Entering the old Prince Creek Compound under a snow-laden bough.
I lived here, in a tent that found it’s way to me after being abandoned in Bishop by a visiting Swedish climber. Everyone insisted that I have it. I had been sleeping in a bivy sac and this would be a considerable upgrade.
Ali pitched her own tent just out of view, close to a stream that would flood her dreams if they came at all. She had an insomnia problem that year. More time for stars and walks with nighttime animal friends.
We had a fire some nights, cooking beef steaks in a cast iron pan over the coals. I recall having a stove, but I don’t recall using it.
It was cold, the kind of cold that accumulates night after night, never fully leaving your body. We would eat chocolate before bed and in the night I could feel the cold draw it out of me like some sort of siphon. We joked about it being a new diet.
Soon it was elk season, Ali flew to Spain, and new neighbors arrived. Next door, grizzly men clad in camo flying a confederate flag. Across the dirt road, an odd pair of European men who complimented the physique of my borrowed dog: all of the dogs here are so fat, but this one, she is healthy and trim.
Looking back, it all seems so charming and strange.