Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Pinnacles: who are these people?

We made our annual pilgrimage to Pinnacles National Monument last Sunday. We only go once a year, usually in March, when the flowers are out and the bat caves are open. I could actually pass on the bat caves, especially when they are filled with several feet of rushing water. Oh, and bats. Not a lot, but at least one clinging to the wall like a sort of husk, where you could put your hand on it. Anyway I notice particularly at Pinnacles that a large number of people show up there who look like they've never been to a national park before. They come in leather jackets and flip flops, carrying cigarettes but no water. And off they go, up the steep hills in the heat, into the caves with several feet of rushing water. And back they come, happy, relaxed, not sweating, not in pain. They don't fall in the caves. They don't get stones in their flip-flops. Whereas I, with my extra-strength hiking books and sunscreen and protective hat and layered clothes--I'm sweating. My feet are hurting. I still manage it all without too much complaining (except in the caves where I refuse to examine the bat at close range because I am balancing on a tiny rock about to topple into darkness). But who are these people with the tattooed legs who aren't having any trouble at all?

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