In a surprise move, trail crews helicoptered a full-sized Coca Cola machine to the top of Half Dome. Park officials said that the recent clear weather allowed them to heavy lift the vending machine using contract Chopper N28HJ. Park management cited the recent congressional Sequestration and the consequent 5% across the board funding cut as the motivation. This “outside the box” program is expected to bring in needed revenue.
Despite clearly being in the wilderness, because the machine is not a permanent man-made structure, and it can be removed when the fiscal crisis passes, it is felt that any action by environmental groups to remove the machine would not be held up in court. Authorities wanted the machine up in time for the Half Dome hiking season.
To provide electricity for refrigeration and operation, three micro 5,500 gigawatt solar arrays were placed on the top of the Coke machine. Park spokesperson Ranger Abril Phul said the revenue generated by the machine would provide the park with a strong source of funding which would be applied to the implementation of the Merced River Plan. The MRP is due to be signed off by July of this year. Many hikers underestimate the amount of water for this extremely strenuous hike and the demand for a cold soda will be very high.
Protection Division Rangers who normally check for permits will be tasked with refilling the machine each day prior to the arrival of hikers. Visitors can expect to pay $3.00 for sodas and exact change will be required. Hikers will be responsible for the proper disposal of empty bottles upon their return to the valley.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Trust me, Wilbur. People are very gullible. They’ll believe anything they see in print.” – E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com