Even though it's publicly owned open space, my wife and I kind of consider Mt. Sentinel to be our back yard.  We can walk to the trail from our house and be at the top in about an hour.  I don't know who came up with the idea of publicly owned open space in this town, but they ought to be sainted.  In my opinion it rates right up there with America's national park system in terms of making life good for the average schmuck.

Anyway, we often see an older gentleman (I'm 60 and he's older than I am, so he's no spring chicken) hiking the mountain, and he passes us every time.  No high tech gear - Lace up leather boots and a barn coat.

Recently, we saw him stop every 50 yards or so along the trail, stoop down, pick up a small rock and put it in a plastic grocery bag.  Just figured he liked rocks.  Then one day my wife saw him deposit his bag of rocks on a pile just off the trail.

Last Saturday morning his intent became obvious.  There on the mound of rocks was a carved pumpkin.  It was filled with, yep, more rocks.

We used to have a long list of local characters in this town: Reverend "Red" Bex, our downtown hellfire and brimstone preacher; Downtown Randy with his sleeping bag;  Tommy the Leprechaun -- All gone now.

But, it's nice to know we still have interesting, colorful people we can count on to surprise us.

Happy Halloween.

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