When Am I Being Helpful? When Am I Just Annoying?

Saturday, Sprocket and I climbed Uncompahgre Peak. It was a gorgeous fall day although I ran into five other groups of hikers on the trail—it was just a hopping place! (Seriously, how am I ever going to hike 14ers closer to Denver?!?)

All kidding aside, I want to talk about unprepared hikers. You know the ones I’m talking about…

This time, it was a pair of well coiffed, expensive (non-athletic) sunglass wearing people. Neither was wearing a pack and they had matching expensive looking polished walking sticks. Music was playing from someone’s phone and neither was wearing a jacket. Later in the parking lot I discovered they were driving a rental jeep.

The forecast for the day called for a strong chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon and the breeze on top of Uncompahgre had been more than a little bit chilly (it took me a mile or so of brisk downhill hiking to really warm back up).

Curious as to what these people were up to, I asked them where they were headed. I figured it would be presumptuous of me to assume that they were headed for the peak. The woman pointed up at the unmistakable hulk of Uncompahgre. “Are we about half way?” she asked.

Taking in the whole tableau, all that could come out of my mouth was a very emphatic, “No.” Her face fell and her hiking partner asked, “So how far are we?” I told them they were at best a quarter of the way (turns out they were closer to a third…but with only a quarter of the elevation accomplished).

They looked at each other and appeared to be ready to press on and I felt that I just had to say something. I pointed up at the innocent looking clouds that were beginning to gather. “There are thunderstorms predicted for this afternoon. Those clouds weren’t there an hour ago, please keep an eye out. You’ll be the highest point around up there and lightning isn’t something to mess with.”

They looked annoyed. I’d pretty much been a dream crusher, so I mostly understood. “Have fun but watch the weather,” I said, bidding them adieu. I hoped they would get tired before they tangoed with weather (although the weather seemed to stay nice for several hours more). I hoped they’d enjoy their day in the mountain with our without a summit.

Experienced hikers, how do you handle running into someone who might be getting in above their head? How about someone definitely above their head?

Inexperienced hikers, how can someone offer a bit of advice without being rude or ruining your day? Or is that possible?

I feel like I have a decent handle on the risks entailed in most of my outdoor activities. I get annoyed when those who have less experience try to tell me how dangerous something is. I wouldn’t tell Steph Davis that soloing the Diamond is a dumb idea. She knows how dangerous it is and makes her choice accordingly. So is it ever okay to say something to someone? Is it selfish that I don’t want to hear about someone I could have spoken to making a dumb choice on the trail?

I try to err on the side of polite, direct, and factual.

Wedding, Part 7: Final Wedding Preparations

Once Robin and I arrived back at the house with all of our rental items, it was time to get to work. Steve and I moved tables around to the back of the house while Robin took charge of arranging all the chairs for the ceremony. Next, we pulled out the decorations stash from the storage area and discussed what would go where. I thought that we should wait a few hours to put out the tablecloths but Steve thought that now would be as good of a time as any. I told him which jars we were using to decorate the table and suggested that some rocks would make a good accent and just turned him loose.

Ceremony setup

While Steve was outside decorating the tables, Robin and I started getting things ready to make my bouquet. We started by making stems out of some of the succulent blooms to mix in with the roses we bought at the grocery store. (I’d decided to just take whatever flowers I could get and used a dozen white roses and a dozen blush roses.) Robin was quite the pro at making excellent stems. Since she was so good at wiring the succulents, I put her in charge of F’s boutonnière and my mom’s corsage.

Robin working on flowers
Bouquet making
Bouquet making. (Amanda Summerlin)

About this time, Jolleen got back from town and insisted I have a bagel (she even toasted it and put butter on it for me). Then she set to work making a tie to go with her class As; it turned out quite well! You’d never notice it wasn’t the official tie. (She’d lent her black tie to her husband and it never made it back to the uniform bag.)

As I was eating my bagel, I wondered outside and was absolutely delighted by Steve’s decorating job. He’d built a small rock tower as a centerpiece to the tables, scattered the candle jars around super artfully, and found great places to use more rocks to hold the tablecloths down against any wind. He’d also put some candles on the pie table and put out the log rounds for pie stands. (F cut the tree for the log rounds on our property.) Everything looked AMAZING. (And I didn’t have to do a thing.)

Steve at wedding
Steve relaxing with his handiwork in the background. (Amanda Summerlin)
Steve’s masterpiece

Next, Robin and I assembled my bouquet. I don’t know what I would have done without her! She’s much more artistic than I am and was great about seeing where we were getting holes, where a succulent should go and what color rose we should add next. I just did a lot of bouquet holding while she did the arranging and wire wrapping.

