I wanted to share a story about assumptions. Mostly because it was a little humbling for me.
Last month, I was hiking with a couple of friends through the southern Sierra. Rather than taking our chances on a route over a ridge we didn’t know was possible without climbing gear, we hiked a long way down the Mount Whitney trail to head back up to Upper Boy Scout Lake. We were sitting a bit off the Whitney trail on the path leading to the lake when an older gentleman started past us. I waved and then said, ‘If you’re heading up to Mount Whitney, the trail goes the other way.’
He was kind in his response. ‘I’m going to Upper Boy Scout Lake. I think this is the trail.’ Indeed, it was. ‘Ahh,’ I sheepishly corrected myself, ‘yep it is. Have a great trip!’ I tried to make up for my having basically doubted his ability to get to Upper Boy Scout.
Immediately, I felt bad. Why had I thought there was no way he could be heading there? No doubt, if even to some degree because of his age. Sure, I understood the trail to be a steep, rugged approach mostly used by climbers heading up the burly Mountaineers Route on Whitney or to climb the airy east ridge of Mount Russell. Regardless, it wasn’t fair of me to make an assumption about this man’s ability.
As innocent as I intended my suggestion to be, it served as a good reminder: Don’t make assumptions, Thom. Put another way: Everyone has their own story.