When I was a skinny, highschool kid, a full foot shorter than full height, I worked after school and on weekends at a dry cleaning plant. I manned the counter.
The pants presser, Mr. Tommy took an interest in me. I wouldn't call it a liking. Mr.Tommy was an imposing, dark-complected black man. Everyone respected him. He played semi-pro ball. Julia, the dress presser, told me he would have been pro if he hadn't been ruined his knee. One time Mr. Tommy lifted me over his head with one arm just because I said he couldn't.
Mr. Tommy was something of a philosopher. Every now and then he would wave me over. "Come here," he'd say. "I've got something to tell you." He always got straight to the point. It was usually something like:"you talk too much," or "take a load off and enjoy life." One time he told me, "You can shit in one hand and wish in the other and see which one fills up first." But there's one thing he told that has really stuck. He told me, "No point in loving something if it doesn't love you back."
I suppose that's the way it is for me and high elevation. All summer my friends have tried to convince me there's plenty of good hiking at lower elevations. Maybe they are right. A sensible person would know it's time to face the obvious and move on to other pursuits.
If you're wondering, Duane finished his John Muir Trail hike. He finished right on schedule and brought back dozens of magnificent photos. I met him at the portal, bought him a steak in Lone Pine and drove him home the next day. There was more than a little vicarious pleasure in that.
As a closing thought, I want to thank to all of you dear readers who have followed these postings. I like to believe you found some pleasure in these rambles.
If for some odd reason, you happen to be hiking in the San Gabriels, and run across an old guy with over-sized sunglasses puttering along, please say hello. Meanwhile... happy hiking!