“Experience is a dear teacher, but fools will learn at no other”
I have had many experiences. I am a fool. When I was younger, I went out on the back 40 with my two cousins. That’s poison ivy! My cousin Stanley said. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt you. I replied. Then I proceeded to tear off some leaves and rub them on my cousin’s arms, and mine.
Outcome: We all came down with terrible rashes. My cousin Wes had to go to the doctor.
Lesson learned: Don’t mess with poison ivy.
Years later while hiking down the Grandview Trail towards Cottonwood Creek in the Grand Canyon, I took off my leather army boots at the end of the trail. Earlier I had put a piece of moleskin on my toe where I felt a hot spot. I took off my socks and peeled off the moleskin, which caused the blister to rupture and bleed out.
Outcome: I laid up a day in camp, soaked my toe in the creek, and circulated around the shade tree to keep out of the sun. My companions nicknamed me Sundial.
Lesson learned: Don’t put moleskin over a blister.
A few years after that while on a canoe trip in the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota, Big Vern and I were loading the canoe just offshore. He climbed into the bow, and while I was settling in the stern, he said are you ready? Before I could reply he lunged forward and we both capsized into the water.
Outcome: Fortunately, we both surfaced and climbed out on shore while rescuing the packs and the canoe.
Lesson learned: Don’t take off in a canoe until everyone is ready and balanced. Or don’t go canoeing with Big Vern.
Earlier, back in the Grand Canyon on the Hualapai Reservation while hiking down Bridge Canyon in a wash, I slipped. My backpack wedged between the sides of the walls, and my feet dangled in the air. I hung there in a crucifixion pose with my arms pinned and my feet dangling unable to move. Help I cried. Keith walked up the wash and surveyed the scene.
Outcome: After chuckling about my predicament, he lifted my legs, and I was able to free my arms and get released.
Lesson learned: Don’t get too far from the others when backpacking. It is good to get by with a little help from friends.
On another trip on the Hualapai, we broke camp and proceeded to hike up Spencer Canyon, looking for The Island, which an old Indian had told our organizers would appear. Then we should turn right and hike up Milkweed Canyon, where there was water, and we could climb out. At the beginning of the hike there was plenty of water in Spencer, but none of us bothered to fill our canteens, thinking we’d get to the Island and we could load up there. However, it was a long hot slog up Spencer, and we became more desperate wondering just where the hell the Island was. As we stopped to rest a discussion broke out about turning around. However, that would mean we’d be behind schedule, miss our flights, and likely cause a rescue squad to search for us. Some thought we might die of thirst in the desert. However, Sam and Susan gathered up our canteens and pressed forward. Fortunately, they found the Island and the mouth of Milkweed, where water spouted fourth from the side wall.
Outcome: We were saved.
Lesson learned: Fill your canteens while there is water. Hike with good friends who press on.
Well, these are some experiences I’ve lived to tell about.
Outcome: I’ve lived to tell about them.
Lesson learned: It’s great to hike with good friends. It’s great to be lucky and survive experiences. Or, as my friend Howard says: We’ve had our moments.