The time my friend, Andy, and I almost gave some hikers a heart attack was one of the best moments from my time on GeoJourney. (Andy is pictured above being hardcore during a storm in the Badlands. The blowing sand was intense.)
It's fair to say that Andy and I had a competitive streak at times. Usually it was along the lines of a “first one there wins” competition. Andy also has a comedian's sense of humor and timing, like a less violent and graphic Deadpool.
So there we were, hiking back from Angels Landing towards Walter's Wiggles - a section of trail in Utah's Zion National Park famous for its 21 switchbacks and steep climb.
We both slowly picked up our pace as we approached Walter's Wiggles, knowing the race was on. By the time we hit the first switchback, we were skidding around the corner. By the fifth, my feet were burning as they mashed into the front of my hiking boots whenever I tried to slow down for the next turn.
A race down the Wiggles, though admittedly stupid, would have made it on my list of amazing experiences on its own. I would like to say, “Don't do stupid things like this," but honestly, they make the best stories, so all I'll say is, “Be safe about being stupid.” The moment that moved this race to near the top of my list of amazing experiences occurred about two-thirds of the way down.
We rounded a corner as a group of four or five hikers were making their way up. Upon seeing these two red-faced and sweating guys sprinting towards them like bats out of hell, a rather panicked young woman assumed the worst. In possibly the most terrified voiced I've ever heard, she asked:
Andy responded without even a moment's pause as we sped past...
We didn't slow down in the slightest.
As I whipped past the group, I saw the pure terror in faces that will probably be imprinted in my mind forever.
I don't know what happened to that group. I don't know if they decided to hike the rest of the way up or decided not to risk it. I would not be surprised if park services got a call from a group of terrified hikers reporting a bear attack.
All I remember is being as out of breath from laughing as I was from racing once we reached “safety.”
I feel slightly guilty that we may have ruined their hike, but I don't feel too bad considering they now have an amazing story of narrowly escaping a vicious bear attack.