The characters of Black Canyon of The Gunnison National Park one summer day during a road-trip stop:

Chipper Loquacious Morning Park Ranger with glasses and a penchant for talking up hiking safety and talking down realistic standards of trail difficulty; calls for all members of the party to listen intently so the information is got for everyone; asked me if I majored in underwater basket weaving in college

Ranger Mike: Mountain Suave, all ways burly but beard mostly, a darker right eye that still twinkles like a Robin Williams left. Former army man at Fort Drum used to party at my alma mater. When I said my situation “on a road trip across the States” his response “Outstanding.” Makes the kids (future Rangers) do five push-ups to pump the blood up and smiles all the while doing it alongside; We traded “business” cards so maybe he’ll see this post and if so, holla for some recs*

Elder Woman in Wheelchair peeping mini dogs bears who doesn’t answer when I whisper-yell about a deer 30-feet-away in the green underbrush. She opted to sit away from the action near a picnic table and people-watch parallel to me. Bonding.

Roaring Family of Typical American Tourists: loud and louder, all portly and oblivious of surroundings, young boy child yelling incessantly to his mother to have his picture taken in the face cutout of a Ranger life-size cutout so he can pretend for 3 seconds he is among the elite; his siblings follow suit. Deviation is deviant.

Nick Knoke, Climber, aka my travel partner and road trippin’ buddy. Wants to climb mountains. Volunteered to retrieve my solar-charging power bank at the bottom of the canyon after this girl realized five minutes from completing the hike out that I forgot it on a mediocre-sized rock near the sparkling running river. Timed himself and took the harder path up the ridgeline. A swashbuckler gentleman.


*recommendations. Longer version not conducive to rhythm.