Thursday, August 16, 2007

Do You Know Where You Are?

. I've neglected the woods this summer, so this afternoon I set out on one of my favorite hikes. Just around the bend from the trailhead, as I paused for a photo, some hikers came the other direction. Antisocial as I am, I concentrated on my camera settings as they passed. The retired gentleman in the rear greeted me and I looked up to speak to him.
. "Is this the way back to the parking lot?" he asked, wiping sweat from his brow.
. "You're almost there." I assured him.
. "Did you look at the map carefully before you left?" he pressed me, not certain that I was right.
. "I've been here before."
. By now, Mr. Hiker is feeling pretty friendly. If there had been a chair, I'm sure he would have pulled one up. "We took the left at the sand dune just like the sign said. But then we weren't sure where we were. We passed a sign post with no sign on it. She and I got in the worst fight we've had since we got married." He confided.
. "Well, you're just about back now." I repeated, sure that he would be anxious to return to his car.
. He wasn't done yet, though. "Which parking lot is it?" he queried.
. "There only is one, unless you're looking for the campground." There followed a short discussion about the location of the campground.
. Mr. Hiker still wasn't satisfied. "There's another couple lost out there too; they're about our age," he told me. "I hope they don't find their bones out there in a few years."
. "If I see them I'll point them in the right direction." I promised.
. As his family virtually pulled him physically down the trail, Mr. Hiker was still talking. "Do you do this for fun?"
. To be fair to Mr. Hiker, seventy-some degrees felt pretty warm on the sand today. I only did the loop at the beginning and was happy to get back to the car.

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