International incident avoided...I think
On our last hike in the Ruby Mountains, we found ourselves hiking behind a large family group--about eight people, both adults and kids--and one of them was carrying a boom box playing loud Latin music.
OK. So the regulations in the wilderness clearly say that it is not permitted to play music--either amplified or a musical instrument--loud enough that it impacts the wilderness experience of others. And this clearly fell into that category. Everyone we met or passed on the trail commented on the "noise" this group was making.
I'm never one to back down from a challenge, but I also didn't want to ruin my vacation with a nasty interaction at the end of a beautiful hike. At the same time, I just didn't think that I could let this pass without making some kind of comment.
I caught up to them right at the end of the hike, as we reached the trailhead together. In fact, it turned out that we had parked our cars right next to each other. By then I knew that the primary language of the group was Spanish...and so I began in that language. As everyone was smiling about finishing the hike, I asked them where they were from--in Spanish.
"They're from Texas," one woman answered. "But we're from Jalisco. What about you?"
"California," I explained. "But I lived in Spain for quite a few years..."
"Ah!" she said. "That explains your Spanish..."
"Did you enjoy the hike?" I asked.
"Oh, it was really beautiful" they all agreed.
OK. Time to take the toro by the horns.
"You know," I ventured. "The regulations here don't allow you to play loud music..."
"Oh no?" the group replied. They looked concerned.
I shook my head. "When you play music like that, you can't hear the birds sing, or the wind in the trees, or the rushing water in the stream..."
"That's right" one of the men chimed in. "You should listen to the sounds of nature!" Nice to know that one of them was on my side,
"Exactly!" I agreed with him.
We all smiled at each other and wished each other well. They drove off while I waited a couple of minutes for my wife to arrive.
I hope that the next time someone meets them on the trail, it will be amid the sounds of nature. At least I tried.