“Sandra, how’d you like to go extreme hiking with me tomorrow?” asked Richard.
“I don’t know Richard, how extreme is it?” I responded cautiously.
“A small plane will drop us off Friday morning outside of Snowbird Mountain in Utah and we’re on our own for the weekend to rough it in the mountain terrain. Come on it will be romantic,” he urged.
“I’m not sure I’m ready for that extreme, you know I’ve only been a few times before. I will just slow you down. Besides, I work tomorrow! Not all of us can just pick up and take off when we want to you know.” Richard had definitely been spoiled during his lifetime. His family owned several of the Hotels here in the Colorado area.
“Don’t be crazy, this is a chance for us to explore together Sandra. It’s cold, snowy, we can make a fire and snuggle in the tent, it will be fun. I will set it all up, all you have to do is pack a few warm clothes. I’ll handle everything else.”
“Ok Richard, you convinced me,” I said excitedly.
“That’s my girl! I will pick you up tomorrow morning at 7am.”
I hung up the phone still a bit leary of my decision, but the break from work would be a nice change. Being cooped up in that office was beginning to get to me. Perhaps it’s just what I needed to clear my head and then I can come home refreshed and ready to start looking for a new more exciting position. I called the office next and lied about being sick and not able to come in tomorrow. I phoned my Mother and let her know of our plans, not that she was too concerned. We had a complicated relationship.
I searched through my closets, pulling out the warmest gloves, snow pants, hat, etc. I knew I’d need to dress in layers for sure. I’d been on a couple of these excursions with Richard before, he was used to dashing off anywhere he pleased at anytime. He had taught me the basics of outdoor survival and hiking. It was exciting, it made me feel free to be so adventurous. I stuffed everything into my duffel bag and went to lay down. It would be an exhausting weekend for sure.
My mind raced with thoughts about our upcoming adventure. I’ve known Richard for about a year, ever since his father bought out the local hotel I’ve worked for. He was a good influence on me, he has always brought out my daring side, the adventurous side I didn’t know I had until meeting him last year. My heart knows not to fall in love with him. He has a reputation for spending time with many females, so our relationship is not exclusive, we have an understanding, “fun for now” agreement. It works for me, I have no desire to have a permanent relationship with anyone anytime soon. I watched my mother go through bad relationships my whole life and vowed to myself, to never make the same mistakes.
I heard the alarm go off early the next morning and jumped into the shower. Before I knew it, Richard was knocking at my door.
“You ready baby?” He leaned over and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
“Yes, I hardly slept at all last night.”
I turned off the lights, locked the door and headed out to the car with Richard. He explained that we’d be driving to a friend of his who owned his own private plane. He would then drop us off at the agreed location and pick us back up on Sunday late afternoon. I was comfortable leaving the details to Richard, he knew much more about hiking then me.
As we boarded the small plane, my heart raced. I had never been on a private plane before. I’m not sure if I was feeling excitement or panic? I closed my eyes as we pulled off his property and rose up to the clouds.
Richard grabbed my hand, “Don’t be nervous, baby.”
“I’m trying,” I smiled.
After a couple of hours we landed on top of the highest mountain peak, it was much more desolate than I imagined. Richard threw out our gear, jumped out and then reached to help me climb out.
“Thanks for the lift buddy, we will see you back here Sunday at three!” Richard shouted loudly to the driver.
There were several inches of snow on the ground already, it was chilly, but not freezing yet. The sight of the mountain top being completely untouched was just breathtaking. There were no footprints in the snow, no skiers, no tourists, just us and nature. The glare from the white snow was almost blinding.
“Allright baby, grab what you can, we’ll find a good place to set up camp,” Richard shouted to me as the plane flew off.
We were walking for nearly an hour when I asked, “Richard I feel like we are pretty far out from our rondevu point. Shouldn’t we stop?”
“This mountain is a lot steeper than the others we’ve been on. We need a flatter area to set up at. We’ll just go a little more, you ok walking a little further?”
“Yes, I’m good,” I lied. The rugged terrain was difficult to maneuver through. The snow made the pieces of rock in the ground slippery and hard to see.
After, another thirty minutes or so, Richard said, “There you see the slight opening that way?” he pointed, “ it looks perfect.”
We busied ourselves setting up the tent and the firepit. “I packed your favorite beans,” Richard said as he came over and put his arms around me.
“You did remember the can opener this time?” I laughed. remembering the last trip we took together.
“Of course, I will never forget that again. I thought we were gonna damn near starve on that trip! Hopefully, we can find a deer or fox this afternoon.”
