The Last Night

It's day two of constant rain. I hiked twenty three miles to the shelter Footwork and I planned to meet at. It was empty. Since we got separated the day before, I figured he decided to move on ahead. I went to bed thinking I'd hike the last eight miles and summit Springer alone. I woke up at three o'clock in the morning and saw a headlamp moving toward the shelter.

"Is that Footwork?" I asked.

"Yes it is," he replied. I guess he was behind me all along, and hiked thirty four miles to get here. "I'm going to keep going. My friend couldn't pick me up, so I had to change plans. I have to be on Springer by eight."

I'd still summit alone. We said our congrats and goodbyes. I've made many friends on this trip. Making friends out here is as easy as when you're 6 and the only thing you need in common is your height. Out here nearly all you need in common is the desire to be out here. I'll miss the friendships the most.

"What do you think? Feel like hiking eight more miles tonight?" he asked.

Still groggy from sleep and Tylenol PM, I packed and headed up Springer.