Around this time, Stacia and Andrea returned from visiting Arches (sounds like they had a great sunrise visit!) ready to help. I handed copies of the lasagna recipes to Jolleen and Stacia and away they went. They turned into a regular lasagna making assembly line while I jumped in the shower. Jollene mixed up the ricotta mixture while Stacia and Andrea assembled them in the crockpots. Meanwhile, Robin made sure that all the dishes were being done.

Lasagna Making
LLasagna making assembly line (Amanda Summerlin

Just as they were finishing up, the boys got back from their motorcycle ride. This is when time started going fast for me. F, Jason, and I took some time to go over our ceremony in the front yard and it was then that I realized I was nervous. Jason asked for our input on something and whatever I said must have either sounded stressed out or weird because F just looked at me and said, “Calm down.” I proceeded to put my arm around him and stand there while he and Jason hammered out the last minute details.

Just as we finished up with Jason, Stacia finished washing Sprocket and was heading out for a walk. Since it was time for me to get dressed, I suggested that when she got back, she should bring him upstairs to the apartment where he could hang out with the girls and I could keep an eye on him so he wouldn’t go find some red dirt to roll in while he was still damp (because he absolutely would).

I had a quiet few minutes starting to put my hair in hot rollers before Stacia and Andrea burst in, Sprocket in tow, with two cans of Coors Light for “old times sake.” Andrea even brought in a bowl so I could share my beer with Sprocket. Since I was sort of struggling with the rollers (it’s hard when you can’t see what you’re doing!), Stacia decided to help me out. Fortunately, Amanda made an appearance about then and was able to capture my bridesmaid working wayyy out of her comfort zone. Soon, Jolleen joined us and they worked together on finishing up while Andrea opened a bottle of champagne.

Wedding 20120922-38
Group hair effort. (Amanda Summerlin)

While we were waiting for the curling iron to warm up (we’d run out of curlers for my thick hair), I did my makeup. Sandi and Ashley joined us for some champagne and Ashley helpfully did the final curls and helped me take out the rollers. My mom, aunt, and godmother arrived just in time to help me get into my dress. We all finished off our champagne as Jolleen went to find out where our first look would be and if they were ready.

Sandy and Ashley joined us for the finishing touches.
Me and my mom
Veil adjustments
All smiles.

When she came back upstairs to tell me that we were ready, I felt this big sigh of relief. F and I originally hadn’t planned on seeing each other before the ceremony but I wasn’t nervous exactly, just more a big bundle of energy and being beside F sounded like the place to be.

Ready for the first look.

Wedding, Part 3: Castle Valley

Thursday morning, we got up, gathered our things, and prepared to head out to Castle Valley. I drove the jeep out to the house (after making a quick stop at the grocery store for the last pie ingredients) and was really quite delighted to see we’d found a beautiful spot for the wedding. I really wasn’t expecting to have Castleton Tower and Parriott Mesa so right there at our venue.

Sprocket with Parriott Mesa

F arrived not long after I did and we set to work unpacking the van. It didn’t take us too long to get everything unpacked and sorted. I put some elbow grease into cleaning up the BBQ while F washed the patio…there were some rough edges to soften to make it wedding ready! We even took this opportunity to hang up Christmas lights in the trees around the patio—no reason not to enjoy the festiveness for a few extra days!

Tony and Vanessa came out to say hello in the evening and stayed for dinner before heading back to town.We were sort of expecting Thomas and Tasha to arrive in the late afternoon but apparently they had fun exploring in the Salt Lake area and didn’t arrive until nearly 11pm. We stayed up and chatted for awhile trying to wait for Ezra and Jolleen but they didn’t pull into the house until around 1am.

Friday morning, we were up bright and early. Steve, Ezra’s dad, arrived in time for coffee. F was anxious to get out and go riding and I had PIES to bake. Turns out he had to wait for Jason to arrive and I had to wait for measuring cups since there were none in the house (fortunately, Jason called to ask if we needed anything before he drove from town and he brought me some measuring cups and spoons).

Once Jason arrived, it was a flurry of activity as I started furiously making pies and F geared up to head out. Several pies later, my mom and aunt arrived from town to assist me. Several more pies later, Amanda (our photographer) arrived at the house. Pie making continued as the dirt bikers returned and others filtered in from adventures in Arches and the greater Moab area. F’s aunt and uncle arrived from Wyoming with their daughter and her husband.

Relaxing on the porch

By the time Stacia and Andrea arrived after their long drive from Denver, it was time go visit Castle Creek Winery. We were all pleasantly surprised by the quality of the wines. The sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and the cabernet sauvignon were all favorites. I had so much fun tasting wine with everyone, it was a really great way to wind down the day.

Castle Creek Winery

Back at the house, we had a frozen pizza feast for dinner (thanks Mom!), while people enjoyed some beer and wine on the patio and throughout the house, and then headed for bed.