24 Mar “What´s your name, again?”, I ask as I turn my head back to him.
“No name”, he replies.
This was day 2 on the Santa Cruz trail circumnavigating the base of the Alpamayo; at times, he lead the hike; other times, I did; the guide for the hike would run the group and would change from leading to the middle of the pack.
She tells me that she had told the guide that it was my birthday; he shrugged.
As she tells me this story, I shrug.
“Whatever”, I reply.
There are many things to consider when leading a hike of this nature.
“Where are you from?”
No Name replies, “London.”
Later that night, there is a problem when the person assigned to share a tent with him refuses; he tells the group that he doesn´t want to share a tent with him. There are only enough tents for everyone if we all sleep two in a tent.
“Whatever”, I reply, “I´ll share a tent.”
Darkness falls, she´s in the tent with the guides; sharing food and asking questions about where people are from; about their lives; the rest of the group are in another tent sharing stories.
I enter the guide tent.
“I´m going to bed”, I tell her.
“Ok”, she replies.
We leave the guide tent.
“Goodnight”, I tell her.
“Goodnight”, she tells me.
I enter my tent. Get in my sleeping bag. Moments later, No Name enters the tent.
He lays down on his sleeping bag; reaching over he pulls out an iPod from his backpack; he puts headphones in and gets in his sleeping bag.
I struggle to fall asleep that night; anticipation of the hardest day of hiking; I lay on my back in my sleeping bag and stare up hoping for sleep.
The tent is shaking.
“Wake up”, the guide says quietly, “it´s time.”
I pack my backpack in the tent; opening the flap, I step out. It´s still dark. She has already left her tent.
“Good morning”, I reply.
It´s cold; I have both my jacket and coat on.
We head to the guide tent. The guide hands me a roll. I pour a cup of coffee. Moments later, the guide stands up from his chair.
“Ok”, the guide says to us, the three of us hiking that day, “let´s go.”
“One thing”, I reply as I set my backpack on the ground.
I pull out a pack of playing cards that I had brought with me from San Diego to give as a gift. I start writing in my notebook.
I tear the page out and set the paper on the table. I place the pack of playing cards on the paper.
She looks over to me. She pulls a chocolate bar from her bookbag and sets it on the note.
“Ok”, I say, “let´s go.”
Moments later, we would pass a bend in the trail and get the best, so far, view of the mountains around us.
A rumbling noise.
“What´s that?”, I ask the guide.