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Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
A long anticipated meeting on the Black Forest Trail on 03/30/2013 11:24:30 MDT Print View

The internet is a great and terrible tool for communication. It brings together people with diverse backgrounds, geographic ranges, and interests who all share a love for backcountry travel. Unfortunately, forum members come to the table with their own set of assumptions, and absent the subtleties of facial expression and other social cues, sometimes seem helpless to understand each other’s intentions. Every now and again though, someone stands out from the crowd. A person whose words and deeds consistently reveal their character, generous nature, enthusiasm for life. Over the years, I’ve subconsciously kept a list of these "folks I’d like to hike with". Recently, I had the opportunity to finally meet one such individual for a couple days of hiking on the Black Forest Trail in Pennsylvania.

84

This was a grueling 2 day hike involving significant elevation gain and loss, icy stream crossings, and a snow crust that robbed momentum. What I will remember most about this trip though is not the scenery, but meeting someone I respected and would enjoy hiking with again; someone stubborn, perseverant, and with a vocabulary like a sailor...

Now to start saving up for tickets to New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, California....

Edit- You asked for it, so here you go. I have posted the real story down below. I think you'll soon understand why I gave the abbreviated version the first time around...

Edited by Ike on 04/13/2013 03:59:31 MDT.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
A long anticipated meeting on the Black Forest Trail on 03/30/2013 13:51:34 MDT Print View

"Vocabulary like a sailor." If I hadn't already met him, that'd be a giveaway.

Please add some more details of the trip when you get a chance, Ike. Your trip reports are always looked forward to.

Edited by saparisor on 03/30/2013 14:02:44 MDT.

Bill S
(pnchike) - M
Re: on 04/09/2013 19:16:58 MDT Print View

Nice pics, you do a credible job making Pennsylvania look like somewhere out West (not that there's a hierarchy!). And big kudos for making the effort to seek out great hiking partners. So often I think what happens is that we take up most of our time, energy and attention building up our own equipment list and repertoire of desirable hiking destinations. Its a mostly inward-focused task, and then it's very easy to say that we can't realistically find anyone else as into the sport as us--and so there's no real effort made to find a hiking partner. But I think more hikers would like a partner if we could find one than would often admit it. It's a great thing to build friendships--and shared activity is one of the best ways to build friendships--if you are willing to take the time. But it's hard, and it has its own kind of risks. It's one thing to go solo if you like it, but many hikers are more or less resigned to that fact whether we would like a partner/group or not...

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: A long anticipated meeting on the Black Forest Trail on 04/10/2013 07:45:56 MDT Print View

Ike and Ide. Sid and Nancy. Sonny and Cher. Milli Vanilli.

They say great things come in pairs.


I'd love to read more on this one Ike.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: A long anticipated meeting on the Black Forest Trail on 04/10/2013 08:40:09 MDT Print View

"Ike and Ide. Sid and Nancy. Sonny and Cher. Milli Vanilli. "

WE DID NOT LIP SYNC AT ANY TIME ON THIS TRIP!

We had a great time, though I held Ike back quite a bit with a calf injury. The stream crossing was fun - I kept Roger Caffin's post in my head - loosely translated "It ain't that bad you whinging fool" and found he was right. Pretty damn cold during the crossing but after a quick toweling off on the other side and dry socks back on we started a long (looooooonnngggg) climb which warmed out feet back up pretty quickly.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: A long anticipated meeting on the Black Forest Trail on 04/10/2013 09:01:01 MDT Print View

>though I held Ike back quite a bit with a calf injury<

Now, now, Doug - that wasn't really very sporting of you, it's not nice to hurt Ike's calf if he's hiking faster than you ;)

oops, the quote didn't come through the first time...

Edited by dkramalc on 04/10/2013 09:02:09 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: A long anticipated meeting on the Black Forest Trail on 04/10/2013 09:41:00 MDT Print View

Why does Ike always look happy in pictures and Doug always mad? And which approach is better for wading through rivers?

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: A long anticipated meeting on the Black Forest Trail on 04/10/2013 09:44:56 MDT Print View

"Why does Ike always look happy in pictures and Doug always mad?"

Mad? Can't you tell 'pensive' when you see it! I'm a thinker, thinking big thoughts! That one photo of me overlooking the valley below, I was thinking about how much the curves of the valley reminded me of Jennifer Aniston. Big thoughts, man!

