Man’s Humanity to Man

October 14, 2007 at 3:31 pm 6 comments

On more than one occassion, Kurt Vonnegut wrote and spoke fondly about firemen and their mode of transportation– the fire engine.  When asked his thoughts about 9/11, the author simply said:

I can’t imagine a more stirring symbol of man’s humanity to man than a fire engine.

Vonnegut’s symbol is certainly nice, but now I’ve found my own image of man’s humanity to man.  Last weekend, I witnessed an act that moved me more than a fire engine would.  I watched four men rescue a dog from the Appalachian Trail.

At the end of our backpacking trip, I shuttled some hikers back to their cars.  When I returned, I noted a particular couple still weren’t present at the trailhead.

“Brian and Akiko aren’t back?” I asked.

“They’re having a… dog malfunction,” someone told me.

It was the oldest dog in our group, eleven-year old Yoda, who was “malfunctioning”.  With two miles left to go, poor Yoda collapsed.  Shaking and completely spent, he could move no further.  His owner put him in a creek to cool down and came down the mountain to seek help.

At this point, four men *ran* back up the steep two-mile ascent, built a stretcher and carried the dog down to safety.  Their efforts were very touching.

Andy, James, Brian and Carl carry Yoda down the trail

Poor Yoda

Is it odd that my favorite symbol of “man’s humanity to man” involves a dog?  I don’t think so.  If those men would run up a mountain to rescue a dog… just imagine what they would do for you!

And actually, one member of our hiking group doesn’t even have to imagine.  He got lost (“I thought the blazes were more of a guideline”) and never made it to the end.  Some of the very same men who ran up to retrieve the dog, were poised to backtrack the whole day’s hike and/or explore steep side trails to find their missing co-worker.

The Group studying maps and trying to figure out how to find their friend.

And when cell phone contact with their colleague was finally made, a group of these hikers drove two hours to a trailhead in West Virginia, hiked up the Groundhog Trail and brought their lost friend home.

So if you don’t fancy the dog angle, how’s this:

If those men would drive two hours and hike up a steep hill for someone who disregarded blazes, just imagine what they would do for you!  🙂

Entry filed under: Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Kurt Vonnegut, Peters Mountain, Yoda.

links for 2007-10-12 Oktoberfest at Mountain Lake

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. tgaw  |  October 14, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Oh and for those who are wondering, Yoda is doing much better now and expected to make a full recovery.

  • 2. Clint  |  October 14, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Finally the mystery is revealed 🙂 Cool story

  • 3. High Desert Wanderer » Pets and Politics  |  October 15, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    […] Here is a perfect example of the humanity to animals that I’d see as a positive attribute in a […]

  • 4. geekhiker  |  October 17, 2007 at 12:30 am

    Excellent tale. It’s sometimes nice to be reminded how decent we can all be to each other.

  • 5. glen - Swissydogg  |  October 20, 2007 at 10:11 am

    I am pack hike coordinator for the Southbound Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club, and this is a concern of ours on every hike. You never know what can happen out there. Great story, glad Yoda is fine. You have a way with words, you need to write your memoirs!

    glen, Dutch, Bonnie Doon (the Swissys) and Chloe the Smelly Basset

  • 6. misty  |  July 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    this made me all teary. im glad i found it. great log! thank you for posting!!


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