Please, dear God. Bring them home safely. With just enough good
stories to wow their buddies.
We meet the 20-somethings in Cedar Breaks National Monument in the
southwestern corner of Utah, where the alpine meadow we're walking
through rises above 10,000 feet.
It's so high and surrounded by even higher peaks, I think of the Alps
and Maria twirling around in her noviciate clothing, arms
outstretched, singing "The Sound of Music." Allen and I climb the
gentle mountain top meadow with the dogs and I start humming "The
hills are alive ..." and then stop. Because I have no breath left. I
can't hum and walk at the same time. Ten-thousand feet is high up.
Very high up. How did Maria do it? We lose our breath just bending
over to tie our shoes.
As we walk back to the parking area, we see Adam and Austin, tugging
on their backpacks, adding stuff, taking stuff out. Their loads weigh
as much at they do combined.
"Look at the load that guy is carrying," Allen nods toward one of the
boys. It's an amazing mountain of stuff. We smile. Ah, to be young ...
We climb into the motor home and are set to leave when one of the duo
runs up to our window. And, in doing so, comes into our life.
"Hey, I know you are getting ready to leave, but can you take our
His grin cuts across his whole face.
We climb out and help document the beginning of their journey, which,
we discover, is the first of its kind for them. Two 20-somethings.
From Las Vegas, elevation 2030, striking out into the hills of Cedar
Breaks, elevation higher than 10,000.
"Take it slow," I warn. "It's pretty high up here."
"I know," Adam replied. "It's hard to breathe just putting our packs
I start to worry, like he's my nephew and I'm somehow responsible.
That's why I prayed.
"How long will you be out there?" I ask.
Just for the holiday weekend. They're due back at work on Tuesday.
I'd love to hear the stories they bring home.