"Hey Mister... this is a pretty intensive hike. It goes straight up that wall to the top. A few miles down the road there's another trail that'll get you to the same place... but it's much more level and a lot easier."
What I think I said:
"Oh, (pause)... OK... thanks for the tip"
What I heard:
"Hey, grandpa... I don't think this is the hike for old fossils like you. It's for young fit hardbodies that workout and exercise every day... people like me. Why don't you elderly folks drive a little further down the road where there's another much easier trail. Why, I think you can even use a walker or wheelchair on it."
What I wanted to say:
"Hey you smartass whippersnapper... how old and crippled do you think we are? Why don't you come over here and grandma will introduce you to the side of her walking stick."
We were at the Saddle Pass trail-head in the Badlands National Park and intending to take the short hike to the top of the "wall"... for a look-around. Could probably get some great pictures from up there on a bright morning like this. We were gearing-up for the walk... hiking boots, Dar's hiking poles, water... and had exchanged pleasantries with the young fellow who parked next to us. After he walked a ways up the trail, he turned and initiated the exchanged recounted above.
|Grandma Fossil working a steep section of trail.|
With that, he hopped up the hill and out of site. We shook off this boost of confidence and agreed to proceed, to see what we'd encounter. The Park Service has this trail classified as "strenuous"... but we've also been of the opinion, based on many other hikes on public lands, that they usually exaggerate the rating a little in order to be on the safe side... so as not to lure people into hikes they shouldn't be doing. We've done some pretty severe hikes in the past and we really didn't think this one would exceed our capabilities.
So up we went... scrambling in a few steep areas... but a very do-able hike for fit old fogies like us. In short order we were standing at the top... looking for any signs of our friend...
"Hey Kid... check out grandma and grandpa! We made it and didn't even break a serious sweat.
|Fossils on top.|