We sat in our chairs and enjoyed dinner. The entire trip we had incredible weather – very little wind. As we watched the light fade, a jeep slowly moved up Hole in the Wall Road.
Morning was quiet and beautiful.
It was hard to leave this place but it was time to start heading home and in the back of our minds we were wondering about Ted. They had started out before xmas, had to call it off after the first night because of a family emergency, and returned home. We had heard they might hit the road again after things settled.
The Lady was looking at the map as we headed west. “What’s Aguereberry Point?” she asked.
“A grand overlook high on the western edge of Death Valley.” I answered.
“We’ve never been there,” the Lady replied.
On our way up to Aguereberry we stopped at the Eureka Mine.
It darn near broke our hearts. There was more snow on the Panamint Mountains then on the Sierra Nevada at home. We drove a couple short sections of packed snow and ice.
The Lady headed up to the high point.
The view was grand.
The Lady’s cell phone rang as we passed Saline Valley Road on 190. I was surprised it was on. It was Ted. They were planning on spending their last night in the Alabama Hills. Where were we?
Late afternoon found us together in the Hills. The sun was just going down – the east side of the High Sierra is an impressive wall.
There was a hard north wind blowing down the Owens Valley. We sought refuge in our new camper.
“How was the first night in your camper?” Ted asked.
The Lady quickly answered, “Ski fell out of the camper naked.”
There it was. The Lady has that straight to the point quality.
“The door squeaked,” I added.
“What?” the Teds asked in unison.
“The door squeaked. The boys must have heard the door squeak.” I answered.
“Two young men from Oregon pulled in at dusk and set up camp right next to us,” the Lady explained.
“Why in the world were they still up after midnight? I asked.
“They were sitting around their campfire,” the Lady answered.
“Their illegal camp………………..”
“Leave it,” the Lady stopped me.
I explained, “I had to pee. It wasn’t too cold, around thirty; it’s the middle of the night. I figured I’d just pop out quickly with only my Romeos on.”
“Romeos?” the Teds quickly asked.
“Romeos, slip on shoes, easy to put on in a hurry. Barking Spider calls them Romeos,” I answered.
The Lady added, “And Barking’s got all of us calling ‘em Romeos now.”
“I had to pee. This wasn’t a take your time deal. I open the door and thought ‘Boy I don’t remember the door squeaking like that’ and I’m hit with two flashlight beams. Spotlighted. The boys heard the door squeak. I miss the edge of the step and I’m down, spotlighted naked man rolling in the dirt in the middle of the night. Great.”
The Teds didn’t say anything.
We switched seats around so the women folk could enjoy the heater.
Stories lasted a while longer and it was time to turn in.
I took a 30 second exposure in the predawn light the next morning. The winds had diminished somewhat.
Of course the massive front of the Sierra Nevada was the real star.
The Lady waited for first light to hit.
And then that magic fleeting moment arrived.
This was a fitting end to a great trip. It had everything good we could have wished for - great new camper, wonderful country, wonderful hikes, and wonderful friends.
Happy travels to all ………………….and watch those necessary quick trips outside in the middle of the night.