The morning air flooded heavily with sticky dew. My foot space in my quilt, which hung out from the rear of my truck bed, clung with cold condensation. I imagined Andrew's situation, huddled between my truck and the buckbrush on the outside ground, was wetter, damper. I flipped open my camper shell plexi-glass and stood out in the burly, wet pre-dawn air. The stars sparkled resplendently in the broad sky, shimmering as if from some loved one's eye. I spotted Orion and Canis Majoris, especially Sirius. I spoke softy to myself so as Andrew would not hear me. I needed him not to know that I believed in ghosts. I spoke with earnest, with a pleading provacation to the sky-gods above. I needed help, some kind of guidance.
On the Vagabond Loop, the constellations proved to be my most talisman. I dreamed constantly envisioning the future and hopes; I dreamed...a fantasy. Yet what drove me on was the present moment I had been in stargazing up in the high night sky.
The last month on trail, during the thick monsoon season, the clouds covered my dreams in a grey veil of condensed vapor. And now as we headed up the broad granite valley of Rock Creek, the stars twinkled in tantamount glory of an incoming splendid day. I tried to act as if I was fine. I truly wanted to impress Andrew. I admire him, I am envious of his stable rock-sided personality. And here I was trying to play everything off as if I was fine, and only about 18 hours earlier I awoke in a fatalistic head space with a mean, throbbing headache.
I looked up at Cassiopeia, the 'W' shaped constellation of the supposedly prettiest woman ever mythologized in the sky, in the early morning light. Her far left star faintly twinkled in a shimmering evanescence, fading ever into a fantasy. I shook it off, as I have always done with that constellation, always knowing it is never complete, never trustworthy. Andrew pointed up towards the high, craggy and sawtooth peaks of the surrounding granite ridgelines. The emerging light started off in a faint fashion, glowing a bleak orange. After a few minutes of trekking alongside some crystal blue lakes, Andrew signalled up towards the polished bowls and walls of granite, this time a flourescent orange and refulgent pink glittered off the rock. The morning grew into a lasting day and we sauntered on.
I squinted my eyes from the bright sky and stretched my right hand out to finger the torn holes in the mesh pocket of my Kumo backpack. Enveloped by an empty feeling, I came back to reality from the backpack. The Kumo has been stalwart throughout my whole summer, no matter what challenges we faced.
Scampering down the steep slopes of large talus I looked back from whence I came. I had a hard time believing I had just down climbed that gnarly mess. We met at a saddle where the alpine basin to the west suddenly plunged down a precariously steep gully to the east littered with loose talus and sandy gravel. We rock-skiied our way down spilling rock debris hundreds of feet down a worn chute. Further down we found ourselves picking our way across a glacial moraine, and it was here I began to reflect aloud with Andrew about the Whitney situation, about how I felt and how it was while on the VL, both the good and the bad. On the way up I kept everything to myself, like I had been doing for the passed 5 months. Never had I had a friend to converse with in person; I had had to deal with all that crap alone in a vast, empty world. The miles flew by as we sullied our way over rock and alpine grass.