Friday, June 15, 2007

Smokin' Piestewa

I took another hike up Piestewa this evening. It was about 105F when I set out from the bottom so not a cool hike. After 32 minutes I reached the top where I sat and wondered if not being able to breathe was worth the exercise and view.

About 5 minutes after I got to the top a vagrant arrived. This was a bit surprising as all the other hikers had high tech hiking boots, camel backs, Kevlar walking poles, altimeters, and heart rate monitors. He had a pair of torn grey flannel pants, a dirty button down shirt and unlaced very worn trainers. His hair was dirty and platted and some of it tied back with string and when he smiled through his matted beard you could see that alternating teeth were missing.

I had this urge to shout out "dad" but then I realised that although my father aspires to a status such as that he stills has far to go to get there.

He was carry a plastic shopping bag in his hand and from it he produced an almost finished bottle of water, some iced tea and a disposable camera. I offered to take his photo for him however he said that he could take his own but I'm sure that he just didn't trust me and thought I'd run off with his camera. We chatted for a short while and I learned that he was up there to watch the new moon. It was only going to be visible for a short while as it chased the setting sun in the east. I was somewhat surprised at his knowledge of the stars and moon phases but considering that I know next to nothing he could have told me anything and I would have believed it.

As I was about to leave he opened his plastic bag and pulled out some paper and what I thought was tobacco and rolled himself a joint. I started my journey down the mountain with Wern Snell of Colitas rising up through the air.


Ann (bunnygirl) said...

For years I used to see a homeless guy around my area of town who people told me had once been a university professor. So you never know. The guy you saw might've been a former astronomer, fallen on hard times.

Guy Ellis said...

I've heard things like that as well but have always just passed them off as urban legends. There was an episode of Law & Order recently that skirted that them when Munch's uncle came to New York and became a down and out until the crew found him.