Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hike with me (please!)

As I drove toward the trailhead, I felt optimistic.  Yes, there are bears everywhere around here, but the trail traverses fairly open terrain, burned in a fire over 10 years ago.  I hiked it by myself last year and didn't even see bear tracks.  The people I had tried to get to come hiking today were sleepy and didn't want to commit.  Still, I had bear spray and could yell "Hey Bear" with the best of them.  Seeing one was pretty unlikely...right?

Some vehicles were stopped in the middle of the road.  This can be pretty typical national park behavior.  Like in Walmart parking lots, people sometimes forget basic driving skills when they enter a park.  However, the people in the cars were gazing intently into the woods.  Memories of my former career as a park ranger began to surface.  This could only be one thing: a bear jam!

Sure enough, a cinnamon colored bear was eating happily a few feet from the road.  Rudely interrupted by the cars, it loped off into the woods, leaving me to continue uneasily toward the trailhead.  Was this a sign? Would my hike be overrun by bears?

Gathering my gear, I spied a woman preparing to set off on the trail.  "Do you want to hike together?" I asked, ambushing her.  In effect, this really gave her no choice unless she wanted to come across as kind of mean.  Luckily, she turned out to be easy going and seemed happy to have a companion.

A. was training to climb Mt. Adams; although the trail gained more than a thousand feet a mile, she moved out rapidly, not bothered by little rolling rocks and snowfields.  We discovered we had worked in some of the same places; she had been a firefighter in the past.  I had found a new hiking buddy!

I don't think you can ever have too many hiking buddies.  My schedule is erratic in the summer, making meetups difficult.  Trail friends go on vacations, have obligations, or get injured.  It's always good to have plenty of people who can join a hike, especially in bear country (four is supposed to be an optimal group size).

We paused at the top, the site of an old fire lookout, before the downhill slog.  Glacier lilies dotted the hillside.  The peaks in the park were still coated in white, but winter had lost its grip at last.  Fire season will be late here, but I don't mind.  After thirty years of fighting fire, I'll take the mountains and trails (and new friends) instead.
View from the top

11 comments:

  1. This makes me smile this morning. Yay for new friends/hiking buddies!

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    1. It's nice to meet other women who like to hike!

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  2. A good hike, and a new hiking friend,with many things in common. Sounds like a good day. Glacier lilies and great mountain scenes!

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    1. The other flowers are late and aren't out yet, last year there was a carpet of them up there at this time.

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  3. Woohoo to a new hiking buddy!!!!!!!

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    1. Always good to find more trail friends!

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  4. You can never have enough hiking buddies. Wish I lived closer and I'd hike with you.

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    1. I know! I wish you did also. I know then we would have good pictures!

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  5. i desperately want a hiking buddy!!!

    whilst i wouldn't not go just because i don't have a companion, i rarely see anyone else who is on their own....(and i don't think i've ever seen a woman by herself.)

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    1. If I didn't go alone then many times I wouldn't go, which isn't acceptable. Do you have any Meetup groups over there? I wish mine were more active, but they do have them here at least.

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    2. i haven't done any sort of meeting stuff (yet)...it's something i'm open too but have kind of been just oping that miss right would pop out of thin air!! (hence me doing most things by myself!!)

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