There is something about wilderness activities that brings out the best in human nature. It is like getting outside the toxic fumes of civilization, breathing in all that nasty fresh air and actually communing with flora that was not made in China triggers some long forgotten gene that makes us actually be NICE to each other. People will look you in the eye, and might even smile and say something that does NOT sound threatening. Granted this may be because they managed to separate themselves from their favorite pocket-sized electronic appendage for a few minutes and are totally confused without it, but it is a start.
On my hike the other day, it was beautiful encountering smiling children as they ran circles around my huffing and puffing wreck of a self, then sprinting off to have their great grandparents also run past me to catch up with them. They all would smile and say hello. And even if the hello changed pitch from the doppler shift associated with the speed they passed me, it was still heartening. And on the way down, after my several displays of acrobatic finesse as I desperately tried not crushing the camera in my pack while I performed masterful face plants … everyone asked if I was OK before they broke into gales of laughter. One guy even offered to call 911! But I am not here to discuss my imitation of Grizzly Adams on a bad day. The most beautiful human interactions seem to come out of the oddest of sources … namely …
… a full bladder.
Once before, I mentioned being saved by a divine porta-potty when I had such a painful moment, but apparently porta-potty miracles are reserved for highway driving. This particular incident happened to one of my female hiking partners. Now, as anyone who has stood between a partying woman and a bathroom will fearfully relate, this is not only very uncomfortable for said female, but VERY dangerous to anyone in her direct path. Our heroine, apparently forgetting that she was not a camel, or maybe believing our tales of a 5 star restaurant at the summit, stretched her bladder well beyond its design specs. She decided that it was time, despite a distinct lack of cover, and a LARGE studio audience. I caught a glimpse of her intense need when she flipped me over her shoulder because I was in her way, despite the fact that I weigh three times as much as her and have a few inches on her.
And then the glorious example of humanity happened. She found a nice dip in a rock that looked like it needed a good puddle, and had something resembling a wall on one side. My three other hiking companions, ignoring my carcass bleeding there on the trail (as they should have under the circumstances), valiantly created a wall of human flesh around the other sides of her, to protect her sweet innocent self from public disgrace. Of course this being a mountain and all it didn’t do much for those in the nosebleed seats, but it is the thought that counts. They didn’t even really complain at the resulting explosion which nearly washed them off the mountainside and cleaned their shoes a bit. It has been suggested that our heroine apply for a job as understudy for Old Faithful.
But I have to admit, once the stars cleared from my dizzy skull, I saw the glow of angelic deeds surrounding those noble companions! Truly humanity at its ultimate best!