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SlowBro - Continental Divide Trail Journal - 2019

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Mark "SlowBro" Hurd
City: Eugene
State: OR
Country: USA
Begins: Jun 28, 2019
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Fri, May 10th, 2019

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 81
Journal Visits: 5,107
Guestbook Views: 113
Guestbook Entrys: 9

Journal Plan

Continental Divide Trail Map

(Click image for full size)

The Sign

New Tricks

The sign was tacked to a message board at the trail head. There was a picture of a dog and the title. “Want to learn Yoga? I read on. "Start by bending over and picking up your dogs poo, which is known as the ‘downward dog position.’ Then put it in a bin!” I laughed out loud.

Unfortunately many dog owners either don't bother to pick up after Fido or do and then inexplicably leave the baggy on the trail. This sign addressed the problem, but in a humorous way. I was reminded that the delivery of the message is every bit as important as the message itself.

A couple years ago, on the Colorado Trail, I was descending a series of switchbacks when I observed a mother and her teenage son below me on the hill. Burdened with monster backpacks, Mom was sticking to the tread, but junior, just behind her, was cutting across every switchback. Now trail cutting degrades the trail. It causes erosion, tends to dump rocks and debris on the trail, and encourages others to follow this short cut causing more erosion. Besides, it’s just plain bad trail etiquette.

As I came upon the pair it was obvious that Mom was either unaware or ignoring her offsprings actions so I said to the boy, “Hey, trail cutting causes erosion, you should really try to stay on the trail.” I tried to say it in a kind tone of voice, but it may have come out more as an admonishment than a recommendation. That is apparently how Mom heard it, anyway. Junior looked like no one had ever spoken to him like that before, and Mom turned on me like a mother bear protecting her cub. She told me how it was none of my business, that her son could walk wherever he wanted to walk, and who did I think I was, anyway? I was not expecting such a vociferous response and decided to take a break and let them get way ahead of me. Way ahead!

Fast forward to last year with Cappuccino at the Lower Lagunitas Campground. There was a fire ban covering most of New Mexico. At the entrance to the campground it was posted on a big sign, No Fires! It had been in the news for weeks that they were closing National Forests due to the extreme fire danger. Even smoking was prohibited. Large fines were being issued for infractions. And as we walked up, of course, there was a group in the campground with a campfire, cooking dinner.

Cappuccino and I were both enraged. This was really a serious and dangerous infraction and we wanted to go over and yell at them, but I did remember my encounter on the Colorado Trail. I told Cappuccino I would talk to them then took a deep breath and we walked over to the fire.

I was all gosh and shucks.
“Hey did you folks know there is a fire ban?” I asked.
“No,” they lied.
“Yeah, I had a friend who got a $ 3000 fine for an illegal campfire just a couple days ago, so I wanted to give you a heads up.” I lied. “We saw a ranger earlier today so you may want to put your fire out,” I lied again.
Well, since we were just trying to help them out, they weren't defensive. They thanked us and even gave us some fresh fruit when they found out we were thru-hikers. We left as best buddies and they put their fire out.

So there you are. I can learn. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. Just make sure you pick up after them...

Until next week -Happy Trails

Entry 28 of 29
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SlowBro's Continental Divide Trail Journey

"I can't say as ever I was lost, but I was bewildered once for three days." -Daniel Boone

"The Journey IS The Reward" -SlowBro

"If you feel like quitting, just keep walking." -Gypsy Spirit


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