A Blistered Kind of Love
FROM A DISTANCE, IT WAS HARD TO TELL WHAT IT WAS. Though it resembled a hiker, it moved slowly and close to the ground, waddling rather than striding. We were north of Hart's Pass at mile 2,620, trekking across the rock-strewn sidewall of Slate Peak under clear skies. Mount Baker's 10,778-foot glaciated peak dominated the western horizon. The creature advancing from the north appeared to be bluish in color, all blue except for one small patch of white. As I came within a hundred yards, the beast sat down. It was then that I realized it was a man, a man resting on a boulder and awaiting my arrival.
"Whoa. . . . What are you doing out here?" I was as surprised to see Ed out there as I would have been to see Rush Limbaugh.
"I'm hiking south, checking up on y'all." Ed was dedicated, that was for certain. "How's the umbilical cord?" he asked with a wink.
"Strong as ever. She's right behind me, can't seem to lose her. Trail's been tough, though. Especially the last few weeks, with all the damn rain. Doubt my shoes will ever dry out."
"'Tisn't easy for anyone, me-boy, but you'll make it. Monument 78 is just a day or so away." It seemed like Ed might actually be proud of us. I decided that I shouldn't disappoint him by mentioning that we'd skipped a big chunk of Section K. But there was one item that did need to be addressed.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication