Wednesday, September 17, 2014

hide ~ a Bus

You can run but you cannot hide ~ a Bus

By James Beard aka Noodin

Saturdays are really busy on Mt Monadnock. Hikers come from all over the world to walk her 
trails and see the beautiful views from the summit. The particular Saturday I remember is when I opened the park. Our regular hikers start showing up around seven or eight o:clock and we greet each one as they come in. At about nine o:clock one of our regulars mentioned that he saw a large tour bus headed up Rte 202 and wondered if it was on the way here to the park. I told him no buses were scheduled and that we normally do not allow buses on Saturdays because of the amount of traffic and limited parking. We started watching for the bus, knowing it would be coming. Then we received a radio call from the Old Tow Road entry. Taylor called over to let us know a bus had passed her entry traveling toward Marlboro, NH.

So the bus was not headed toward the park! Well, kinda not headed toward the park. A few minutes later we got a radio call from Taylor indicating that one of the resident neighbors was at her gate and complaining that a large bus had stopped in front of his home and let out about fifty people who crossed his land and started up the mountain. The manager came by our toll booth at about that time and we determined that we should intercept them along the trail and let them know they need to use the entry as well as pay the hiker fee at the park. I suggested to the manager that I could go over to the Old Toll Road entry and help out. She said that would be fine and off I went.

When I arrived at the Old Toll Road one of the rangers had already gone up the mountain to look for the errant hikers. Taylor was still at the booth and told me that our neighbor resident was really mad and gave her a hard time.

I asked her to describe the man. She told me he was middle aged with a grey beard and long hair. I had a feeling that I knew who she was describing. A year before one of the park trucks broke down in front of a neighbors house. We had to leave the truck to be towed and this neighbor was less than friendly about it. Then I decided to take a ride over to his place.

As I thought might be the case, there in front of his place was a huge tour bus parked along side of the road. I went up to the bus and tapped on the window. Pretty soon the driver came to the door. I introduced myself and asked if he had let people off at that place to climb the mountain. He said he knew this was not right and tried to tell the tour guide that. When he passed the sign for the park entry he figured something was funny. He told me the tour guide told him that the guide knew what he was doing and to just follow instructions.

I replied to him; “Well, you have two choices. You can stay here and the Marlboro Police will be by in a few minutes to give you a huge ticket for parking here, or, you can follow me back to headquarters and wait for your passengers there.”

The bus driver did not have to think too hard on that one. Soon the bus was following me back up to the main entry of the park to wait for his passengers. The hikers were intercepted and told to come down to headquarters after the hike to pay the fees and depart on their bus.

After a few hours we received a call from Taylor at the Old Toll Road. The hikers had come down
to that entry and the tour guide insisted that we send the bus over to pick them up. The park manager came on the radio and told Taylor to tell the tour guide that the bus would be sent over when we had confirmation that the fees had been paid. The total fee for all of the hikers came to $100.00 for twenty hikers. The tour guide complained a little more but finally relented and paid the hiking fee. The bus was sent over and all was good.

All of the tour guides I have encountered that come to the mountain are happy to pay the fee. They understand that the park is maintaining trails, facilities and patrolling the mountain to help hikers as well as protecting the mountain. It is rare for someone to go to such extremes to avoid supporting the park.

By James Beard aka Noodin

“To be centered is to stand alone together” Noodin

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