Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Hate Stupid Tourists

I'm still finished up some maps and stuff for my big post about days 2 and 3 of hiking. Until then, my extremely angry rant about stupid tourists, the varieties that step on rare plants and put themselves in danger. It's exceptionally bitchy, and, as was pointed out to me, extremely condescending. Which, I realize is pretty bad, but I was substantially pissed at the time. Enjoy (or don't).

Dear stupid tourists: I really don't like you. I realize that not everyone can hike Mt. Washington. But just because you took the cog railway or drove up does not give you the right to be a total asshat. The fact that your chosen method of transportation brings noise and pollution to a beautiful mountain is not a good start.

No, it's not the world's biggest observation deck. This mountain is a rare alpine habitat. If you want to walk around and gawk at the mediocre views*, that's fine. But stay on the fucking summit. It's leveled, rocky, and not a habitat. Do not even think of walking down. If you get even a few dozen feet below the summit, you will see plants. Many of these plants don't grow anywhere else. If you stray off the trails (and chances are, you don't know how to follow rock cairns), you will step on these plants. I'm a reasonable experienced hiker with a good hiking pole and excellent rockhopping ability, and I still stay on the trail unless absolutely necessary.

And, even if you can stay on trails, what the fuck are you doing attempting to hike? It's 1.5 miles from the summit to the nearest shelter, with 1500 feet of vertical drop. That's over an hour hike, over bare sharp rocks, on an exposed ridge with nasty northwest winds. Summit conditions during summer are mid 50s and 20 mph winds, on the nicest of days. In the three hours it will take you to make the round trip, it may be hurricane force winds, dense fog, driving rain, and lightning at the top. (I only wish I was making this up...) So why the fuck are you attempting to make the trip in a t-shirt and sandals, with no water, and a child who doesn't want to be there**??? People die up here, and you could be one of them. I've been climbing since 9 this morning, and I am covered in sweat, and I am wearing two shirts and hiking boots, and I have 50 oz of water, a jacket, and a poncho in my pack, plus an excellent telescoping stick. And I carried them up the last three thousand feet, you lazy fuckers.

* The views from Washington suck majorly. There's clouds on the summit 55% of the time, and haze pretty much the rest of the time. Better views are found a few miles north or south along the presidential ridgeline, or over on Mt. Hight a few miles east.

** Little kids can hike. My cousin is nine, and he was ahead of us for almost the entire ten miles yesterday. But he's intelligent, athletic, and fully capable of hauling his own food and water and using a pole. He's also eager. Forcing a young child to go on a technically difficult hike: extremely bad idea.

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