Page 4 of 4

Re: strangers on the trail?

Posted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:00 pm
by Cloudy
rightstar76, that has GOT to be the weirdest meeting experience that I have heard of so far. That is really O-double-D...

Jimr, you should read "The Last Season" by Eric Blehm. It's the sad but interesting story of Ranger Randy Morgenson which should bring a tear to your eye. I think that I also ran into him somewhere in the 1980's one evening on a trail. We got to talking about picking up trash I think and the impact of human beings in the wilderness in general and he ending up inviting me to spend the night at his station. I shared some of my hiking treats with him and we ended up talking for quite awhile. He made pancakes in the morning for both of us and it was a memory I treasured. The only problem was I couldn't remember his name!

Years later, I happened to be hiking past the Bench Lake Ranger Station and saw a posted notice indicating that a ranger was missing but other than hoping that I'd run into him, I didn't think too much about it until last month when I read the above book (thinking it may have been about the Bench Lake Ranger), saw his picture and noted the fact that he made pancakes for somebody in the book also. I can't say for sure that it was him but the circumstantial evidence points to it so it really touched my heart. Heartbreaking actually - and I'm not a sentimental person.

On another tangent, I've run into a couple of odd types on the trail- once, I was hiking up the HST and a couple of people passed me on the trail. This wouldn't normally be too odd except that they were carrying a stretcher with their camping gear on it... Another time I was again hiking up the HST and a girl came running down saying "There's a guy with a knife up there" etc. and apparently she had been cut. She said she was OK and went running down the trail for help. This happened in a space shorter than the time it takes to type this so my friend and I looked at each other and said "Let's camp here rather than continuing on, eh?" We heard a helicopter fly past a couple of hours later... Another time on the HST I ran into a lone hiker (as was I) who said he had escaped from a religious cult and said he was hiding out in the mountains for awhile to "clear his mind". For some reason, I hung out with him and had what I hope was a meaningful discussion about centering one's life rather than swinging to extremes whether religious or political. I hope I helped him find his way. The most memorable thing was that he had a bear canister filled with the only three items that he had to eat - tortillas, powdered refried beans and some sort of green algae powder... More power (powder) to him. What's with nutcases and the HST anyway?


Re: strangers on the trail?

Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:48 am
by Jimr
Thank you Cloudy. Randy Morgenson was the ranger I remember reading about being found. I will look up the book. I googled the book just now and THAT PICTURE, THAT WAS HIM!!

Re: strangers on the trail?

Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:55 pm
by AlmostThere
Let's see...

There was the troop of monks, all shaven-headed and wearing the orange, walking in those fun sandals, down the Mist Trail.

The lady in Wildly Inappropriate Shoes (I know, which one? so many) holding on to each little rock, tree root and outcrop on the way down from Nevada Falls, oh, her feet had to hurt like hell.

The gal in the bikini and flipflops on the subdome.

The Jillion Japanese tourists in long heavy coats walking around Mirror Lake.

Guy wearing a loaded backpack, Z Rest down the back, six longnecks (!) in the side pockets and one open in hand, walking with a lady with a hip pack with half a liter of water sticking out, and a teenage girl in shorts and halter top. All wearing the wrong shoes (running shoes, sandals). At 2 pm. Cloudy and starting to rain. Wandering on paved trail in the Valley. Guy asks me is this the trail to Half Dome?

The old guy with the very old, very worn pre-Gossamer Gear G4 pack, that appeared under-filled (had a Bearikade and not much else in) coming down Donahue Pass. He had done the JMT with it for years and this was the year he was planning to retire it. Neat.

The weird guy who asked everyone he ran into who was behind them, and greeted everyone by name as he approached going the other way. He was taking pictures of everyone too. Carried an enormous camera and talking about all his adventures. I found his website where he swore he would post our pictures... he never did, and the website is gone now. Think he went by Boots?

Then there was the little Japanese gent who I scared the crap out of :eek: by opening the restroom on the Mirror Lake Trail - he hadn't latched it, or the latch was broken. Sorry, guy. Good thing you were already sitting down. :( I saw him leave a little later, he had the only serious backpack in his group - they all had these net bags on a single string over one shoulder, he had this nice well-fitted Marmot pack and trekking poles.

The lady carrying a two week old baby up the Yosemite Falls trail :mad: Darn it. That was steep, she could have fallen.

The guy with the can of bear spray the size of a small child. :D

The little girl who WOULD NOT pee behind a bush. Six miles from the nearest toilet on the JMT switchbacks, crying her heart out. I think her mommy finally talked her into it.

Re: strangers on the trail?

Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:25 pm
by Timberline
Ha ha. . . great recalls.

Well, AlmostThere, I think you just may have won the prize on this thread! :lol: Let's see what else is still out there. . . .

