This last weekend, I took my Boy Scout troop to Lake Catherine on an overnight backpacking trip. (I have been a Scoutmster for over 12 years now). We left Friday about 4pm, drove to the top of Alta ski resort, and by 5 o'clock we were hiking the two miles over Catherine Pass (9800 feet elevation) to the lake. It was a little more crowded than we are used to, as there were several other groups camping up there as well, apparently taking advantage of the last weekend before school started just as we were. The trailhead parking lot (20-30 cars) was filling up, and the shuttle bus was running to bring in other people to enjoy the great outdoors.

At the lake, we met a lot of people, camping or hiking through, including a couple of former Eagle Scouts whose water filter was clogged. Unfiltered lake water can be really dicey, health-wise, so we were glad to be able to save them the risk of a water-borne infection by sharing our water filter. They were glad for the filtered water, too.

Lake Catherine and the little cirque it sits in were beautiful, as always. I had intended to take some pictures while up there, but soon discovered that both my camera and my smartphone were not in my backpack. I thought I must have left them in the truck at the trailhead. When we got back to the truck about 1:30 pm Saturday, though, I was surprised to find that my electronics were NOT inside the truck. I had left them on the rear deck of the truck, at perfect eye level for any of the hundred or more people that probably walked by in that nearly 24-hour period!

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My Android smartphone is like my right arm, I think, and my camera was only a couple of months old, and was worth about $200 all by itself. More importantly, both devices had photos and info on them that was not backed up yet, and that would have been difficult (in some cases impossible) to replace.

The whole trip made me really appreciate how the people you meet out on the trail are so willing to help each other, rather than help themselves to my stuff, no matter how stupid I was in leaving it out in plain view. It would have taken only one dishonest person to ruin my weekend-- but there were none to be had! Not on that particular weekend, at least.

A couple of weeks ago, I heard from an attorney who seems to think that the whole world (or at least this entire industry) is out to defraud people. The sad thing is, while this industry is hardly perfect, I have been extremely impressed, overall, with the integrity of the people I have worked with during my 12 years in this industry. On the other hand, during the prior 13 years I spent in the lawyer trade, I was not nearly so impressed. Unfortunately, many lawyers seem to think that integrity can be reduced to a set of ethical rules published by the bar association, and anything that is not explicitly prohibited by those rules is fair game. Lawyers also spend way too much time imagining worst-case scenarios, and how to safeguard against them. I think it poisons their souls.

The thing is, most (not all) of the stuff you worry about never happens. For myself, I would rather be an optimist who is sometimes wrong, than a pessimist who is mostly right. In my experience, most people want and try to do the right thing, and I would rather spend the bulk of my time encouraging that, than defending against the few who want to stick you in the ribs (though you can't afford to let them do that either). I spent more than enough years worrying about the bad, I'd much rather keep my eye on the good as much as possible! So to the vast majority of good people who do the right thing, thank you! The world is a better place for having you in it!

Life is short-- now get out and make the most of it!