Nothing was a better aid to the explorers that good weather. No wet socks, wet tinder, and cold that comes from rain. No sweat and fatigue that comes from hot weather. It was windy and slightly cool, ideal for the journey. The ground was damp, not soaked, and Dusty's boots gripped the earth just right.
There were there were four others on the journey besides Dusty, John and Alt. There were Sunny, Heather, and Jake, their friends, and Tom, Dusty's boyfriend. Sunny shared Dusty's love of nature and the uninhabited areas of the world. Heather wanted to go along were ever her friends were headed. A wilderness survivor, Jake wanted to put his skills to the test. And Tom loved Dusty, so he decided to come along.
"So my aunt was talking to this girl, and she said that she wanted to have an abortion done in her house…" Jake said.
"No! Jake it's not cool that your aunt is an abortion doctor!" Heather interrupted. She was the one who believed that abortion should be illegal and wanted to know what it was like to be a pregnant teenager (and at the same time did not want to be a pregnant teenager).
Dusty was afraid for a moment that Alt and John, the political geeks, did not get involved in the debate and start the trip off on the wrong foot. She looked around for them, and then realized that she did not have to worry about that, because they were ahead of everybody, trying to run the trail.
Once Dusty was sure that the abortion debate was over, she yelled for Alt and John to come back and stay with the group. They would need energy for later.
Sunny ran up behind Dusty and hugged her, "This is so exiting!!" she said. "I can't wait to set up camp!".
The group walked along the trail. The sun peeked through the trees. Water slowly moved in Beer Run Creek across the moss covered rocks and the birds chirped their happy songs. Tom caught up to Dusty and hugged her. She was happy. But things haven't always been that way.
The first two years of high school were hell. In the beginning, Dusty broke up with her boyfriend of two months. The night of the breakup, she remembered that her evil ex had carved their initials onto a tree in the park across the street. She was mad. She was crazy. She decided that there was no way that that tree will haunt her for the rest of her life. Dusty would not let the romance fade, the memories slip away, she had to kill what was left.
The moon outside was pale as Dusty put on her jacket and slipped into the shed. She tiptoed over to where the tools were kept and pulled out a battery powered chainsaw. Then she was on her way to the park. The way to the tree was familiar and she got there in a matter of minutes. She got to the tree and started to kill it.
The chain saw must have disturbed some of the residents of the backwoods, because the lights of a police car blinked in the distance. Dusty had already been busted once for riding on the back of some guys' motorcycle without a helmet and could not afford to be busted again. She turned off the chainsaw and ran. She ran past her house and into rock creek. Then she went further into the woods. Dusty had not brought a flashlight, and was now running without any idea were she was going. Then, in the moonlight, she saw a doghouse and decided to risk it and go inside. Luckily, there was no dog inside it and she hid there for the rest of the night, wide awake for the entire time.
Now, Dusty thought that what she did that year was stupid. She had changed her ways and calmed down. Now she had Tom. Now she knew what she was doing. And now she had a gun. Dusty thought that she would never do anything so irrational ever again. But deep down inside, she knew that she was still the same.
The sun was setting very quickly. The camp was set up and a deer that Jake shot was roasting on the fire. Alt stared at the dead animal. He raised his eyebrows and sat on the ground, not participating in the debate John and Sunny were having about how early they were going to get up the next morning.
"Why are you so down?" Dusty asked him.
" I'm not sad." he replied. "I'm just thinking. Why do you live like this. I mean, it's okay sometimes, but you can't do it forever.".
"Maybe you can't. But I can. Damn it, Alt, can't you see that I can't live amongst normal people? I can't do normal things. I can't get up in the morning, go stare at a computer screen all day and then come home after the sun goes down. People were made to live out in the wild. Breathe some air."
"I guess it's best for you." Alt said.
Dusty looked around. Jake was re telling the story of his amazing hunt. Sunny and Heather were telling jokes and laughing. Tom and John were trying to climb a tree.
"It's best for a lot of people." Dusty said, half to Alt, and half to the sky.