Eagle Cap – Kevin

September 25, 2018 § Leave a comment

The second person in my profiling series, will be Kevin Hart, the newest member of our hiking entourage. In a previous post I might have mentioned something about a 12 person limit, and how there were something like 10 core people, and if all of them chose to attend, then we’d have to figure out how to ration out those two unused spots. In addition, I manage a private Facebook group for these adventures, and there are maybe 20-25 people subscribed as people of interest and core people, and by this time Kevin had been added to this group. I heard from our “Friend-in-Common” Larry Butler that Kevin called him and wanted to know “How do I become a core member, or even how do I get one of those last two spots?” That was 18 months before the actual event would occur.

Kevin comes to us by way of Larry, whom Kevin knew from The Reston Association where Kevin had been a resident, though I am not sure Larry and Kevin met through that alone. Maybe they knew of each other, but not more than that. Where they really got to know each other was through the Reston Triathlon which runs every year in early September. In fact, when I plan these trips, Larry’s first response to a date selection has always been, “Well, the Reston Tri is such and such weekend in early September, and I have to be there, so let’s go the following week.” and we always went the following week. I think Larry was both part of the organization, or at least helping to facilitate the event from the Association point of view, and he also has participated in the actual event. Kevin, has also been a participant, and volunteered in the organization of it.

Kevin is retired from his second job, where he managed the City of Fairfax’s maintenance shop, a shop in which he started low on pole after retiring first from the Air Force. Kevin is a man who cares about details, and if there is a question to which he has not formed an answer, then you can be sure that question will find a vocal partner, and be carried through the ether to your ears if he thinks you are the one with the answers. In that way Kevin learned the operations at the City of Fairfax’s maintenance shop, and applied his military organization to move to the top. In order to take full advantage of his retirement benefits he figured, rightly, that if he were healthier, he would live longer, so he quit drinking and smoking, and started to get involved in a healthier life style. He became more physically active, and got involved in triathlons, and also in hiking.

It was during a Spring adventure to Colonol Denning State Park, just West of Carlisle, PA that Kevin and I found ourselves in the same hiking party. Larry had socialized our adventures with Kevin, and Kevin probably said something like “How do I get invited to one of these?”, and Larry probably said, “Well, you should come on one of our weekend adventures, you’ll meet Eric, and if you don’t want to kill him by the end of the weekend, then maybe he’ll invite you”. So, you could say we were feeling each other out that weekend. He would get a taste of my humor, and if it didn’t remind him of the first time he ever threw up, then as long as he his personality didn’t remind me of a cheese grater, we could start to become friends, and see where we go from there. That year was the Banff year, and we were all committed already for that.

Kevin, of course was anything but a cheese grater, and what he thought of me during that weekend was anybody’s guess, but since he never told Larry “No f’n way would I follow that guy into the wilderness”, then he still had a shot. One thing about the weekend adventures is that they a WAY different than the adventures I plan. On my adventures we never do anything except boil water. All cooked meals are hot water based products, and are as light as we can get. On weekend trips, especially ones in spring and fall when it is cooler, nature is your refrigerator, so we bring real food along. Kevin hadn’t been told this, and he some kind of small dehydrated package of soup, and two potatoes: one for each night, that he wrapped in tin foil, and baked in the coals of the fire. Creative and practical yes, as tasty as you could enjoy? Maybe not. Of course we shared all the good food with him, and would touch his potato when the reciprocating offer was extended.

I could have met Kevin again at The Mill, an event that I have never talked about here before, but as my friend Mike once noted a Jim Kirby correction to a description that Mike had proffered as “I hear it’s an eating and drinking weekend”, to which Jim correctly responded, “No, Mike, its just a drinking weekend”. With The Mill out, Kevin and I had two more weekend adventures together: A Fall trip to Dahle (Dolly) Sods in West Virginia, followed by a Spring trip to Cowans Gap State Park to hike a very teeny tiny segment of The Standing Stone Trail. Dahle Sods was the single largest weekend crowd ever, with 17 people in attendance, and we hit the weather jackpot for The Sods. Our weekend in PA was also a nice weekend, but a much smaller crowd. Point is here, that we got to spend more time together, and if Kevin wanted to spend 10-12 days with us, then we were ready to have him.

Did I mention he likes to ask questions? “Is it okay if I fly out a day early?” Clearly, he didn’t want to fall victim to an airline malfunction, and if he flew out a day early, there was no possibility he would get left behind, because he wasn’t there. “What time should we have breakfast?” “What time do we get the Van?” “What do we do after we get the van?” “Will there be time to get things at the REI?” All these were just the questions he texted to me while I was sitting in my plane on the tarmac in Newark awaiting departure.

During our week together Kevin related some of the stories, and maybe it wasn’t really the stories, but his perception of the moral in other groups that he has joined in. In some of these the group was more of a hodgepodge of first-come first-served meet and hike groups. The trips sounded exciting, but if you figured you would be hanging out with people like yourself, that was where mistakes can be made. There was friction on some of those trips, and he was very happy that we all seemed to get along just fine in this group. We had a schedule, which suits Kevin fine, and while the “Where will we hike?” question evolved every day on this trip, Kevin adapted fine and fit in like a square plug into the open square hole we had.

Thanks for coming along Kevin, I look forward to our next great adventure together.

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