LooseCrew-JeffO: Food for thought - or what it feels like to BE humble pie!


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Friday, September 22, 2006

Food for thought - or what it feels like to BE humble pie!

There's now significant snow in the high country. I have to leave right at the end of my shift. If there's an emergency here at work, then I hope I can say, "Too bad - seeya Monday!" 'cause I have to drive on icy roads on a highway that was closed last night, to get from Denver to Aspen and still be on time for the race tomorrow morning that will almost certainly be cancelled.
Sound like fun?
But here's the best part! No refunds! $35 That'd buy lots of beer at the Dam Brewery! About 18 beers!
- Bringing snowshoes, my homemade GoreTex/kevlar snowpants, ice boots, and ski poles.

Anyway, what I wanted to write about is something the snow reminded me of...

Years ago, I was climbing Antero in a winter storm. Early on, still below treeline, I saw big mountain lion tracks on the jeep road under my feet. It was snowing hard and the tracks were obviously fresh, but I knew I'd see it ahead of me before we were too close. Besides, I've never heard a story where a person with an ice ax and cocooned in winter gear had ever been attacked. They like to bite your neck, but my neck was covered by my backpack and parka. So I ventured onward.
Then the tracks veered right and headed up the hill. That was good. I didn't want the critter thinking I was stalking it, right?
But wait! Maybe I should stalk it - somewhat. It looked like the tracks went up the hill and backtracked. Okay. Backtracked where?
So I waited a bit, then followed carefully. Trees were sparse near treeline and the snow wasn't so heavy - I couldn't see for a good distance in all directions.
The lion tracks traversed the hill above the road until it reached a bush. I could see that the lion had sat down patiently and watched me pass below. And I'm certain it was doing so that very instant from another vantage. There wasn't another place close enough for it to hide, so I wasn't in any particular danger at that moment. No, the real danger had been as I walked just 30-40 feet below on the road earlier thinking the lion was ahead of me and not watching either side or my flanks.

It's times like this that you don't feel like a very powerful force. These primeval critters don't care about if you're impressive or rich or a great human being. You're just "food". It's humbling, to say the least. They'll just eat my humble pie for desert!


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