Thursday, May 13, 2010

Roger, Wilco

You start with a 25 year old guide.

You add 15 people, 14 of whom are over 50, four which are self - professed 'REALLY picky eaters' -- add 14 km hikes UP mountains and stops everywhere from spider infested 'hobbit holes' to beachfront resorts.

You make the old people carry sleeping bags into most of the venues and you send them on road trips that can be up to 11 hours long.

Back to the guide. This guy (remember he's like 25) has to be able to drive a huge truck over rutted roads, make impossible turns and do MOST of the cooking from the side of a truck.

If one of his aging brood is missing, say on a massively difficult trail (and wasn't me), this guide has to put down his lunch and go back over the trail until he finds, rescues him and brings him back to the fold...having remembered to set a plate of food aside in case he's hungry.

He also tackles hills and trails and slippery rocks with speed that would make Superman pee his pants...and he does it in flip flops. Then he smokes a cigarette. Or three. (**sigh** Who said 'Youth is wasted on the young?')

Amazing guy, this Wilco (pronounced "VIL-ko.) Here he is being asked questions by three people at a time before making six km hike along the beach and into the forest.

The only time he was left alone was when he was on one of those marathon drives across this vast country. Then he plugs in his ancient iPod and listens to Disney tunes as he navigates the roads and rutted paths with unerring precision.

He was offered a new iPod (no names of course) with Ozzy, AC/DC, Led Zep...and other music more befitting a 25 year old...but he politely declined. He likes the Disney tunes better.

He speaks with that smooth South African accent. He teaches us that "now now" means 'Yes, I heard you and I'll get to it...soon." He also teaches us that 'a little hike' CAN mean scrambling over rocks, in unreasonably high winds and along the side of a mountain for miles.

When I was 25, I considered myself a success if I remembered to pull up my fly...and responsible if I could remember where I parked my car.

So here's to you, Wilco. You did a splendid job. We enjoyed having our lives cross with yours. Stay well.