Unnamed Mountain

  • July 18, 2017
  • Posted by Liam DownsTepper

A Mountain sits on the far side of the Salmon, watching over camp. I do not know it’s name. I doubt it has one. At 5:25 AM the top glows, as if lit from within. A halo of gold, a mountain crown, a new day.
Over the next half hour, as the crew makes breakfast and coffee and last minute lunches, the gold spreads. It trickles down from the summit, pooling in a crevasse one moment, rushing down a cliff face the next.
Hiking out in the morning, our backs face the unnamed mountain. It observes us as we walk along the creek until, after a few twists and turns, we slip out of sight.
We work.
Lift rocks and move rocks and throw rocks. Stack and place and break.
Sculpt, scoop, scatter.
The day grows hotter.
And hotter.
Lunch leftovers lay out in the sun.
By second break the granola bars are gone. The trail mix is crumbs. Water so hot it burns.
One hour left.
Everyone kicks it up a notch. Finds stamina they didn’t know was left. Rocks click into place. A flurry of activity as we scramble to finish everything. Anything left for tomorrow needs to be cleared from the trail, and that’s work as well. Might as well get it done right.
We fireline the tools to a cache.
And then we’re off again, hiking back to camp.
The sun beats down on us as we walk back, Camas Creek runs East to West, so there’s no shade. Sweat soaks shirts, pools, falls to the ground, trickles its way through the rocks all the way down to the creek.
Maybe a few of us sneak a snack before afternoon stretch.
We cower in the shade, moving with the sun. The unnamed mountain keeps tabs on us, blinding bright in the afternoon light.
We make dinner. An onion sacrifices itself for the greater good. The table jumps when someone pounds the garlic. Salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika.
The shade tarp protects us.
We fear the light.
Dishes dirtied for a dish to be shared. Scrubbed, scraped clean. At 7:41 pm, the sun disappears behind the unnamed mountain. We watch as the last sliver of fire vanishes. We breathe a sigh of relief. The mountain does as well.
The sky darkens.
Late, late at night, the mountain glows an unearthly silver in the moonlight. Stars trace its edges where it bleeds into the sky.
The unnamed mountain sleeps.
It has a long day tomorrow.
The mountain sits on the far side of the Salmon, watching over our camp. I do not know it’s name. I doubt it has one.

Peace and Trails,


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