Moose blocking your trail?
Wait patiently, keep your distance, and step behind a tree.
Bear halting your hike?
Speak softly, back up, and ready your pepper spray.
Boulders falling at random?
Read warnings, drive forward, and cross your fingers.
I waited patiently for a bull, cow, and calf moose to clear my path at Isle Royale.
The Yellowstone grizzly I spied from a safe distance and the Kings Canyon black bear never appeared though I searched for one on my final hike there.
Visiting all the US National Parks is one of my life’s goals. (I prefer life goal to bucket list. The former, once completed, I check off. The latter, when fulfilled, I check out.) As with all worthwhile ventures there are risks. Moose and bear encounter tactics, I get. Give them space and prepare for defensive action.
But rocks and boulders?
Threatened landslides, falling rocks, and rockfalls peppered my latest life goals’ journey to Yosemite and back via five additional national parks. Warning signs becoming direr as Karen (my traveling companion) and I progressed. I thought of Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and how he outran the rolling boulder in the booby-trapped Peruvian temple. Since I’m not as fleet, I’d duck!
At first the warnings didn’t concern me. If a Silverton bakery adopted the highway, how bad could it be? Surely bakers wouldn’t risk their lives to pick up litter. Now if Silverton Olympic Weightlifters were listed as the highway’s keepers that would give me pause.
The additions of “danger” to this sign did give me pause. Was the logic that a moving target was harder to hit?
Rocks narrowly missing a car emblazoned this sign. This may be for those drivers who can’t envision their car actually being struck by rocks. The risks increased with each mile.
After seeing this sign, I imagined bears and elks and mule deer flinging rocks at travelers and rolling boulders onto the highway.
Rocks never rest! After I’m safely tucked in bed, they scheme to cause hazards!
Off the road and in the visitors center, the randomness of crashing rocks is underscored!
After reading an advertisement on the Yosemite shuttle to El Capitan, the biggest rock of all, I’m tempted to abandon the venture. “There is no way to know when a rockslide may occur.” In other words “Rock happens!”
While pursuing goals and living life, random risks occur. Had I not hiked the Sequoia trail, I wouldn’t have spied the mule deer at rest.
Had I not wandered the El Capitan meadow, I wouldn’t have stood in its majesty.
Life can be rocky, but friends make it less so.