On the second day of hiking, we knew we had a problem. Luke had asthma and struggled under the weight of the pack. We’d barely covered half our distance before we had to make camp.

Next morning, Boone woke us early and outlined the new plan. Luke couldn’t continue. Boone would hike out to the road with Luke carrying a light pack, make a phone call to arrange a pick-up, then hike back and meet us a few miles up the trail.

We divided up Luke’s share of the common load and said good-bye.

Chris assigned Peter to lead. We sluggishly broke camp and moved on to the rendezvous.

We arrived and we waited. And waited. And ate lunch. And waited.

Finally we saw Boone hiking up the trail. They’d hitched a ride into town, called base camp, and now Luke was on his way to see a doctor.

It was afternoon, we’d only traveled a few miles, and we still had to make up the distance we’d lost the day before.

Peter was leading, but it wasn’t his fault the swampland wasn’t marked on the USGS map. By the time we’d picked our way through, he wasn’t sure where we were. With help from Boone and Chris, he picked out a catching feature: a pipeline to the west of us.

We trudged west.