As you can imagine as one of the co-founders of Mad Jack Outdoor, I myself am outdoorsy. Which, from time to time I find myself off the beaten path and at the welcoming gates of our National Parks. Our National Parks are truly treasures, but they are also where cross sections of humanity meet, some knowing how to be outdoorsy, and others who are….well...learning. And for some reason, when visitors pass the welcoming sign into sed National Park, they leave their common sense behind.
On a recent visit to Zion, which is truly spectacular, I observed three categories of ‘humanity’ that were ‘learning’.
The first category are the non-hikers, who for some reason, have decided to actually hike. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is fantastic that they are taking their novice steps on the trail, but I feel for them as they step out onto strenuous hikes, wearing jeans, shoes meant to traverse sleek mall floors and no layering system. The latter lending themselves to being way too cold or way too hot and by no means comfortable. Attributing to their hiking experience is the high likelihood that they have not done any strenuous exercise in recent years.
The second is the over geared, who have draped themselves from head to toe in ‘Patagucci’, have walking sticks even though the terrain or their age does not require it and their picnic lunch looks like it was prepared by Thomas Kellar.
The third, the scariest of the categories, is the ‘Animal Tamer’. This is the individual who for some reason, thinks wild animals are domesticated, should be fed people food and will not in the least bit find it unsettling if you get up close and personal to take a selfie with it.
The National Parks are the gateways for so many to be outside, breathe fresh air, be present, make fond memories with friends and family...which is wonderful. However, just like you need a license to get behind the wheel, sometimes a National Park learners permit might not be a bad idea.