As we were climbing the gentle ascent of Mt. Starr King a couple of birds began flitting around us. "They're vultures," I panted, "They sense imminent death."
"They're gray jays," Julie said, "And they're very friendly. Actually, they'll eat right out of your hand."
This, I did not believe.
"That, I do not believe," I told Julie. "You obviously have altitude sickness and have begun to lose your mind. Perhaps we should retreat down the hill."
"No. Seriously. They'll eat right out of your hand," Julie insisted.
"No. Seriously. Let's go back to the car. I'll buy you an ice cream or some oxygen on the way home. We'll come back some other time. The mountain will still be here."
Julie began rummaging around in her back pack and pulled out a large bag of trail mix. Every hiker in NH is required, by state law, to carry a bag of trail mix while hiking.
She dumped a small handful of the assorted twigs and berries into her palm and held out her hand.
"Come on, Julie," I coaxed, "Some tasty ice cream... Let's head down and get you some thicker air."
She shushed me and stood still, her hand held out like some devout worshiper offering a tasty high protein sacrifice.
Then, within 15 seconds:
We carried on with the hike, but any time I doubted anything Julie said she would merely hold her hand out in a pose of offering and I was forced to admit that she was not delusional.
In fact, when we stopped for lunch at the cloudy, zombie-fog enshrouded summit of Mt. Starr King, I snitched some of her trail mix:
I spent the rest of the hike trying to convince Julie to speak to the animals and make them carry us down the mountains. I thought that if we coated ourselves in trail mix enough gray jays would come that they could fly us to the peaks of all the 4000 footers, thus eliminating the need for all that painful hiking.
My pleading and whining was to no avail. Julie would not use her creepy powers for our personal gain. We had to hike down the mountains, but we did get ice cream (after we washed our hands).