"Bad Luck Gary"
Stepping off the plane in Colorado, Gary stumbled out with his hands full of luggage. Little did the airport know he was able to smuggle half an ounce of marijuana in his carry on in the form of a resealed peanut butter container. HAHA! Stupid bastards. Then he saw his 4 friends that he hadn’t seen in 5 years. The gang was back together. Q-Ball, Cheese, Brandi, and Big Earl were waiting in the chairs casually conversing and throwing salted peanuts at each other. Gary yelled over, “Hey! You idiots already start drinking without me?”
“Gary!” Brandi shouted and ran over to hug him. Gary didn’t just hug her back, but he picked her up and swung her in circles smiling and laughing.
The guys got up and came over and all started giving the secret handshakes and bumping shoulders with Gary. It was a great moment. Gary missed them so much. He could still remember the last day he saw them…the worst day of his life…
Gary grabbed his dad’s hand to help lift him up on to the next rock ledge, “So you said this was going to be easy, Pops?” He said in a panting voice.
They were going on the longest father/son hiking and climbing trail ever attempted. They were deep into the mountains now, about 3 days in and half way through the trail. They both had on camelback’s that held about 20 liters of water which was more than enough for the trip. Inside their bags, they carried several peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a variety of meat sandwiches, bags of deer jerky, packages of strawberry Pop-Tarts, and 3 or 4 apples still left, with 3 days to go. Needless to say, food wasn’t going to be a problem either. They each also had first aid kits, flash lights, matches, lighters, small cans of lighter fluid, a knife, and one or two changes of clothes. Attached to the outsides of their packs with small bungee cords they each had a sleeping bag and a small pillow. They were also wearing hiking boots, cargo shorts, and light breathable jackets.
His dad had the map of the trail and the compass and always kept them headed in the best direction. They were right on track and still had 3 more ledges to climb before they could set up camp, “What’s a matter, can’t keep up with the old man?” His dad was 42, and Gary was a young in shape 21 year old and could easily out hike his dad. That didn’t stop his dad from egging him on whenever he had a chance.
Gary’s dad began to scale the next small rock ledge. Gary, not being out done by his dad, was hot on his tracks. Hunger was beginning to set in on Gary, but he knew they were going to set up camp soon. Besides, it was getting darker and they still had to make a fire.
After climbing the next two rock ledges, Gary was dead tired while setting up camp. Nonetheless, Gary was able to gather up enough firewood to last the night, while his dad started the fire with sticks, twigs, and a little lighter fluid. Gary’s dad even set up two of the largest comfortable sitting rocks around the fire that he could find. Gary emerged from the woods to the clearing where they were camped and yelled out, “Do you think it’s going to get cold tonight?”
Watching his son drag the larger sticks behind him because he’s too tired to lift them, he knew he was tired and said, “Yeah, so you better stop gathering wood and come get warm by the fire.”
“Yes!” Gary said under his breath. You see his dad was a much more experienced hiker than him, so he called all the shots. Gary wasn’t an inexperienced hiker either. He had been on several different hikes with his friends. Together, they made an ideal team.
Plopping down on the rock next to his dad, who was already eating a sandwich, Gary asked, “Do you think people from cities don’t like to hike because they’re afraid of wild animals, or the dirt?”
“Some people just don’t know what they’re missing,” his dad said between bites.
For a while Gary and his dad just sat there in silence, eating sandwiches and staring at the fire. The sun had been down for about an hour now, and they were getting tired but just sat there looking up at the stars.
“Let me get a look at that map,” Gary said with his hand reached out.
Without a word, his dad reached into his jacket and handed him the map.
Gary’s dad yawned, “I’m going to bed. We have to get up early, so be ready.”
“Alright, will you wake me up?” Gary asked.
“Yeah, I’ll get you up. Probably going to be 5:30am, the crack of dawn,” his dad said with a stupid smile that said ‘You can’t get up that early’ written all over it.
“I’ll be up. I’ll be up. Don’t worry.” Gary jokingly said.
The two unrolled their sleeping bags and lie down on the most comfortable spots on the ground and fell asleep.
“So, this is our place,” Brandi said with joy as she pulled the car up to the cabin we rented for the weekend hike.
“YEEEAAAHHHHH!!!!” Cheese screamed out with joy as he rushed out of the vehicle, black shoulder length hair blowing in the wind. Cheese was a little bit Italian and had a kind of brown all year round tan and simply loved cheese, ALL kinds of cheese. After getting high with him a few times senior year in high school, Gary had once seen him devour an entire platter of cheese. Nobody knew his real name. When asked he simply would respond, “It’s better for the both of us if you don’t know, just call me ‘Cheese’.”
