Oct 4, 2013 at 6:10 am #1308348
@balzaccomLocale: Wine Country
It was mid-afternoon. We were on the last leg of our hike out of the backcountry, and only about a mile from our car. It had been a great hike, and we were now looking forward to taking off our packs, a nice drive home, hot showers, and a dinner that didn't involved freeze-dried anything.
The weather was perfect for late September, sunny but not warm.
The first couple was young and sportif, wearing only shorts and t-shirts, and they moved briskly up the trail towards us.
"Hi there," I greeted them. "Where are you headed?"
"We are going to the lakes!" the young man replied, with enthusiasm and a French accent.
"Ah!" I gave this some thought. The nearest lake was at least five miles further along the trail. "You realize that they are about five miles–eight kilometers–from here?"
The young man nodded. "About forty minutes?" he asked.
I considered this. "No, closer to two or three hours" I explained.
"OK. Thanks!" he continued up the trail. His girlfriend looked at me.
They were not carrying even a daypack, and I didn't see any bottles. "Do you have any water?" I asked. There was no real source of water for a few miles. We had very little in our packs.
"No, it's OK" he called back over his shoulder.
I looked at the girlfriend. She looked at me. "Maybe we stop before the lakes." she said.
I nodded and watched them hurry up the trail.
A hundred yards later we met an older couple, almost as old as us. Now I was really curious, and I asked them the same question. "Where are you headed."
"Up the traill," the husband replied as he panted uphill past me.
His wife looked at me and asked me how far the lakes were. I told her. "Well, we'll just see how far we get," she said. They each had a daypack, and I asked them if they had water. "Oh yeah, we have lots of water," she replied.
"Good," I thought. "You might want to share some of it with the nice young couple ahead of you."
A half-mile from the trailhead we met the last couple: two young men sitting on a couple of rocks and resting. When then heard me coming down the trail, the first young man turned around quickly and said,. "Oh, good. You're not a bear."
"Nope," I assured him, I was not a bear.
"How much further is it to the lakes?" he asked. He and his partner had a full complement of cameras, tripods and other paraphernalia.
"About five or six miles," I said.
He looked at his watch. I looked at mine. "We left our camp there about three hours ago," I explained. "So that would be about six hours, round trip."
He nodded. He looked at his watch again.
"That means you would get back here about 7 o'clock," I explained. IT would be close to dark by then.
"I guess we better get moving," his partner chimed in. He didn't get up off the rock that he occupied.
"Well, maybe you hike faster than we do," I offered.
They both nodded.
"Then again," I thought,"We didn't stop in the first half mile from the trailhead when we did this hike, and we were carrying full packs.
I wonder how far each group hiked…Oct 4, 2013 at 12:11 pm #2030859
USA Duane HallParticipant
@hikerduaneLocale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
I love passing younger folks up on the trail, loaded for a week and my white/gray beard blowing in the breeze. :) It's gonna be tough if they can't make a short distance without not only taking a breather, but having to sit down too. Going back to HS, I rarely sit down while catching my breath.
I wonder what conditions were out of Bishop late last week? I aborted my planned trip into Evolution Vly. I got down a little past Bridgeport, then decided my gear wasn't up to snow, frozen ground.
DuaneOct 5, 2013 at 6:17 am #2030990
I have had something similar happen quite often locally here as well.
Father hiking up the mountain with his 6 year old son, cotton t-shirt, nothing else (no water, no rain gear). People asking if it still far, me answering not that much, while finding out they started 15 minutes before and still having 1,5~2 hours to go. Or just when I come off a steep ridge, getting down to the trail head, some people huffing and puffing and sliding and slipping while it's around 16:00 already (rain and thunder often comes in at the end of the day here) and I find out they want to go to one of the peaks 2,5 hours away.
I ask them where they go, if they know how far it is, etc. I'm not the mountain police though, but always feel I should try more to stop them or tell them to change their plan.Oct 14, 2013 at 8:57 am #2033967
What can you do? I will occasionally offer advice but the ones who really need it are the least likely to listen. Luckily most people survive in spite of themselves. 14ers are very popular here and because of that a lot of people will go do one just to do it even if they aren't interested in hiking. They leave late, carrying no water or maybe a small bottle. No pack, no jacket, no rain gear, no food. Multiple times I've been rushing to get down as a storm approaches and as I'm getting to the trailhead, people are passing me just starting up! Once on Mt. Huron, in what appeared to be non-threatening conditions, at 10:30 in the morning a crackling noise started and people were getting shocked and hair standing on end. The 20-25 people on top streamed off the summit and were hauling butt downhill. Some quite panicked. The clouds then came up from below and then it started hailing. Everyone who had still be on the approach had turned around except for 1 guy. He just kept on going and I warned him what it had been like up there. I later saw him at the trailhead and asked if he made it because I sure wasn't looking anywhere but where my feet were landing on the way down. He said he had but he was getting shocked the whole way and it was the dumbest thing he'd ever done in his life. I asked why he did it. He didn't know.Oct 30, 2013 at 10:51 am #2039461
@ezabielskiLocale: Boulder, CO
Trying to tell people what to do on 14ers, I've found, is rather pointless. I just say goodmorning and keep going, usually at a great speed.Oct 31, 2013 at 9:33 pm #2039996
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I see it all the time. Do the best you can. I try to make note of the people I see, number of people in the party, ages, and appearance, when and where I saw them in case I hear of someone looking for people overdue.
It is interesting to me that we have concern for people we see on the trail, but we pass people on the street that are in real mortal danger and it barely registers on our moral radar.
I wonder what rangers and other personell do?
In reminded of the old Phil Ochs song:
Oh, look outside the window
There's a woman being grabbed
They've dragged her to the bushes
And now she's being stabbed
Maybe we should call the cops
And try to stop the pain
But Monopoly is so much fun
I'd hate to blow the game
And I'm sure
It wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friendsNov 1, 2013 at 1:47 am #2040025
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