The NPS requires its trail crew members to hike a minimum speed of three miles an hour. Once you get in shape and acclimated to the altitude, three miles an hour is pretty easy to do. Five miles an hour is common with trail workers on the top of their game.
At the end of one day on the trail through Rafferty Meadows, Mark, Chris, Glen, Wayne, and I were clustered together hiking back to camp. We played different music trivia games on this hike. First we played The Alphabet Game with band names. The first person might say “Aerosmith”. The next person would say “Aerosmith, Beatles.” The next person would have to say all of the names already given, plus add one for the next letter in the alphabet.
When that game ran its course, we began a discussion of the state of contemporary music. The question under discussion was “Name a good band who had put out their first album since 1980.” The discussion was vigorously progressing when Moose caught up to us from behind.
Moose said, “Hey! Come on! You could hike faster than this!”
“Well, yeah, we could, but it’s the end of the day and we’re on our way home.” I’m not sure who actually said this. The cheekiness indicates that it was most likely either Mark or myself.
“Doesn’t matter. You’re on the clock. Let’s go! It doesn’t look good for all you young guys to be outhiked by a thirty year old woman with bad knees!”
We kicked it into gear and picked up the pace with Moose right behind us. We were hard-headed youth, though, and so as soon as our watches hit 4:00…quitting time…we dropped our pace back to a speed that would let us continue our discussion.
Moose almost crashed into us from behind. “Hey! Let’s go! Three miles an hour.”
“Well…it’s after four o’clock now and I’m hiking on my time. I don’t think we’re obligated to hike three miles an hour on our own time.”
“Aw, come on! You’re going to let a thirty year old woman with bad knees beat you back to camp?!”
“Yup. Today we are, anyway.”
“I don’t have anything to prove.”
“I’m secure in my masculinity.”
Moose spit on the ground as she passed us.
We never did come up with one good band active in 1987 who had released their first album since 1980.