“Hopefully.” I lied, I wasn’t crazy about deer, fox or any other animal we might shoot to eat, beans and granola bars were fine with me for the weekend. I didn’t dare tell Richard. I think he felt powerful killing his dinner and liked showing his hunting skills off to me. I’d much prefer to buy mine at the grocery store.
Richard took off his glove and slid his hand into my snowsuit, “Richard you’re freezing!” I smiled but pulled away.
He grinned and put his glove back on. Richard was charming, he knew how to flirt and make a girl notice him. He liked having the girls at work noticing him and fighting for his attention. “C’mon let’s see if we can find us dinner,” he said as he grabbed for the shotgun. He handed the pocket knife to me, my job was always to mark the trees while he scouted the area for signs of an animal. We made a pretty good team, in the outdoor world.
“Did you see that?” he questioned softly.
“What is it?” I whispered back, looked around, but saw nothing.
“I think it’s a vulture, I just saw it flying down, about fifty feet away.”
“Can we eat vultures?”
“No, but it’s here for a reason, it must be eating something, it’s worth looking into,” he said as he lowered his gun.
“I don’t understand?”
“Well, maybe it’s eating a baby deer and the mom’s not far...or vice versa, you never know.”
I followed Richard down the mountain as he tracked the bird with excitement, sure enough, he was right. There laid a full grown deer, surrounded by a few vultures. In the distance he said he saw a couple of fawns. “I don’t like to shoot the fawn, but in this situation, they may not survive anyway.”
I heard the shotgun as it went off, I closed my eyes, hoping he had missed. The vultures flapped their wings violently as they flew off into the distance.
“Yes! I got one Sandra,” he shouted as he ran towards it.
I waited behind and cringed as I watched him wrap the baby deer in a tarp and threw it over his shoulder. We followed my markings back to the campsite, and gathered wood to light a fire. Richard always cleaned and cooked the animals, I wouldn’t dare.
“Ok we can have a feast tonight. We have some time to kill, come here,” he said as he went into the tent. I followed and saw him taking off his layers of clothes as he grinned at me again. He was very good looking and he knew it. “Are you going to get undressed?” he questioned me with his boyish grin.
“I suppose,” I teased.
As I took my layers off I began to feel the chill of the mountain. “It’s getting really cold!” I shivered.
“Hurry up, I will keep you warm,” he said as he laid down.
I quickly finished undressing, grabbed the sleeping bag and put it around me as I climbed on top of his naked body. “Ok warm me up!” I begged.
He quickly flipped me over onto my back and layed on top of me. As he kissed me he caressed my boobs, rubbed my back and bottom and then entered inside me. He started pounding in and out of me until he shook with pleasure. I was glad he was quick, I was cold and hungry and not really in the mood for a long night of romance in this weather.
We sat around the firepit eating and planning our adventure for the next day when we would be hiking down the mountain. Shortly afterwards, we turned in for the night, snuggling together to keep warm. It wasn’t too bad, until he had to go back out every few hours to keep the fire going for some warmth.
The morning air was incredibly chili. We grabbed the shotgun and a backpack filled with a couple of water bottles, granola bars, a flashlight, compass and few other necessities. Richard hoped to find another kill for dinner tonight. I was excited to explore the mountain. I hoped to find waterfalls and breathtaking scenery. This area was definitely uncharted territory, we were very far away from civilization.
“I think next time we should explore the northern mountain ranges,” Richard said as we walked down.
“I don’t know, I might be ready to explore the northern beaches after this trip, it’s so cold!” The air felt different up here.
“Keep moving, you’ll warm up. We only really have today to explore, tomorrow, we won’t have much time for anything but packing up camp and hiking up to the rondevu point. Remember, going up is much harder.”
“I remember,” that’s where I slow him down for sure. “Richard, is it going to snow again?”
“We are supposed to get another couple of inches before tomorrow, nothing bad,” he reassured me. “Hey, I see a rabbit over there, you want to try out your shooting skills?” he asked me, handing over the gun.
“No, you go ahead Richard.”
Again, he made the shot, wrapped the rabbit up for dinner later and we continued on. I also continued making marks on the trees as Richard taught me. Eventually, we reached an open area and I got what I came for, the beautiful scenery of the mountains. I sat and took it all in, for as far as I could see, endless snow-covered mountain tops beautiful peaks and valleys and in the far distance a waterfall!
“Oh Richard look at it! It is just amazing!”
