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BRIAN

Portland, Maine

Saturday, August 7, 2004

I met Brian while hiking up Bunsen Peak in Yellowstone National Park. For a while he was a little ways ahead of me but I soon caught up to him as he stopped to put on his sweater, for the wind had whipped up and was a little chilly. We exchanged greetings then just stood there admiring the view. He then asked where I was from. I said "Portland" and he responded "Portland, Maine?" and I said, "No, Portland, Oregon". He looked at me a little funny and exclaimed, "I'm from Portland, Maine!". We both thought that was kinda funny. What were the odds of that?!?

He invited me to hike with him to the top so up we went. During our upward traverse, I learned a number of things about Brian that paralleled my own situation. Like me, he was on a cross-country road trip with bike in tow. Like me, he had quit his job (copy editor and page layout designer) and was exploring both internal and external landscapes. Like me, he was single and had no family. And to top it off, he was from Portland, Maine! It was like we were both looking in a mirror and seeing the other. It was quirky...

He told me a funny story about his visit to Glacier National Park in Montana that I'd like to share. He was hiking Mount Brown near Lake McDonald, and having made it to the top, took off his sweaty shirt and hung it over the railing of the mountain's observation platform to dry. He then climbed the stairs of the platform to get a better view of the surrounding scenery.

That's when he spotted a bighorn sheep coming his way. The animal was intent on something because it boldly walked up to the platform. Brian thought he was safe because there was no way the ram was going to climb the steps and get him. Well, the ram had a talent, and that talent was climbing stairs. As the ram started to ascend the stairs, Brian ran over to the top of the steps and tried to keep it from coming up on the platform. Once on the platform, Brian feared he would be at its big-horned mercy.

Fortunately he was able to change the rams mind but not without consequence. The ram figured if he couldn't have Brian, he'd settle for second best, Brian's wet, sweaty shirt. So the ram walked over to where the shirt was hanging and proceeded to sniff, lick, then chew the shirt. In the end the ram made off with Brian's shirt. Too bad Brian didn't get a picture of the spectacle, it really would have supplemented his story. Surely material for Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Not counting his current cross-country road trip, Brian has seen quite a bit of New England and portions of Canada. In the future he would like to travel to Southern France, Italy, and somewhere in Africa. Yellowstone was as far west as his trip would taking him. His plan was to do a clockwise swing back to Portland, Maine, with a trip completion date of mid-September.

I hope I keep in touch with Brian, it'll be interesting to see if there'll be any parallel experiences in our futures as well.


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