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: A long anticipated meeting on the Black Forest Trail on 04/10/2013 09:47:00 MDT Print View

"And which approach is better for wading through rivers?"

The crazy thing about that (or Ike, depending on your view) is that he waded out so I could get the pic, then came back to get the camera, then let me cross, then crossed all the way himself. He must have been freezing! Could be the smile was simply frozen to his face, that might account for it.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
The Black Forest Trail on 04/10/2013 11:29:23 MDT Print View

Thanks for the photos - I'm heading there tomorrow with another BPL'er. Look for a trip report sometime next week.

Pete Garcia
(pgjgarcia) - MLife

Locale: SE PA
Black Forest Trail on 04/10/2013 16:01:39 MDT Print View

I've been wanting to do this trail for a while now! For how far it is from Philly, though, I have to wait until summer I suppose. Great photos, thanks for the report!

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
The real story on 04/10/2013 18:41:40 MDT Print View

Guys, I apologize for the uncharacteristically brief report. I am prepared now to offer the real story, and I think you will soon see why I hesitated to come out with it in the first place. In this tale, all of the above questions will be answered. God help us all- this is how it really happened...


The internet is a great and terrible tool for communication. It brings together people with diverse backgrounds, geographic ranges, and interests who all share a love for backcountry travel. Unfortunately, forum members come to the table with their own set of assumptions, and absent the subtleties of facial expression and other social cues, often seem helpless to understand each other’s intentions. Arguments ensue, and, without fear of personal consequence, people address each other in ways that would not appropriate were they sitting face to face.

Every now and again though, someone stands out from the crowd. A person whose words and deeds consistently reveal their character, generous nature, enthusiasm for life. Over the years, I’ve subconsciously kept a mental catalog of these folks I’d like to hike with. Recently, I had the opportunity to finally meet one such individual for a couple days of hiking on the Black Forest Trail in Pennsylvania.

84

This trip was a cluster**** from the start. We had been talking about it for probably a year and a half, and after many failed attempts to make it happen, I finally had an opening in my schedule during a cold week in March. I had just gotten back from Ontario a couple weeks earlier, so I knew my wife would not be keen for me to leave again. I felt compelled to make it happen though, so I made various trades I won’t elaborate on here to ensure her cooperation.

k
Two days before the trip, disaster struck. My daughter had gotten strep throat and couldn’t go to school. Since my wife was working, I’d need to stay home with her. A hasty conversation with Doug from the doctor’s office and we pushed the trip back a day.

A day before the trip, Keira was back at school. I was starting to get a stuffy sensation in my nose, but was too stubborn to postpone or cancel yet again. Unbeknownst to me, Doug had strained his calf, but was also too stubborn to postpone or cancel. So it was that I left my house at 9 pm that evening, driving through the night to meet Doug by the trail the next morning. I had slept for a couple hours in the back of my car and was looking pretty ragged.

We hit it off right away and were soon unashamedly delving into each other’s business without regard for personal boundaries. Doug learned why I go backpacking so often, and I learned why he comforts himself with cuben fiber every night. I also found out that Doug is not a big fan of pictures (hence the lack of smiles).

56
I tried to respect this, taking out my camera only when his back was turned.

3
I also learned that saying, “This one can be for your match.com page” would likely get me a full frontal shot, though not necessarily a smile.

74
The trail was remarkable in its constant changes in elevation. I thought Pennsylvania would be a pushover, but this was turning into a workout. Breaking through a hard snow crust with every step was also exacting its toll. Meanwhile, Doug’s strained calf was taking a beating but he was too stubborn to show it, so we maintained a decent pace, up and down, up and down until we could go no further.

79
Finally, we stopped for the night by a little pond. At this point, my cold came on in full glory. I wasn’t able to breathe through my nose from then on, a real conversation stopper by the way. This is when things got really weird. As we set up our tarps for the night, I could hear a buzzing sound coming from inside Doug’s trailstar. It sounded like a battery-powered vibrator. Seriously? Here? What was that sound?

Then came the final blow. Two missed calls from Doug’s dogsitter. Without any cell phone reception, there was no way to call back, and I think we both worried she was a goner. There was no easy way to extract ourselves that night and Doug’s hypothetically dead dog pretty much put a damper on any socializing we might have done. My dinner tasted like ash, and I don’t think Doug ate at all. We both retired sadly to our shelters. 20 minutes later, Doug called out. I was still awake at the time. All the while I had been trying to squirm out of my stupid Patagonia guide pants. With no fly or stretchy waistband, it was virtually impossible to extract myself from them without serious contortion. I don’t even want to tell you how hard it is to take a leak in those things. Anyway, he had just gotten his messages and everything was ok- she had eaten a trivial amount of chocolate and had been made to vomit it back up.

