacker, hiking and camping for days in the Sierra Nevada mountains, until he took a pack horse trip with his uncle. Four years later, he purchased the Dinkey Creek Pack Station.
“It’s an excuse to be in the mountains,” Clyde said. “The only reason why I backpacked was to be in the mountains. The only reason why I hunted, the only reason why I fished was to be in the mountains. It didn’t matter how many fish I caught, that’s your excuse to be in the mountains.”
Now, Clyde owns three pack stations, one at Dinkey Creek, one at Wishon Reservoir and one at Courtright Reservoir.
Individuals and groups can contract Clyde’s services to either lead them in or out of the forest, or both, or to deliver supplies to their desired location. Over the course of his 40 years as a packer, Clyde has led and supplied nearly 20,000 people.
Help the Clydes also offer a shorter experience, providing one to two hour riding tours at the Dinkey Creek Station.
In addition to his more than 40 horses, Clyde has a cattle permit and maintains a herd of a couple hundred black angus cattle that he ranches in the High Sierras near the Wishon Reservoir.
He is also in the process of publishing his first book, the working title of which is Wilderness Trails and Tales From the Back of a Horse: 40 Years of Commercial Packing in the John Muir Wilderness.
The book is a narrative tale based on Clyde’s mountain trail rides and the relationships and lessons he has discovered along the way.
While the stories are all based on true events, people and locations, he has changed some of the names “for the sole purpose of protecting the guilty,” Clyde said with a chuckle.
However, those who know the area and its history, he said, will find a lot of familiarity within the novel’s pages.
Though it was his first book, Clyde said he completed his literary debut in 20 days, working on the weekends over the winter on days when the weather prevented him from pursuing his daily outdoor work.
The book is scheduled to be released in March 2020, Clyde said. He has already been asked by his publisher to produce a second installment, a project he said he will begin this winter.
For the past seven years, Clyde has provided scholarships for Fresno State rodeo riders, the recipients of which have maintained a 100 percent graduation rate.
“I want them to get their bachelor’s and do what they really love to do, so they don’t drop out to do rodeo,” Clyde said. “They get their degree and can be debt free.”
Clyde also operates a free twice-a-month rodeo training program at his ranch for high school and college riders to learn and improve their skills, the pictures of whom line the walls of his office’s reception area.
Education has been a central focus of Clyde’s life, he is currently serving his fifth term on the Fresno Board of Education and said he plans to run for another term in 2020. He previously served on the Clovis Unified School District board.
If there’s one lesson to extract from Clyde’s body of work, it is not to worry about how long something takes or how difficult the process may seem, just go ahead and do it.
“The hardest thing is actually getting started,” Clyde said. “When you’re totally absorbed in what you’re doing, time flies. But you’re doing something meaningful, so don’t worry about the time. That’s what I tell people.”
For more information on Clyde’s work or to schedule a pack trip, visit dinkeystables.com.