STRATHCONA, British Columbia The trail winds through alpine tarns the color of good single-malt whiskey. As I roll down to Baby Bedwell Lake, a couple greets me.
"Where's your party?"
"You're solo-hiking? That's so stupid!" she bursts out.
Um. Not really. The lodge manager knows where I am and expects a check-in call tonight. She's administered medicine for my fever, plus the sort of pep talk I appreciate: "it's only 7.5 miles and 1,000 feet of elevation, you'll have a great afternoon."
The suburban escapee on the trail doesn't know this, however. Or that I'm a former mountain guide doing research for a hiking book. All she sees is the braids, breasts and big eyes: things humans are hardwired to coddle. Protect the infant! Preserve the womb! Women and children into the lifeboats first...
I swallow at least a dozen replies, ranging from snarky to feminist pulpit-pounding. She means well, truly. So I only pat her dog and murmur, "what I need is a pooch to keep me company."
So much for my big Rosie the Riveter moment...