Just before reaching the top of Mt. Marcy, we stopped at an area known as the meadow. There was a middle-aged couple taking a break as well.
The woman plainly said to her husband, “I’m not taking another step. I’ll wait here for you to get back.”
Nothing more was said as we started out, but every time I looked back, she was right behind us. I guess the mountains have a special attraction for people. She summited it the same time we did and seemed pretty happy.
The second night, we arrived at the Up Hill Creek Lean-to. There were already six guys and all their gear in the rustic log structure. That didn’t matter. One guy offered me a bottle of spiced rum while everyone else moved things around to give us space. The lean-tos are designed to hold eight campers and, without asking, they made sure we’d fit in.
Two of those guys were from Quebec. They had hiked in so they could climb Gray Peak. Once on its summit, they would complete their quest of climbing all 46 peaks that are more than 4,000 feet tall. We held a pre-celebration for them that night.
Then there was the outhouse of sorts. One of the guys disappeared for a few moments but couldn’t get over the fact that the privy was just a wooden box with a hole in the top right out in the open.
“Darn,” he said. “I didn’t think I had to use a litter pan. Besides that, the people in the tents could sit there and watch me go!”
We all laughed, but that was pretty much the truth of the matter.
Hikers come and go on the trail, but they unknowingly form a community. If you need something, everyone is willing to help. Even if you hike by yourself in the woods, you are never alone. It’s just that some of those folks are more interesting than others.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at email@example.com.