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I slip from the sleeping bag's warmth, feel the bite of mountain air and head for the campfire and coffee.
Wendy, freckle-faced, hair in pigtails, big blue eyes, says: "I'd like to hike with you today."
We follow Persimmon Creek upstream, climb past waterfalls to the top of the Continental Divide, walk through fields of alpine poppies, mountain peaks jutting up on all sides. On our return, we descend a steep scree slope in long jumps, racing to the bottom.
We stop at a place where a small waterfall drops into a pocket deep enough for a swim—a place that I've had in mind all day. I gesture toward the pool and Wendy takes the hint and undresses. As she enters, she looks back over her shoulder with a hint of smile: "You can look, but don't touch."
Stripping off the cloth that covers this old man's body, I follow her into the pool: "And, you can touch, but don't look."
of cool water—
one thirst quenched