The following are actual conversations I engaged in with visitors to the trail:
Driver of a car that’s just arrived: Where’s the parking lot?
Me: You’re in the parking lot.
Visitor: How far is [my destination] from here?
Me: One hundred miles and about three hours.
Visitor: Oh! So about three miles?
Visitor: Will we see a bear here?
Me: Probably not. You’re more likely to see a rattlesnake than a bear on the trail.
Young visitor exiting the trail: Do you remember where we parked?
Me: No. I don’t remember where you parked.
[I had never before seen these people; they’d parked in the overflow lot.]
Visitor standing in front of me: Do you have one of those self-guided things [meaning a trail guide]?
Me: No. I’m sorry. We ran out last Sunday.
Visitor: Really? [He acted as if I were lying to him.]
Me: Really. If I had any, I’d be happy to give you one.
Me to 20ish male visitor with longish hair, tattoos, and dark sunglasses: There’s a $5 parking fee.
Male visitor to me: What if we don’t have $5 cash?
Me: I hope you have tradeables.
Male visitor: [Silence]
Nervous female companion of male visitor: We have water…and…
Me: Go ahead and park, but next time you come to the mountains, bring some cash. What are you going to do if you have to bribe a cop?
Male visitor: We’re going to hope it doesn’t come to that.
Me: Have fun!
Male Visitor: How long will it take to walk the trail?
Me: That depends on how many trees you want to hug.
[The male visitor never showed a hint of a smile. Maybe he’s too cool to smile. Maybe I’m not as funny as I like to think I am.]
Me, as I hand a trail guide and a day pass to a visitor who’s just handed me a $20 bill: Here’s your day pass and a trail guide. You don’t need to take the day pass back to your car…
Visitor: So I need to put this [indicating the day pass] in the car?
Me: No. As I just said, you don’t need to take the pass back to your car. You will want to take the trail guide with you.
Visitor: And where do I get the trail guide?
Me: It’s in your hand.
Visitor: Those marks on the trees that look like they’re from fire? What are they from?
Passenger in a car that’s just entered the parking lot: What’s all the smoke from?
Me to a person on a bicycle stopped at the entrance to the trail: Excuse me. The trail is for walking only.
Person on bicycle [said roughly]: I’m just looking at the sign!
Me: I was just letting you know.
Person on bicycle [said roughly and dismissively]: You let me know! Thank you!
Visitor: Those are some pretty amazing trees.
Me: They sure are.
Visitor: God was on his toes when he made those.