Little Missouri Falls to East Saline Creek
Day 2, April 26th 2014
Kat had this salami.
It was a nice salami. He’d been looking forward to eating that thing since, hell, since the day he bought it I guess. Talked about it in the truck driving down. Mentioned it during the night hike. I would say that he may have possibly gone to sleep that first night cuddling it like a teddy bear, but that would be slanderous conjecture and I’d never suggest such a thing since there’s no way I would actually know that for a fact. What I do know, though, is that neither one of us ate much for breakfast. So, by the time we hoofed it through Albert Pike Campground, Kat was salivating about that salami for lunch. Problem was, though, that between us and lunch at Winding Stairs was about two miles and a trio of college girls led incomprehensibly by . . . you know, I never did get the kid’s name.
We passed them by at first, content to let them cavort as young folk are wont to do. But then we stopped, as older folk are wont to do, and used “looking at the scenery” as an excuse to rest my legs. Then we were behind them again.
Now, there’s worse things to be stuck behind on a narrow rock trail – don’t get me wrong. But Kat and I couldn’t help but puzzle over this woodlands anomaly. Didn’t take long for them to outpace us, though. Took a wrong turn and headed up a side-trail with an unnecessary climb. I was taking my sweet languid pace when I hear voices ahead. Kat was up there conversing with the kid and next thing I know, the whole crew of ‘em come dancing down the trail and off we all went again.
We stayed with them long enough to feel good about keeping pace with young’ns, but decided to lag back at a wet crossing and give them some space on the trail. That was the last time we saw any sign of them. Pretty soon, I heard what I swear sounded like a little squeaky bicycle horn and along came those guys with the bikes. (Upon reflection, I seriously doubt he had a little squeaky horn. May have just been his brakes. Still, makes me smile a bit more in the retelling if it was a horn.)
It was around noon, I think, maybe closer to one that we ended up at a beautiful bouldery area below Winding Stairs. Seemed to be quite a few folk out and about either on day hikes or catching some sun while trying to catch some trout. Even saw some kids out getting a day hike on.
We copped a squat and I probably was the first one to drop pack and dig around for something snacky. Kat had that salami out and was staring at it with deep, almost zen-like contemplation. I have to admit, it was a fine looking salami.
So there I was, munching on an Oreo when something profound occurred to me. “Kat,” I said, “Everybody we see on this trail brought girls with them. How come we’re the only ones out here on the trail didn’t bring girls with us?”
Kat, ever the wise and soft-spoken sage, answered, “’cause we have kids.”
I let that truth resonate a bit. He continued making eyes at the salami.
“Hey, Kat. . . “ I heard the sound of his knife opening up.
“How come we had kids?”
“Cause we had girls.”
That really was a tasty salami. His wife picked it out for him.