Big Earl chased Cheese up the stairs to the cabin. Cheese was a little faster and made it first, before Brandi even put the car in park. Big Earl was from a different high school then the rest of us, but he was the coolest and only kid we liked from our rival high school. Big Earl was named “Big” Earl for a reason. Big Earl was a big white guy about 265 lbs, 6’4” and pure muscle. He had short brown hair, decent looks, and always liked to fight and play around.
Gary helped Brandi get the luggage out of the trunk and she said “It’s beautiful!” referring to the cabin set deep in the wilderness at the foot of a mountain range in Colorado. Gary set the rest of the luggage on the driveway and closed the trunk. Q-Ball got out and started to do a little victory dance that made him look ridiculous.
Q-Ball’s real name is Quincy Jones, he was black, and was the best basketball player Gary knew from high school. Q-Ball made all state in high school and led the team to back to back division titles. Gary, who was pretty good himself, always added in ‘Don’t forget, I was the starting center for that team’ when they would share basketball stories. Gary only had about 8 points per game, as compared to Q-Ball’s 28 points per game. Q-Ball was about 5’10”, 160 lbs, and could dribble right past any defender. Brandi laughed at Q-Ball’s attempt to ‘break it down’.
Brandi Woodson, was Gary’s girlfriend on and off in high school and still sort of had feelings for him. She was a very pretty girl with curly blonde hair, pretty facial features, and a well fit body. She always smiled and fit in like she was one of the guys. Drink and smoke like a pro, Brandi would party with us without thinking twice. This made her unique, and she always fit right in when she would come over to Gary or Q-Ball’s houses for guy’s nights. Brandi has always been the perfect girl, in Gary’s eyes.
Q-Ball, Gary, and Brandi managed to drag everyone’s luggage up on to the front porch, despite having to carry Cheese and Big Earl’s stuff as well. The cabin WAS beautiful. According to the brochure, it was a log cabin with a fully furnished downstairs, kitchen, laundry and dryer, with a big screen television, 4 bedrooms, 2 fully equipped bathrooms, one with a hot tub Jacuzzi, and a gas fireplace.
“Cheese! How did you find this place?” Brandi asked smiling as he opened the big wooden door to help her with the luggage.
“Let’s just say, I know people,” he said as he laughed and smiled brushing back his long black hair and bending over to pick up two suitcases.
Big Earl then came back out to say in his burly voice, “Wait until you guys see it in there, it is awesome.” He grabbed both of his bags with one of his enormous hands and hurried back inside.
The inside was even more beautiful then Gary first anticipated. The place was clean and utterly picture perfect, this was going to be a great weekend.
“Hey! We have to get going.” Gary’s dad said as he bent down to nudge Gary awake. It was 5:30am, just as Gary’s dad had promised. It was still basically dark, but Gary’s dad already had a little fire started with what firewood was leftover from the night before.
“Uuggghhhh. Is it 5:30am already?” Gary moaned as he rolled over onto his back.
“Yeah, let’s get cracking,” he responded.
Breakfast was a strawberry Pop-Tart and a few gulps out of his camelback which was still about ¾’s full. Then Gary and his dad packed their stuff and were headed to the trail’s hardest and most dangerous climb, nicknamed ‘Devil’s Point’.
Devil’s Point was a climb 30 feet straight up a rock face with no equipment. It would be the most critical part of the trail. If you slip up and fall from that high on to jagged rocks, you could seriously injure yourself, and Gary knew it.
Gary and his dad stomped out the fire and they made their way 6 miles through the mountain trail to reach Devil’s Point.
Gary’s dad looked straight up at it, standing between the jagged rocks, “30 feet straight up to the next ledge. You ready?”
“Let’s do it,” Gary confidently retorted.
Slowly, Gary’s dad made his way up 10 feet, “How you doing kid?”
“I’d be better if you weren’t kicking rocks down at me every two seconds,” Gary snapped back.
Gary’s dad laughed and slowly continued up to 22 feet. They were silent then because they were focusing on the potentially dangerous situation. With an outstretched arm, Gary’s dad’s hand was about 3 feet away from the edge. Gary was climbing very well. His hands were finding all the right spots as he followed his father ever so carefully up the rock wall. Just as Gary’s dad began to pull himself up on to the ledge, he found himself face-to-face with a very angry gray wolf. It was frothing at the mouth and growling low to the ground, ready to pounce.