In 1991 I spent the summer leading a group of beginning backpackers. I usually have at least one piece of clothing that's red. Sometimes I wear alot of red. That summer one of the hikers (Peter Oqvist) started calling me Red Leader. None of the others called me that.
On our last hike I was using a bivy and had no private place to get dressed. One morning as I was putting on my shorts one of the ladies (Tara Kean) saw that I happened to be wearing red underware. She announced to one and all that I really was the Red Leader.
After dinner on our last evening of that trip I was instructed to sit in the center of the circle of hikers. Two by two they walked up in front of me and recited a verse of an epic limerick they had composed.
There once was a hiker named Denis,
in the Woods he was truly a menace.
He dressed all in red, from his toes to his head,
luring hikers from Marin to Martinez.
For our class he had many a tip,
on how to do that and do this.
Through heat and through hail,
he found many a trail,
and rarely did lead us amiss.
He pushed us up o'er Rock Bound Pass,
despite our moans, groans and our gasps.
To meadow and lake
our backs and feet ache.
Eureka! We found it at last.
"Drink Water!" he said with a snap.
"And get out your compass and map."
He snored through the night,
then awoke at first light.
"Get up now, and none of your c*r*a*p".
His fame it has grown through the year,
Along with his BS and gear.
With his stove, staff and pack,
the chair strapped to his back,
for our jolly Red Leader we cheer!!
It was a bit of a sniffley moment and I've been the Red Leader ever since.