81
Breakfast the next morning was a cheerier affair. We dawdled in camp for a while discussing the best way to bury turds in a frozen landscape, and whether they would still be there come spring. (As a dog owner, I can positively tell you that they will).

The big excitement of the morning came 40 minutes into our hike with a frosty river crossing. Now that we were having fun again, I was pretty excited about this. I had been planning to go full monty, but the river wasn’t actually all that deep, so we contented ourselves with just taking off our socks. It was about 20 F and pretty painful by the time we reached the other side.

91
I look happy here because I'm not actually crossing, and also because I got to keep my pants on. The second time through, I may have been a little less pleased with myself.

95
Wait till Doug's back is turned, then snap, snap..

69
It was at this time that Doug conveniently remembered we might have a few more wet river crossings yet that day. Having already taken off my socks once, I was pretty vocally committed to getting across all other rivers fully clothed. This led to some interesting hopscotch on ice-slicked stepping stones later on that could have resulted in disaster, but didn’t.

105
The day passed pleasantly with plenty more ups and downs, and lots of salami and cheese (since we hadn't really eaten the day before). Finally, at day’s end, we hit the road and walked to a nice inn with great burgers and fries with gravy. Some nice folks offered to shuttle us back to the car after dinner, but then left soon after without saying a word. I think they finally smelled us.

113
I’ve had some failed trips in the past, but this one really took the cake. And yet, in the process, I found a kindred spirit. Someone I’d hike with any time. It’s not how you handle the fun stuff, but what you do when the chips are down that makes the person. Can’t wait to hike with Doug again!

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: The real story on 04/10/2013 18:58:54 MDT Print View

Nice write up Ike. I like this part: I also learned that saying, “This one can be for your match.com page” would likely get me a full frontal shot, though not necessarily a smile.

True story: I had a date via Match after I got back from this trip. As we sat down to lunch, the woman said (I am not making this up): "You're much better looking in person. I have to tell you, your pictures aren't doing you any favors. Sorry to be blunt."

Cracked me up. Maybe I should try that smiling thing.....

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: The real story on 04/10/2013 19:19:12 MDT Print View

I have to tell you, your pictures aren't doing you any favors.

Sounds like you are going overboard with that "managing expectations" thing:-)

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: The real story on 04/10/2013 19:23:25 MDT Print View

I didn't know it was bromance week at BPL.

Good story guys.

David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Re: The real story on 04/10/2013 21:49:25 MDT Print View

I can't believe Doug is not using the picture Kat took after his swim in the Trinity Alps for his Match profile. It takes a lady behind the camera to get Doug to smile.

Doug, you need to come back to California for a trip so we can compare who can pitch a more limp Trailstar.

Great trip guys and excellent write up Ike.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: The real story on 04/10/2013 21:52:04 MDT Print View

I took that shot David.

No need for people to get the wrong idea about Kat.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: The real story on 04/10/2013 22:01:56 MDT Print View

I had dinner with Doug last week. Thinking he was a man's man, I was expecting him to pull up in a tricked-out Hummer; instead it was a freaking Prius. This explains the dating problem. Other than that it was a great evening. Doug is a-okay.

David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Re: The real story on 04/10/2013 22:02:17 MDT Print View

Let me set the record straight. I felt it was well composed and tasteful and I compliment you Ken if it was you who took the photo. It captured the soft side of Doug.

Edited by Davidpcvsamoa on 04/10/2013 22:03:53 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: The real story on 04/10/2013 22:14:22 MDT Print View

"I tried to respect this, taking out my camera only when his back was turned. "

"Wait till Doug's back is turned, then snap, snap.."

ROTFLMAO

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: The real story on 04/10/2013 22:47:30 MDT Print View

must resist snarky one liner....


Let me add one thing here. I count Doug as a friend on a very short list. I'm know Ike is equally as awesome.

Ike 'n Ide

Edited by kthompson on 04/10/2013 23:00:22 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: The real story on 04/10/2013 22:59:12 MDT Print View

Doug and Ike, Craig and Adan.....damn. I need a boyfriend.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
The real story on 04/10/2013 23:02:21 MDT Print View

"damn. I need a boyfriend."

