Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mountain Machismo

To the people I met today. Dear people, if you are going to approach me in the mountains and ask me directions because you are a hundred meters too high and heading in the wrong direction and heading into the mountains in freezing temperatures at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, you can expect me to be nice and friendly and help you to find the route you're looking for... and to suggest that it might not be advisable to undertake such a hike so late in the day. Sorry if that offended you. And no, I don't believe you had a torch with you. Your friend said no and you said yes. I'll take the first answer. So as you were most evidently lost and with little idea of where to go and what conditions you were going to encounter, just accept the information you are given with good grace and go on with your day. Why should it bother you that I don't have shoes on my feet? It's not an indication that I'm not prepared or not knowledgeable about that area. I am. The fact that I have a huge rucksack with everything I need to spend the night on the mountain if necessary and you have a little day-sack with you and that I am not lost while you are lost should make that abundantly clear to you. I'm not trying to be better than you. It's not a competition, You approached me, not the other way round and no, I would have preferred not to have seen anyone today. So no, I'm not interested in hearing how much experience you have. The fact that you're lost tells me how much experience you have. I just know where you want to go and how to get there and can offer advice because I have been there myself a couple of times. No need to get all macho about it. If being barefoot means my information and advice is not valid, then ignore the information and advice I give you. If you were so sure the route I indicated was the wrong route, why ask in the first place and why follow it if you thought it was the wrong way? Sheesh! Besides I got to within 50 yards of the summit barefoot in below freezing temperatures with a significant wind-chill before having to put on shoes and socks, so I guess it can be done, can't it? Maybe the fact that I did it is in fact, an indication that I can do it. No? It doesn't make me a superman. It just means I have more experience than you when it comes to hiking mountains barefoot. A thank you would have been nice too.

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