Klamath Nat’l Forest: The unhappy camper

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Boy, was I mistaken!

Turns out, I made Greg, the gold miner, pretty angry yesterday. Since it was Sunday, I thought it might be nice to share some dinner with another human being.

Let’s rewind, for a moment, to the night before, after the shopping spree: it was getting dark so, I decided to avail myself of some free WiFi and the two for five dollars special at Mickey D’s.

Guess who?

Who shows up for a giant cup of coffee? My new “friend,” gold miner Greg! When I left, I stopped at his table and asked how he was today. He gave me a big smile and thanked me for asking about him!

Advancing now to Sunday, where I had pulled out some charcoal-grilled fajita meat (Walmart), a can of corn and some cornbread. I made a butter sauce in my sauce pan—with real butter—using some fresh garlic and sea salt.

And then I sautéed the steak, also in butter, and added some barbecue sauce (great dipping for the cornbread loaves I picked up from the bakery section in the store). Pretty good cooking for the middle of nowhere, yes?

A little past 2PM, I walked down a short path to Greg’s putrid-green van, where I could hear some rock n’ roll blaring from inside. I knocked on the hood and called out, “Hello Greg!”

No response.

So, I walked back to my feast and, well, feasted! It’s been a while since I’ve been able to cook like that; most of the time, I don’t have fresh meat or butter—because of the lack of refrigeration.

After stuffing myself on a meal meant for two, I washed all of the dishes and put everything in its place. That’s when I saw Greg walking my way.

I could easily cook some more! I thought.

“Hello there!” I said with a smile. “I wanted to invite you for some Sunday dinner!” He told me that he had heard me knocking and calling his name but, that I had woke him up and he wasn’t a happy camper!

Then he read me the riot act!

“After you saw me last night, I came back here and mined all night long. It’s what I do. People out here just want to be left alone! You’re a nice guy so, I’m giving you a heads up on this. If you see other people camping around you—even if they have children with them—they come out here to be alone! It’s what I come here for.”

Okay! Sorry for disturbing you,” I replied. And he continued his rant…

“I don’t want your food. I don’t want your company. I’m not on the same schedule that you and the world is on. I don’t want to talk with you and I don’t want to be disturbed. I’m just giving you a heads up on that. Just leave me the f–k alone! Okay?”


Sounds like the friendly old miner got up on the wrong side of the sleeping bag this afternoon! I apologized again and wished him a “happy Sunday.”

He grunts—and walks away.

Now, I am a nice guy and I was trying to be friendly to someone who was perfectly happy to talk with me twice before! Yes, I think the term “disturbed” is pretty accurate in this particular case!

Who knows?

Maybe he got his skivvies wet in the river during the night! Maybe he found a big nugget, lost his footing and dropped it back into the river! Maybe McDonald’s coffee didn’t sit well with him—after sitting around for more than half a day (it was, most likely, leftover from earlier that morning).

Whatever it was, I was the only person around on whom he could take out his frustrations.

And he sure did!

Did I really wake him up? Remember, his stereo was blasting when I approached the van to give him my dinner invite.

Atypical response!

I’m not swayed by Greg’s isolation psychosis—I’ve had more than just a few forest “neighbors” that were very friendly.

There were several friendlies in Yosemite—including that poor soul who needed a ride to find his wife after she had locked him out of their car.

And the guy who killed his truck battery who relied on my battery jumper as a backup plan to a cable jump from a small car (he didn’t need it, after all).

And there was Tanner, the dog, and his friendly owners.

And let’s not discount the awesome evening I spent having smoky barbecue with those incredible folks from San Francisco at Lett’s Lake!

Happy campers, all!

No, Greg. Just you. So, here’s a little “heads up” for you!

You missed out on conversation with someone who actually wanted to hear what you had to say! And you missed out on a very tasty dinner!

And I didn’t mention this until now but, you missed out on a little after dinner, top quality, sipping tequila—with some all natural, sparkling spring water with key lime juice, if you wanted it.

Your loss, buddy!

No, there are plenty of people who have already left their troubles behind—once they headed out into the forest!

And I suspect that there will be many more folks crossing my path who would be very pleased with a good dinner invitation, cooked by someone else (they wouldn’t even have to wash any dishes!).

Damn straight!

After all is said and done, wouldn’t it be nice to run into a friendly “nice guy” like me? I take that back about finding a “kindred soul;” I’m not like him at all! And oh, that cornbread was freshly baked and delicious!

Happy trails my friends!

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