Sunday, August 29, 2010

Park Rangers are like the Police: stay away

To hike the Narrows, you need a permit. The group size is also limited – to something like 12 people or so. In our hike last Saturday, as I mentioned in an earlier post, me, my dad, and my brother-in-law finished very late. We were part of a larger group – with people on two permits. At the beginning of the hike, we separated into a bunch of smaller groups and, like I said, when I got out, there were just 3 of us. My sister and a friend waited at the end of the trail, so when we left the park, there were 5 of us.

Earlier that evening someone in that earlier group called the park ranger to tell them that we were still in the canyon. So, when we finally got out of the park, there was a ranger waiting for us. We climbed off the shuttle and he came rushing up to us. Not because he was concerned about our well-being, but because he wanted to give us a ticket for being in too large a group.

This guy was a real jerk. First of all, all he had to do was to look and see that there were only 5 of us. And, given that someone else had called much earlier in the day, he could easily deduce that other people had finished much earlier (there’s no cell reception in the narrows). Next thing we know he’s threatening to give us a ticket for being in too large a group (there were only 5 of us so we were way below the limit). In the end, he just wrote a warning.

I’m sure this guy was upset that he was pulled away from his favorite TV show. Instead of caring about the people in the park, we were an annoyance to him.

It’s just another example of the principle I teach my kids: Only in the direst of emergencies do you ever call the police. Once they show up, you don’t know what kind of havoc they’ll cause. They’re just as likely to shoot you as they would an intruder. Call someone you trust. If you’re ever out doing something and you come in contact with the police, don’t talk to them. Don’t say anything.

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