The hikers are tied, tight enough for stability, lose enough not to cut.
They have only ever known asphalt and city parks, breaking them in, breaking herself in. “I’ve always wanted to . . . “ is now reality. The practice with the weighted pack, the flint, the filters, the course on primitive survival and first aid. Trying to get ready, knowing preparation can only take you just so far.
This is not a journey of proof, there is no one to prove anything to anymore. It’s not a self-affirmation journey, she is already self-affirmed. This is truly just the desire to go, to climb, to be alone, people were never her forte. Nature is her salve, organized, manicured nature. Will the wild be too much, too real?
This is a journey of solitude, an attempt to get lost inside herself, inside the world, much like she would do at dinner parties, only this time for real. “You could die out there!” She is warned. She is dying in here, she thinks to herself. “If I die,” she says, “let it be on my own terms, in the arms of the trees. Grandma Gatewood did it, why can’t I?”
Karen Silverstrim lives in western New York, spending her time hiking around the Niagara Gorge and teaching history. Karen has been writing for 47 years, with publications in newspapers and literary journals in New York, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Canada.