Lessons Yogi Bear Taught Us

14 Jan

Yogi: “Hey Boo Boo, I see a pic-a-nic basket.”

ImageBoo Boo: “Yogi the park ranger does not want us bothering the humans”

Yogi: “We’re not bothering them, we’re entertaining them”.

On our trip to Mt. Katahdin last fall we had a chance to meet up with Bruce Grant, from MATC. In the course of our conversation he mentioned that he was friends with a retired park ranger who knew Grandma Gatewood. He explained that this park ranger believed that Emma was not only a great “Yogi practitioner” , but perhaps was the “Grandmother” of all trail “Yogi-ing”.

The concept of “Yogi-ing” on the trail was new to me. So I asked him to explain. He went on and told us that this was a technique for getting or motivating others to help you, without directly asking for it. Food, clothing, money, car rides, you name it. The key is to act innocent and slightly helpless, at least enough to get what you need when you are out of resources.

As the conversation above between Yogi and Boo-boo points out sometimes entertainment is the best way to get this kind of help. I was recently talking with “Fink” a south bound through-hiker from 2011. He told us his yogi story.

It seems that “Fink” and his friend were out of food and hungry. They had set up camp in the Shenandoah National Park. They were not far from a spot where day hikers and picnickers would come on nice days. So he and his friend decided to hang out and “share” their stories. In fact they shared them several times over the next couple of days being rewarded with hot meals and snacks for their great story telling. This is a sublime example of the art of “Yogi’.

Grandma Gatewood’s journal is filled with stories of others helping her. While she may not have documented her technique, she appears to be truly gifted in getting others to help her to accomplish her journey. Sometimes the best trail magic is being a good “yogi”.


4 Responses to “Lessons Yogi Bear Taught Us”

  1. Ralph Coffman January 15, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    yogi-iing hu. I think your description of “acting” innocent and slightly helpless is Bullshit as far as Grandma Gatewood is concerned. After what she went through in life she decided to go for a walk and see for herself what she was made of by experiencing people and life as it came to her. People were hospitable to her because people are hospitable. I can verify this finding as I followed in her shoes and hitch hiked for years. All over America and Europe, east & west, & North Africa, and Asia too. Adventure was everywhere. I met thousands of people in my travels and NEVER had a bad situation with anyone. I found as she did that people are good. When we picked up Grandma and she stayed with us for a few days she never asked for help’ We offered her hospitality and fellowship which we mutually exchanged. We were in awe of what she was accomplishing which at the time she was walking the Oregon Trail. As a 9 year old she made a lasting impression with me. She did it so I never questioned if it could be done. Right in front of me was endless possibilities of traveling to other places and lands and meeting all kinds of people and trusting in the goodness of life. Our creator’s presence is everywhere, and in everyone. Like Will Roger’s said, “I never met a man I didn’t like. Grandma Gatewood didn’t use people for Food or assistance. She knew that she could accomplish her goal of walking to wherever she was going. She didn’t have to prove anything at this point. She liked meeting people and experiencing them. We had a great time with Grandma and she even went to the Junior High School in Junction City,Kansas to talk to the kids about what she was doing. I;m sure she inspired everyone with her accomplishments. Like Grandma, whenever I was a guest of someone I always left whereever I stayed Cleaner and Brighter. I always tried to return the kindness and hospitality that was always shown to me and to give thanks to God for this amazing life I was given and the amazing experiences I have had. When Grandma’s time with us was up we took her back to the exact spot that we picked her up at and she continued on her way. The little boy of 9 was left with another example of the endless possibilities that life has to offer. If a Grandma can walk to anywhere in the world she wants then how can I not dream and do it as well… But Yogi-ism however cute it sounds, doesn’t cut it here. If grandma Gatewood or Ralph Coffman were acting for a motive to get assistance it wouldn’t work. I never thought or expected anything from anybody. I wanted to meet people so I could learn who I am & who we as a people are. Growing up in the military,attending 10 different schools by the time I finished High School was my reality. Grandma’s way was a natural extension of my life always meeting new people and growing up with hospitality. My mom was a refuge from the Sudetenland/Selesia. Our family had to leave after WWII and my mom always found people reaching out to help others. That is how she grew up and that is what she taught me. We help each other because that is how we are created. Whenever our paths cross our lives grow fuller. Hospitality isn’t talked about much but it’s signifigance shouldn’t be overlooked. As far as I am concerned, Grandma Gatewood Gave more than enough to pay her way. Always give more, especially when receiving, is the lesson of my Mother and Grandma Gatewood taught by example.My experiences of & with people confirm what all my elders have said. People are good everywhere. So what is with all the knuckle heads in charge??? see my public facebook page if you want to find out. I fly my flag upside down. Our country is in distress. “They” want to destroy the America that Grandma Gatewood and my Mother found and that I found as well. I can’t let the lies that pit us against each other continue. I know from Experience that these lies are not true. We are, one big happy family. Anyone standing in the way of all of Mankind living together in harmony and sharing the Earth & World needs to be taken to the wood shed. “Chen Chow Wei Gung”,The World Belongs To Everyone. So, lets go for a walk.

    • hiddenarts January 15, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

      Dear Mr. Coffman,

      Thank you for your insights on Emma Gatewood. I was writing my blog entry based on another persons first hand account. Your testimony is very powerful and I appreciate your writing to me to share those with me. Thank you again.

      Warmest regards, Peter Huston


      • Bette Lou January 15, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

        Dear Mr. Coffman,

        As you may know I am working with Peter Huston on this project and I would love to have more information about your memories of Grandma during her walk in Oregon. We are currently working on a first-person character program about her which will be come the basis for the script for the documentary and your memories would be very helpful. If you would be willing to share your story via e-mail or phone with us, you can reach me via the contact link on this page: http://edenvalleyenterprises.org/contact.html

        By the way, stories about “Trail Magic” (the special hospitality along these hiking trails) are also being collected for the documentary, so any stories you may have about the Magic that you’ve encountered would also be appreciated.


        Bette Lou

  2. Marjorie Gilliam Wood April 26, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    Mr. Coffman,

    Thank you for the kind words about my Great-grandmother. Knowing her and also reading her diaries, I seriously doubt that she would try to make people feel sorry for her so they would help her. She was more the type that if she wanted or needed help or was hungry or wanting a place to sleep, that she would just ask, I also know that she meet many kind people on her travels and she kept names and addresses and some phone numbers so that she could stay in contact with them. She was very much a people person and felt that if you did something kind for her that you was her friend and she never forgot what people did for her.

    Marjorie Gilliam Wood

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: