I been warped by the rain, driven by the snow
I’m beat down and dirty, and don’t you know
That I’m still . . . willin’
(Willin’ – Lowell T. George)
A couple of weeks ago, three other crazies and I climbed Star Peak. Not that it’s crazy to climb Star Peak, understand, but the weather wasn’t exactly cooperative. Or nice. OK, it wasn’t quite abysmal — except for a couple of minutes at a time — but it wasn’t a bluebird day.
In fact, I had fielded a couple of phone calls from other hikers canceling for the day and gone back to bed when the other crazies showed up. A couple of hours later, we stood panting in a steady rain at the top of one of the longer lifts on the old road that makes up the first couple of miles of the Star Peak trail. Nicole, the youngest member of the group then actually asked the question: “Are we crazy?”
“Yes,” I said. “Now, let’s go.”
And we did, guerrilla hikers in the mist, and then the rain, and then the snow and finally, the mist, rain, wind and snow as we came to the top. Boy, were we having fun by then.
We got out of the wind by ducking under the lowered shutters and crawling through the open door of the Star Peak lookout, kicked open by vandals over a year ago. Packrats have started to finish what the idiots started.
I do not use the term “idiot” lightly. It means “an utterly foolish or senseless person,” and has the synonyms “fool,” “half-wit,” “imbecile,” “dolt,” “dunce” and “numskull.” It is also easier to explain to an 11-year-old than some other descriptors I might have used.
Then, after about 7 minutes in a dark, damp, dank, packrat-decorated room, we crawled back out into the mist, rain, wind and snow and began for home.
About halfway back to the old road, my right knee began to give me grief, and by the time we hit the road, it has passed from grief to a tortuous grind. Finally, at the suggestions of the youngest crazy, and for much of the rest of the hike back to the car at the bottom of the trail, I walked backwards.
Somewhere along the way, we encountered several of those abysmal weather minutes. Walking backwards, to some degree, kept the worst of the rain out of my face, but it did not save me from becoming saturated everyplace else. Nor was anyone else spared. GoreTex is good, but it ain’t that good.
We got back to the car, wrung ourselves out as much as possible, and then drove home. On the way, we agreed that it had been, on all accounts, a great hike.
So, what the heck is that about, do you suppose?
The knee seems to be behaving again, which is good. I don’t mind walking backwards, but it’s hard to make good time.
Yes, Nicole. We are crazy. But, I’d rather be crazy than an idiot. Now, let’s go.
— Sandy Compton