Re: strangers on the trail?

Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:08 pm
by yosehiker
Good Replies by all.

When i was doing the JMT in 2003 i was passed a group of hikers going up the 'Golden Staircase' up to Mather pass late in the day. They were going really slowly, with one guy having an enormous pack. We both ended up camping right after the top so i spent the evening talking to them. It turned out the guy had an 80 lbs pack including an old school camcorder with two spare batteries along with a bunch of other unnecessary stuff. At some point in the conversation miles per day came up. I was doing big miles while they were only going about 5 - 8 miles per day. They seemed really perplexed that i was averaging such long days while they weren't even doing half as many as i was, never thinking that the 80 lbs pack had anything to do with it.

The best 'stranger on the trail' was one a buddy of mine I had, I only wish i could take credit for it. He was working as a Ranger for Yosemite, and while on patrol along the Echo Creek drainage, he came across a couple having sex on the trail whilst filming the act! Needless to say he was surprised. I mean, really, if you are going to make a sex tape in the woods, just go off trail a ways so you won't get interrupted or be seen. Furthermore, why on that particular section of trail, along the HSC loop? He yelled to them to stop, got out of sight and then waited a bit. After they were dressed, he went and gave them a little talk about respecting the park and went on his way.

I don't think i will ever bet that story.

Re: strangers on the trail?

Posted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:43 pm
by rightstar76
Last week I was hiking with my wife back to Echo Lakes from Lake Aloha. We then ran into a mom, dad, and daughter. It was about a quarter to six in the afternoon and it was the section where the trail switchbacks up to Haypress Meadow. The dad was wearing a large backpack and carrying another in his hands. He asked me how far it was to Lake Aloha. I estimated it was between 2 and 3 miles. I figured he was carrying the backpack up the switchbacks so his daughter wouldn't have to. "Nope," he said. "This is my wife's pack and it's not fitted right. I'm carrying it all the way to Lake Aloha."

At that moment, I wondered whether I should tell him my opinion which was that he was nuts, or should I ask which REI he bought it from. I decided to go with the latter. "So which REI did this to you?" I asked. "REI?" he responded. "No, it was me. I'm the person responsible. I fitted my wife. She just couldn't wear it anymore. Now I've got to carry hers."

"Sorry about that," I said. "Are you really going to carry that all the way to Lake Aloha?" Maybe he would get the hint. No luck.

"Yup," he said. "We're going all the way. Then we'll be spending 2 nights."

"Hope you don't have to carry it all the way down," I said. Perhaps now he'd get the hint.

"Oh I will be carrying it all the way down," he said. "I don't mean to cut you short, but we've got to get going. Have a nice hike back."

He then picked up the pack and with his wife and daughter continued up the switchbacks. My wife and I looked at each other in amazement.

"What time do you think they'll get there?" my wife asked.

"The question is if they will get there," I responded. "And if they do, will they be able to get back?"


Re: strangers on the trail?

Posted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:51 am
by windknot
I haven't run into too many strange people, but I was visibly surprised when I came down off Bishop Pass earlier this month and ran into three guys carrying kayaks on their heads. The initial sight was much more surprising than the eventual explanation: they were porting their kayaks over to the Middle Fork of the Kings, at which point they were then going to kayak all the way down to Rodgers Crossing. Still an incredible trip, but not quite as odd as when I first saw these guys straining under their huge yellow kayaks.

Something truly strange did happen to a hiking partner of mine this summer. She was heading up toward Bishop Pass as a thunderstorm was rolling in, and she was debating with herself whether or not to turn back. Suddenly she saw a black cat scamper across the trail in front of her and vanish into the rocks. Seriously unnerved, she took this as an omen and decided to head back to the trailhead!

It turned out that a guy had been backpacking with his pet black cat and the cat had gotten lost along the way. Another group of hikers had also found the cat wandering around, so they brought it back to the trailhead and he eventually showed up to claim it. On another trip over Bishop Pass, we actually saw the same guy with his cat's head poking out of the top of his backpack!


Re: strangers on the trail?

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:15 pm
by balzaccom
This one really got me....

After four days in the Emigrant Wilderness without seeing a soul, our last couple of miles back to the Crabtree trailhead seemed like Grand Central Station. But one young man really stood out. He was hiking out from the trailhead, with no backpack, and only a bottle of water in one hand.

"Where are you headed?" I asked.

"Back to my campsite," he replied. "I just had to hike out to my car to charge my phone, so I had something to wake me up tomorrow morning on time."

The nearest campsites were about four miles up the trail...

Re: strangers on the trail?

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:34 pm
by Cross Country
Did this really happen, or are you pulling our legs. I got a real laugh out of that. That's ludicrous.

Re: strangers on the trail?

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:44 pm
by balzaccom
True Story. WE laughed too!