The Last Great Warm Fall Hike

On the last great warm fall hike, all sorts of people were out on the mountain. We got a late start so many of the day hikers who started early in the morning were on their way back down. As they descended, we heard their disembodied voices.

A little brother yelling up to his much older, taller brother “When we grow up you will be my chef!” It was not the first time he had said this. His brother knew how to answer:

“I will make you sticky peanut butter sandwiches.”

“With Jelly, I like jelly,” his brother replied.

The banter would keep the brothers invested until the younger boy catches up.

Teen-aged girls laughed hard in each others faces to amuse their friends.

“Is there a parking lot back from where you came?” said an older woman who appeared coming around a hill. She, her older neighbor and 12-year-old grandson were at what they had hoped was the end of their two-mile hike. They’d missed a trial turn off and run out of water, time, and energy. They were almost to the bottom of the mountain, but their car was parked near the top road. We walked them there, holding hands on the steeper bits.

Then, we continued up the final trail where the hill’s steepest part makes the heart pound for a few feet. The sand made it slippery in parts. It was good to push ahead where there was only the sound of the blood pumping in our ears.