Friday, July 27, 2007

Sweaty Irishman Thoughts

The exact moment I knew I was out of my element.

Garden of the Gods

Unless you are truly on the inside of the circle of The Friendly Friends, you would be unaware that I recently spent a week in Colorado visiting with Mrs. Sweaty Irishman's family and getting baby Sweaty Irishman baptized. While out there we did typical family, trivial pursuit, talking, movies. We also took a few day trips to do some sight seeing. Garden of the Gods, Coors Field, and a trip into the Rockies. Now, I had been out here before of course, so I already had an idea of what the area was like. The differences in climate, the higher altitude, the 85 grade gasoline for sale and the unsettling grid-like layout of the city and suburban streets. But it wasn't until around our 4th day on this trip that I truly realized how out of my element I was. We drove our behemoth of a rental car up up up into the Rocky Mountains. Mrs. Sweaty wanted me and Sweaty Junior to see some Mountain Lakes she used to camp by. The drive of course was beautiful. Breath taking views around every turn, although we did hit a Mountain town called Ward that instantly recalled images of banjos and toothless youngsters. When we reached the hiking trail that led up to Brainard lake we parked the car, collected our camera, a water, and Sweaty Junior and headed to the path. It was at the start of the trail that I saw a post with some of your more typical hiking trail signs. After all, Pennsylvania is not without it's hiking trails. You had your no littering signs, your prevent forest fire signs, you know...typical nature stuff. It was not until I reached the last sign on the post that I realized how far out of my element I truly was.

The sign read...

What the F! Shouldn't this sign read "Hiking Trail Closed"?!?!?!?!?! Not wanting to look like a total wuss in front of Mrs. Sweaty I took the sign in stride. I read it, re-read it and took a photo of it. One of the sign, and Mrs. Sweaty wanted one with me and Sweaty Junior with the sign. I am not sure if she wanted to show Junior that he had once been in the area of Mountain Lion activity or perhaps she wanted photographic evidence of the worst father ever! Anyway, we decided to hike the trail regardless. With every step towards the lake the words from the warning sign echoed in my head. "If you are attacked by a mountain lion, don't run!"..."Fight back, don't quit!"..."Throw your belongings at it"... I was of course nervous, but a very little part of me was excited at the prospect of seeing a mountain lion in the wild. That feeling was brief when interrupted by the reality that if we did indeed see one, the only way my wife and child could get away safely was for me to keep the mountain lion busy. By keep it busy I of course mean letting him chew on my internal organs. Well, to make a long story longer, we made it to the lake, and back safely. It was a memorable experience for all of us, especially for Sweaty Junior...I could tell by the fervor behind his spit bubbles. So, twenty years from now when the story will have morphed into me wrestling with a pack of mountain lions while drinking a beer and protecting my family the friendly friends will know the real story.

It was totally worth it!

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