Brooks McClintock began his tenure with Glacier Park, Inc. in the summer of 2011 as the Sous Chef at JammerJoe’s Grill and Pizzeria at Lake McDonald Lodge. For summer 2012, he took over as Sous Chef of Russell’s Fireside Dining Room, also at Lake McDonald Lodge. I recently had a few minutes to sit down with Brooks to get a few stories out of him.
The things that make him tick are hiking, hiking, and did I mention hiking? In his first summer with GPI, he bagged 28 peaks. In 2012, he bagged another 30. One of the highlights from this summer was taking a solo trek up Longfellow Peak and encountering a Grizzly Bear charge. With all the safety training available and stories that you hear, it’s easy to get a pretty good mental picture of what something like that is going to be like, but Brooks said all of that disappeared as it became a reality for him. He let off a two-second burst of bear spray to create the recommended fog between the bear and himself, and dropped his pack to distract Griz so it didn’t finish its charge. It worked. So then what? Brooks says he escaped off into the woods a distance and waited until he didn’t hear the bear anymore. He then went back to retrieve his pack and had an adrenaline-charged hike back to the trailhead. Phew!
This was not a one-pepper-spray-event-summer for Brooks. The next time the pepper spray came out, it was not his own, but belonged to another hiker on the trail. It was also not aimed from him, but at him! As Brooks was hiking out from Avalanche Lake, a vacationing couple was not paying much attention to their surroundings. He managed to pass the boyfriend uneventfully, but as he approached the headphone-toting gal, Brooks startled her. Showing off her quick-draw capabilities, she let Brooks have the brunt of her pepper spray in a four-second, full-face blast! He said that he kept his cool, and just started walking backwards to get out of the way. “I tried to not blink a lot, or wipe my eyes and face,” Brooks said of the incident. By the time he got back to the parking lot, the burning had subsided a bit. The couple arrived shortly behind him and wanted to help out any way they could. Brooks’ only request was for a cold beer, which they had in their car and were happy to oblige.Kudos Brooks -- for your level-headed reaction to this less-than-awesome situation as well as your overall patient attitude, we salute you!
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