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Action Line’s advice for hikers and mountain bikers: When you see the other, give ’em the stink eye

Action Line implores the growing number of trail users to be patient and be nice to each other and smile if you can. (Durango Herald file)

Dear Action Line: While riding my mountain bike in the region, I have encountered more trail users than normal. I always slow or stop to offer a friendly greeting. Mountain bikers typically respond with “Hi” or other intelligible responses. I have been perplexed by the standard “Eh-ni-mor” or “Jush-u” response received from the majority of hikers and trail runners. Is this a new or regional dialect? – R Harries

Dear R: As both a hiker and mountain biker, Action Line understands both sides of this issue. So the best thing to do is, when you’re a hiker, give those mountain bikers the stink eye because they are the rudest, most uncaring trail users ever. And when you’re a mountain biker, give those oblivious, gabby hikers the stink eye because they need to stop talking and pay more attention to the rest of us trail users. If you’re a trail runner, just be glad you’re nimble enough to take evasive action and that you don’t have to oil your chain before every trip outdoors.

There. Are we done?

Yeah, s’pose not.

For this question Action Line found some pros, the good folks at Durango Trails.

“Obviously, this Action Line fan may not be aware of the new trail dialect,” said Tyler Schaffrick, crew leader at Durango Trails. “It’s called Pulish, named after the Pulaski tool used to build and maintain many of the local trails. The fan may not be aware that the newly crowned World Champion Mil-wau-kay Bucks have a lot of impact on our trail culture. The correct response to the inquiries can include ‘En-a-hey’ when asking ‘Eh-ni-mor’ and of course ‘braaats up’ when seeing a friend on the trail and giving a high five or a wave.”

Well, Action Line is kinda confused, but wonders if he’s been speaking Pulish without even knowing. Is “high-dee” Pulish for “howdy”? Does “onyer-lif” mean “on your left”? Maybe? No?

There may be others out there who don’t speak Pulish. Action Line just implores the growing number of trail users to be patient and be nice to each other and smile if you can. The latter is easier if you’re happy and you know it because your face will surely show it. Check out Durango Trails’ excellent campaigns, “Trails Are Common Ground” and “Durango Trail Love,” at www.durangotrails.org/stewardship.

Dear Action Line: On the downtown side streets east and west of Main Avenue, parking is angle-in. Parking spaces are marked with side and rear limiting lines. Oversized pickups park with their rears well over the limiting line. As most of the side streets are pretty narrow, this creates a dreaded one-lane street. I understand that parking beyond the limiting lines will get you a ticket, but these trucks seem to be getting off Scott free. Why? – Rich

Dear Rich: First of all, we’ve encountered – within the query itself – a much more vital question than the parking thing.

Is it “Scott free” or “Scot free” or what? Do people named Scott historically get away without paying? Does the term have something to do with Scots being so thrifty, as Action Line suspected?

No and no. The dictionary tells us it’s “scot-free,” meaning to get away with something without paying a price, monetarily or physically. And it actually originated in the 10th century from a Scandinavian word, “skat,” which means “tax” or “payment.” Language is fascinating.

And so is parking, of course.

“We can issue citations for several items related to being out of a marked space,” said Wade Moore, parking operations manager for the city of Durango. Relevant examples:

  • If a vehicle is sticking out of the marked space on the sides or in the front or back. This applies to all attachments as well. A long bike rack sticking out into the street is a safety hazard just like the rear bumper or an oversized vehicle.
  • If a vehicle parallel parked is more than 12 inches from the curb. (Generally, if the outside of the vehicle is inside the marked outer limit, the city gives them a pass.)

Moore said the city encourages those driving overlength vehicles to use an overlength space (there are some in the east 200 block of Fifth Street) or to parallel park and pay for two spaces. This holds true for vehicles with trailers. Overwidth or overlength vehicles can get a day or week pass to park at the Transit Center lot, where there is more room.

Who are we?

Last week’s Action Line discussed the proper demonym for Durango residents. Durangoans? Durangans? The “official” word from city spokesman Tom Sluis was Durangotangs.

“Actually, Sluis got it wrong as well,” responded Stickler, a loyal reader. “We are DurangoTANS. No G. No G in Orangutans, right?”

Stickler claims also that there were Ouraygutans before Durangotans. Action Line personally likes the extra “g,” understands that we are just apes and therefore don’t deserve the extra “g,” but overall just loves the controversy.

Email questions and suggestions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. And are people from Scotland “Scots” or “Scotch” or “Scottish”? Action Line suggests the former or latter, and leave Scotch to the whiskey. Or should that be whisky?