Know how to use it

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
This one is almost too funny, but there is a moral. Over at Livermore’s Del Valle Park, they have acres and acres of pristine open space to wander about. The lake there is pretty nice. You can rent a kayak any Wednesday night during the summer for $20. That is a great deal and Sunrise Mountain Sports manages the program. Anyway, on Saturday a man who we will call John Doe (although his real name is …. No, I can’t do that.) got into trouble there. Doe is a volunteer trail safety patrol member who was out doing his duty that afternoon about 4 pm. His mission was to walk the trials and assist visitors who might be lost or need help. After he didn’t check in with supervisors after dark, they began to worry. Where did John Doe go? Why didn’t he radio in? Although he is 85, he is fit, knows the park and is a good hiker – good enough to be a trail safety monitor. After a ground search failed, Park officials called in a helicopter that spotted him. 8 hours later all was well and he was out of harm’s way. John got lost in space – lost in time. Turns out he didn’t have a flashlight, nor a charged cell phone. Even worse, he had a park emergency radio – but didn’t know how to use it. AARRGGHH.  The moral is – not only do you need the proper gear  – make sure you know how to use your stuff! Before we break John Doe’s chops over this. I have seen many hikers on the Half Dome trail with a brand new water filter pump and had no idea how to use it. I have passed hikers with trekking poles jammed in their packs – no one told them how to use them. And a compass will do you know good if you don’t know how to use it and read a map. So take advantage of the big sales on gear you need – just be sure to plow through your instruction booklet and practice using it before you leave. Poor John Doe – kinda funny.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Relax; breathe; feel the earth; do nothing extra.” – Martin Lee, Tai Chi master
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

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