+1

Good thing our wives don't read this, huh? Travis.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: The real story on 04/10/2013 23:05:00 MDT Print View

BWAHAHA!!! ROFL!

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
A long anticipated meeting on the Black Forest Trail on 04/10/2013 23:39:52 MDT Print View

(cough) I'm up for anything.

Hello? Guys?

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Re: A long anticipated meeting on the Black Forest Trail on 04/11/2013 06:03:34 MDT Print View

Geez guys, it was only a first date.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: A long anticipated meeting on the Black Forest Trail on 04/11/2013 07:52:36 MDT Print View

"Geez guys, it was only a first date."

And, you know, since I didn't come home with a cold, a rather tame one.....

spelt the enigmatic
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: A long anticipated meeting on the Black Forest Trail on 04/11/2013 08:32:37 MDT Print View

Nice report, Ike. Seems both your characters came through in less than ideal situations.

I had to chuckle a bit at the mention of all the ups and downs. It's no straight shot like a 14er, but PA will still let you rack up the elevation change.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Hmm..... on 04/11/2013 08:35:48 MDT Print View

Edit. Re edit. Every response I have sounds like something out of Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo and isn't in compliance with BPL's fairly loose standards of decency.

Douglascide, I'm a recovering Prius owner as well. In the words of Marky Mark, it 'twas a tampon on wheels. Loved that car.

Looks like a great hike.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 04/11/2013 13:29:36 MDT.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Re: The real story on 04/11/2013 09:37:15 MDT Print View

"instead it was a freaking Prius. This explains the dating problem"

(warning: partial thread hijack)

Ha! This is pretty common guy-think; in fact, several weeks ago on Car Talk they revisited a question posed by a fellow who asked for advice on what model car to buy to attract chicks. Tom and Ray advised either some 4x4 Jeep thing or a Miata. Apparently hordes of women wrote in to say they were way off the track; the Jeep said "macho jerk" and the Miata screamed "Hi, I'm having a Midlife Crisis!!!". Apparently the cars that guys think women are impressed by are really just the cars that impress other lonely guys...

(But then, my BF drives a Leaf and I a Honda hybrid, so of course I think a Prius is just fine!)

I get that Nick was joking, but I certainly can't even imagine Doug in a Hummer (IMO that screams "macho jerk" in all caps, italicized, bold, and with lots of exclamation points)...I have been the recipient of his generosity (remember the thread about "who gets cold feet?" - I am now the grateful owner of a pair of Goosefeet booties, courtesy of Doug) and from that, his BPL presence, and one GGG meeting, I'd have to say that "macho jerk" is so not him. I'm not surprised that he toughed out the calf injury (despite my lame joke above) and kept his date with Ike.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: The real story on 04/11/2013 09:58:22 MDT Print View

I would venture to say that Doug's love life would improve if he pulled up to the valet at the local hot spot in a Range Rover. :)

On another note -- about 13 years ago when I was dating I had a two year old Ford Ranger. Very clean looking mini-truck. I picked my date (who had gone out previously with me in this vehicle). Our date was to go to a Jazz club at a high-end hotel in Rancho Mirage, Ca. As we approached the valet area, she asked me to let her out of the truck because she didn't want anyone to see her in a truck. I complied with her request, drove past the valet and headed home. About 5 minutes later she called my cell phone wanting to know where I was. My reply was that if she didn't want to be seen in my truck, I didn't want to be seen with her. Don't know how she got home and I never saw her again.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: The real story on 04/11/2013 10:16:05 MDT Print View

"Apparently the cars that guys think women are impressed by are really just the cars that impress other lonely guys..."

I once owned a Dodge Caravan. Talk about a chick magnet! Man! Of course, they all had young kids. Can't have everything.....

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: The real story on 04/11/2013 10:18:15 MDT Print View

"I would venture to say that Doug's love life would improve if he pulled up to the valet at the local hot spot in a Range Rover. :)"

It certainly would in DC! Until, you know, they saw how I was dressed...

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: The real story on 04/11/2013 11:08:06 MDT Print View

As we approached the valet area, she asked me to let her out of the truck because she didn't want anyone to see her in a truck.

Had a similar experience with each of our children when dropping them off at junior high school dances ... they wanted to be dropped off two blocks from the dance.

