Mountain stood, last chance of season,
As though men need mere ounce of reason
To chase adventure in the sky,
So we set off, just Jack and I.
It took the greater part of morn
To reach the tree line, rock adorned.
We hadn’t kept in time with plan
Quick-hatched in mind by dog and man.
At King’s Ravine we stopped in awe
And gazed upon its gaping maw.
The path leaned close to death’s sharp edge.
We stared down from its fearsome ledge.
It’s there we were passed by a youth
On way to top of Adams, proof
Within his run, of both our age
And how close we would come to page
That marked the ending of our Books.
He gave us just two glancing looks
And he was gone. Jack said “Follow!”
I said “Not!” and took a swallow
Of warm water; stiffening, I
Stood, young man swiftly gone from eye.
We made peak late (two hours) to find
A couple hiking, of like mind,
In scramble up the other side
Of Adams, where the shadows hide,
To be bathed, as we, by the sun.
Their dog and mine seemed just begun.
But we took time to ponder view
That canines did not share, nor knew.
When photos and brief speech were done,
We said goodbyes, lone trails still long.
I gazed, concerned, on sun’s quick arc
Which threatened us from end with dark.
We took the gentler-angled way
Down Madison and lost the day.
We grazed off trail barely re-found,
And there I laid upon the ground
Littered by boulders, for I knew
We could not make it in blind hue.
Poncho beneath, blanket above
Became our camp, shared with a love
Held between corgi apt-named Jack,
And master, enveloped by black.
He slept; I didn’t, ache from rocks
And climb up Adams, tripped by pocks
That littered both the peak and path,
And–I suspect–of God’s own wrath.
When daylight came I lifted pack
And I and corgi then went back
To place we started, it not same—
Not quite the place from which we came.
We stood a little taller, death
Evaded by the merest breadth.
We conquered Adams by a thread;
Just one week’s chill, and we’d be dead.
Jack London wrote much better story,
Could tell it with a greater glory,
But I shall hold mine till I die,
The day we climbed, just Jack and I.
Eric M. Vogt