Today in 1947, a strange thing happened two atop Oregon’s Mount Hood: two climbers woke up at the summit and found a quart of milk and the morning newspaper.
The two climbers were George Padon, a World War II veteran, and Gary Snyder, a high school student who would later become a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet.
They’d told people they were planning to stay overnight at the summit, but it was just the two of them.
And they’d found the milk and paper just outside their tent peg, so it was definitely left for them.
But Mount Hood is 11,239 feet high.
Even for an experienced climber it takes hours to get to the top.
Who would climb a mountain in the middle of the night just to drop off milk and the news?
The climber’s identity remained a secret until 2012, when the Oregonian newspaper revealed that it was the climbers’ friend, Ross Petrie.
As he explained, he was spending the summer watching for fires with the U.S. Forest Service.
So he had to be in the area a lot of the time, but didn’t have a lot to do there.
When he heard what Padon and Snyder were planning, he decided he’d follow them up the mountain just to leave them a surprise.
He even took off his crampons at the top of the peak so he wouldn’t make noise and wake them.
It worked. Neither they nor anybody else knew what he’d done.
Decades later, Snyder remembered both the cold milk and the newspaper, and described Petrie’s adventure as “deliciously outrageous.”
Here’s another story from the great outdoors: a study out of the University of Greenwich finds that bees who ingest naturally-occurring caffeine are better at finding flowers and other plants they need for their bee activities.
No surprise that they also returned to the plants that had caffeine!