Nick, were you dating eight graders?

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: The real story on 04/11/2013 12:55:14 MDT Print View

"Nick, were you dating eight graders?"

Nah, a woman close to my age to was obsessed with what others thought of her. But she could out drink most men, that should have been a warning sign.

Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: Re: Re: The real story on 04/11/2013 13:55:41 MDT Print View

"On another note -- about 13 years ago...."

I like your style.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Hummers... on 04/11/2013 16:10:22 MDT Print View

"In a Hummer (IMO that screams "macho jerk" in all caps, italicized, bold, and with lots of exclamation points)."

Hey now, I've been seen driving one (a black H1) many times. ;^) And my wife thought that the hummer club we camped with was one of the nicest group of guys I've ever been associated with. :^) Much nicer that my non-hummer driving friends!

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Hummers... on 04/11/2013 16:25:15 MDT Print View

Oops. Well, I guess that just goes to show that I haven't met the right people! (though I still have a problem with the pitiful gas mileage, but let's not get into that here) Sorry to paint you all with such a broad brush. Not the first time I've made that mistake...

I will say that my opinion of 4-wheelers changed abruptly (for the better) many years back, when I actually met some; a whole passel of them pulled over and piled out of their vehicles to help us out of a rut when we were driving on some very sandy dirt roads in the desert and had gotten stuck (in our non-4wheel economy rent-a-car).

Edited by dkramalc on 04/11/2013 16:31:08 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Hummers... on 04/11/2013 16:44:02 MDT Print View

"Sorry to paint you all with such a broad brush. Not the first time I've made that mistake..."

Ah, just goes to show that people are people. Except, of course, the ones who are soylent green.....

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Hummers... on 04/11/2013 17:48:48 MDT Print View

BTW, the H1 wasn't mine. Those things are way to expensive. Only people with more money than brains buys one. ;^) (It was a friend of mines).

We were at the Pismo Beach sand dunes and they took all the kids that were camping with us (and anyone else who wanted to go) for an evening ride in the hummers. And they made sure no one was left out. That is what impressed my wife. Treat her kids right and it's all good. :^)

And yeah, you need to avoid those soylent green people. Wouldn't want to be mistaken for one!

Edited by Hitech on 04/11/2013 17:49:54 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Hummers... on 04/11/2013 17:55:53 MDT Print View

"Oops. Well, I guess that just goes to show that I haven't met the right people! (though I still have a problem with the pitiful gas mileage, but let's not get into that here) Sorry to paint you all with such a broad brush. Not the first time I've made that mistake..."

I don't know what it is about some women Prius drivers here in California. But several have approached me at the gas pump to chew me out for driving a Ford SUV.

So... my goal in these confrontations is to make them cry. When my wife sees a female Prius owner walking towards me at the gas station she jumps out of the passenger seat and asks me to please not cause a scene.

Well... I am just minding my own business, so "game on."

BTW, I think I am 12 for 13 in the crying game.

:)


No offense to any Prius owners here.

Leigh Baker
(leighb) - F

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
Ike and Ide on 04/11/2013 18:24:20 MDT Print View

Great story guys!

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Hummers... on 04/11/2013 18:28:45 MDT Print View

Just for the record, Nick, I've never confronted anyone about their choice of car...unless you count my earlier post.

I was reflecting after being caught out in my Hummer statement, about how when I read your story about the date who didn't want to be seen in your pickup, I was thinking how dumb it was to feel like a vehicle somehow said something bad about her...ignoring the fact that I thought something bad about everyone who drives a certain type of car. ugh.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Hummers... on 04/11/2013 19:27:25 MDT Print View

Among the MANY things that mystify me is the idea that a person's automobile somehow is a foundation for their sense of identity. I just don't get it.

NOTE: lest anyone be tempted to ask me what color the sky is in my universe, don't bother ... I'm somewhat physically color blind and mentally almost completely so.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Hummers... on 04/11/2013 19:53:46 MDT Print View

"I don't know what it is about some women Prius drivers here in California. But several have approached me at the gas pump to chew me out for driving a Ford SUV."

A classic case of sublimated peni$ envy. ;o)

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: A long anticipated meeting on the Black Forest Trail on 04/30/2013 19:29:33 MDT Print View

The Black Forest Trail is surprisingly rugged, but definitley doable...preferably without a severe cold. I enjoyed the photos (brought back fond memories) and banter.
Tom