“Think you can make it down there?” he questioned with a look of intrigument.
“I’d make it down, but I don’t know if I’d make it all the way back up to the campsite afterwards.”
“You can do it baby, c’mon we can rush down quickly and pick up some speed, go break at the waterfall and take our time coming back up, before dark.,” he jumped up and motioned for my hand, “Hurry!”
We trampled down fairly quickly, I was out of breath and ready for a break when we arrived. “Oh Richard you were right, this is amazing up close!” My eyes grew wide and my heart raced with excitement. We were at the halfway point of the fall, when I looked above I could see the water as it came from the top of the mountain and plowed down the rocks, past where we sat and down to the bottom where the larger boulders divided the water into a flowing stream. It seemed like it must have been half a mile long. We sat for awhile admiring nature at its best and snacked on a few of the granola bars we had brought.
Richard said, “Give me your water bottle, I will fill them up for the hike back.” He walked over to a tiny ledge naturally built from the rock and leaned over to catch the falling water into our bottles.
“Don’t get wet Richard, you’ll freeze to death! I have another one in our bag,” I shouted to him. I turned my head to look and saw Richard stumble, drop the water bottles and lose his balance on the slippery rock ledge, “Richard!” I shouted as I ran towards him. I watched in horror as he fell, “Richard!” I reached the edge where he had stood and looked down. I could see him about a quarter of a mile down on the rocks, on the edge of the fall in the shallow water. I ran, I ran as fast as I could down the slope of the mountain all the while screaming for him. It took longer than I had imagined to reach him.
“Oh God, Richard, I’m coming!” I cried as I got closer to him. I waded through the water and rock till I reached him. “Richard!” He didn’t move, he didn’t say a word. I tried to flip him over onto his back, but I wasn’t strong enough to move him. I knelt down next to him and sobbed until I realized I couldn’t feel my legs, they were soaking wet and freezing cold. What am I going to do? Richard is dead. I steadied myself and tried to stand up. My face felt frozen from my tears. The snow was beginning to fall from the sky. I screamed as loud as I could, “Help! Please, someone help me!” I could hear my voice echoing down the mountain, but knew no one was coming. There was no one to come.
I walked out of the water, stumbling a few times, falling and hitting the rocks, with my knees. The tips of the rocks were pointed and sharp edged. I could feel the blood running down my leg inside my pants. “God help me, please, God what do I do?” I instinctively ran and grabbed the shotgun in the distance, I felt panicked. I grabbed the backpack too and decided to head back up the mountain. I had to get back to the campsite. I needed shelter and the warmth of the fire. Between the tears and the snowflakes, I could barely see where I was going. I had no idea what time it was, Richard had the watch on. I knew I needed to go as quickly as possible to make it back by dark.
I was disoriented, I had to find my way back to where I left off marking the trees, before Richard fell. I knew it was about a quarter of a mile upwards and tried to look for the footprints in the snow, but they were beginning to fade from the new snow falling. I was exhausted, I dropped the backpack, it was too heavy for me to carry up. I pleaded with my inner self to keep walking. I told myself, I just need to make it to the campsite, I’ll be ok then. I kept walking even though my legs throbbed. I continued to scream for help.
I can’t find my tree markings, I can barely see in front of me with the wind and snow blowing. I’m afraid the uphill walk is too much for me. I fell to the ground, my feet were numb. I crawled over to a nearby tree, hoovered under it with the shotgun in my hand and cried hysterically.
When I opened my eyes again it was dark outside, I must have passed out for awhile. I’m so cold, my body is shaking uncontrollably. I can hardly feel myself anymore, I can’t go on. This is how my life is going to end. I am going to die here and no one will ever find Richard or me. The vultures will likely eat us, or the fox. I should end it, I just have to pull the trigger. What other option did I have, but to lie here and freeze to death.
I pointed the shotgun at my chin as it stood between my legs with my hand on the trigger, when I heard the brush move in the distance and the whine of an animal. It had to be a wolf, instinctively, I pointed the gun away from me and onto the animal coming ahead of me. It moved slow but continued to come closer. I tried to stay quiet, I could hardly breath, I could barely feel my finger on the trigger. My breath fogged up before my eyes and made it hard to see clearly.
The animal peeked around the brush and popped his head out, when I saw his eyes looking into mine, I tried to squeeze the trigger. I felt the gun fall across my stomach, I put my head back against the tree, closed my eyes and prayed to God. I didn’t have the strength to lift the gun to shoot him or myself. Please take me fast God I prayed.