Part 5 - Adventuring with Don 2018

PART 5 – Personal connections at Boulder Pass


Let me say something about initial appearances and assumptions, i.e.: First Impressions.

We all do it. Let’s say we meet someone and just by appearances we often make assumptions. That could be an instant positive feeling or it could be the opposite or most likely, somewhere in between. Although it is best to not come to any forgone conclusions about others, it seems to be a part of our human condition. As I related in my last segment, my initial meeting of the older gentleman camping near us at Boulder Pass was pleasant, while Tim’s was a complete 180. Now how could that be? Was he really a grumpy old man or gentlemanly grandpa?

We all were soon to find the true character of this man.

After returning from the top of Boulder Pass, Tim and I recounted to Ryan what had transpired while they were gone. We all proceeded back toward our tents and to deal with the “Rule Breaker Incident”. However, the gentleman in question was coming toward us. I felt tension was afoot and as Ryan proceeded to explain our situation, the other man interjected and did the unexpected.

He apologized for his outburst and told us that he and his wife were offering space in their area to Tiffany where she could set up her tent.



Preparing our pasta dinner

Surprise, surprise, surprise!

The turnabout was unexpected but very welcomed and generous. Even with the kind offer, Tiffany did move her tent but managed to squeeze in the area where Ryan, Bob, Kate and Brandon had arranged their tents. I have no doubt that this gentleman’s wife was instrumental in calming him down and offering a solution instead of having it escalate into a contentious confrontation. After all, we were sharing the same limited camp space and cooperation was more conducive to having friendly relations than harboring hostility.

Now, what about the elderly gentleman?

He turned out not to be a grumpy old man after all (and maybe not so elderly).

Returning to my comment about making assumptions, I learned that the “elderly“ man’s age was 71 years – one year older than me!

Oy veh!  And I thought he was much older – just by initial appearances. I could not say just what age he appeared to be, to me, but I really thought he must be several years my senior.

Geesh, that then had me pondering just how I am first perceived. Many tell me that I do not look 70, but still, people do surely have other first impressions of me. Maybe I have just not aged as most people think a 70 year old should appear. Regardless of slight differences in our ages, this was kind of a slap in my own face for making an age assumption.

But it gets better.

For a little while, most of us stood around chatting with this nice “old” man whose name was Sid (his wife was Sigrid). In the course of conversing, he mentioned Ohio. This of course prompted me to inquire about his relationship to my home state.

Darn, if life just doesn’t have interesting twists and turns! 

One year prior to my arrival there, Sid had also attended Ohio University, my college alma mater. His attendance there was very brief, just one year, before having a much longer stint in the Army. I learned a whole lot about Sid’s life; having served in the Army he was stationed in Germany where he met his wife and returned to the US where they raised a family. Revealing more about his life, I learned he had a heart condition but in the past few years had a pace maker implanted whereafter his wife, a physical therapist, got him moving and out hiking to keep them both in good shape.

What a small world to find we had common ground and a connection through the state of Ohio.

Finally ending our friendly conversation and upon rejoining my group, some joked with me about my “new best friend”. It was funny, and I’m sure the appearances of our lengthy talk, were to the others quite amusing and yet a bit heartwarming to see these two “Old” guys having a nice chat. (At that point I wish I had a mirror to reflect on my own appearance, which was being altered, as both my head and face were unshaven since before I started my trip a week before). Was I looking like a grizzly old mountain man?

Continuing about my assumptions; my initial impression of Sid being a nice person was correct. He was entitled to his outburst, since the rules of backcountry camping are there to protect other campers as well as the sensitive environment in which we were visiting. The rule of backcountry travel is “Leave No Trace”. A guardian of the environment is a good thing and I give him credit for defending the rules. 


However, that darn age thing is another matter. Even though I know I am much more active than many in my generation, I do feel and see the effects and affects as I march onward into these senior years. Perhaps Sid, Sigrid and I could be poster icons for active older adults.

In an earlier segment of this adventure I related how all campers in the sites shared the common food prep area. Sid and Sigrid were preparing their dinner, as were we. The two of them sat outside our group, but we could tell they were listening to our banter. It was usual for us to start telling stories during which time we knew we were entertaining them as well. 

We invited them to join us, which they quickly did, and shared their own stories with us. We enjoyed their company, as I believe they did ours.

The day ended with a greater appreciation and respect for each other.

No confrontation. No showdown. No anger.

All’s well that ends well.

                                                    Brandon, Kate, Bob, Gyorgyi, Tiffany, Tim, Don

u © Donald E. Kline 2012