I’ve stepped onto a trail I hadn’t expected to encounter. Nobody’s doing maintenance on this washed out, rocky ribbon of red earth that winds between a cliff face and a 300-foot dropoff. There will be no turning back. And no end-of-trail orgasm.
My g-g-g-generation warned, “Never trust anybody over 30.” I’m 43 years past that point of mistrust. Most of my friends are 55 and older. They are climbers, trail crew grunts, hikers, river rats, and road trip addicts. Scorp’s shoulder went out 15 years ago. He threw his climbing shoes out five years ago. Everett (code name Ruess — if you don’t know who Everett Ruess was, you’re probably not limping the mean terrain with us) had knee surgery a week ago. A torn meniscus — not from a Rim to Rim hike, but because as he park-rangered at Roaring Spring, he bent down and felt the muscle rip.