As we were hurtling along the trail between Martin Way and 26th, I was riding next to Henry. We were talking, when he says, "Was that a person laying on the side of the trail?" I hadn't seen anything, so I said I didn't know. Shortly after that, those behind us started shouting to hold up. We came to a stop, and the rest caught up and said there was a guy laying on the side of the trail, and shouldn't we go back and make sure he was okay. Of course we did.
As we came upon him, he was curled up on the side of the trail. He had a hat and coat on, but no gloves. It took awhile to wake him (for a second, I thought we were going to have to check for a pulse). Jean called 911. The guy sat up. He was clearly intoxicated (either that, or his favorite eau du toilette is alcohol). He wouldn't give us his name. The 911 operator said they would send someone out. Chip offered the guy his gloves, but the guy wouldn't take them. The operator said we could go (we offered to stay), so we wished the guy well, and continued on our ride. It was just way too cold to let someone sleep outside like that. There is a good chance he would have died of hypothermia by morning.
The rest of the ride was uneventful. We returned to the trail on the way back. The guy was gone--hopefully he is sleeping warm in a shelter. Us riders can sleep well tonight knowing we did a good thing. We choose to be out in the cold, but we are prepared. The guy might have made choices that put him out on the trail, but he was clearly not prepared.