We headed up on the weekend of Independence Day, when the days were still long and the weather was warm. By now, all of the snow had melted in the lower elevations, but looking up we could still see plenty of snow at the top, reminding us that winter hadn’t fully released its grip.
We began hiking up the trail through the thick forest-the trail frequently hid itself from us so we had to guess where the trail was, often using our large machete to carve our own path. By 8pm we finally emerged from the thick old growth and into the gentle meadows; the wildflowers hadn’t bloomed yet and there was still snow on the ground in places but we decided it was the best place to set up camp. The sun slowly began nearing the horizon as we set up camp and ate dinner. The orb continued to skirt the horizon for hours casting an orange glow across the sky before dipping out of view in the early morning hours. The brief night was filled with the sounds of howling coyotes of in the distance, only to be hushed again by the deafening light. We decided to wake up early and begin hiking again. We couldn’t see the sun yet since The Lighthouse cast a dark and for-boding shadow over us, but the light was there, and it was enough to see The Lighthouse working on its defenses. Menacing clouds continued to build around the mountain, growing stronger every minute as we continued upward.
We thought our first dual with The Lighthouse wouldn’t occur until we reached the clouds, but The Lighthouse had other plans. Jessica and Alex had slowly been falling behind throughout the day. While we were waiting for them to catch up, a deep and ominous rumbling begun, as if the mountain was trying to shake us off its back. The rumble grew louder and more violent until the rocks began to shift above us. Henry and I ran up the trail once we saw the rocks raining down. We turned around just in time to see the entire hillside give way in a torrent of earth. We were trapped.
“What are we going to do” Henry practically screamed in my ear. Then, desperately, he yelled:
“HELLOOOOOOOOO…JESSICA…ALEX”, but we only heard the echo of his own voice against the steep rock face above us.
We waited for a few minutes hoping they would catch up to the rock slide that separated us. We hollered over and over again hoping to hear something, a sign. As if whispered by the wind itself, Jessica’s voice danced around our ears, carrying our names for a moment before continuing on beyond us, fading into the air. The dance of our voices over the slide continued for a few minutes. Jessica and Alex decided to turn around while Henry and I were to continue on and then descend the mountain on the other side.