It was late and I was racing the sun. It sets so early now, and the cold comes with it. I don't really want to admit it, but summer is on the way out.
As I climbed the steep access road to Mount Howard, I was having second thoughts. I had only decided to backpack up there a few minutes before. I threw stuff in a pack and headed out, knowing I could be night hiking, and not really welcoming the prospect (the best way is to take the tramway up, but they stop running at four. Not an option).
I struggled with the effort not to turn around. For years I had nobody to miss, and this made adventuring a lot easier. I thought of all the reasons I could have stayed home. I could turn myself into a day hiker, I thought. You can often cover more ground, and you don't have to miss anyone, or deal with camping alone if nobody else can go. But I knew that isn't who I am. I know that once I start coming home every night, I lose part of the adventurous person I am. This is not to disrespect people who like to be home every night. It's just not me.
Decision made, I gained the ridge. The nature trails were quiet, void of all the day tourists. The nearest person was perhaps ten miles away if at all. I headed over towards the shoulder of Easy Peak, where I have only ever been on snowshoes. A full moon rose over the perfect campsite. There was no water here, but I had filled up at a convenient spring at the top of Mount Howard. I had been tempted to camp near the lift, but due to people feeding them, a legion of aggressive squirrels run in packs there. Better to avoid that area at night.