How far is the lodge?” asks Jim. “Seven or eight miles,” I reply. “Can your chair make it there and back?” asks he, a little too concerned, methinks.
“I think so, I’ve done it before,” I say, reassuringly.
“There is that hill with switch-backs you know,” he says, not feeling reassured.
“I mean, what could possibly go wrong?” I say.
“Oh not much, just getting stuck down hill, miles from camp, late at night, in grizzly country, with about 400 pounds of dead weight on wheels,” Jim points out, sounding like someone who has had to push one of these things at one time or another.
“True … but a vehicle could rescue us if need be …” I offer.
Jim laughs. He is getting accustomed to anticipating what can go wrong when a member of the party must rely on electric-mechanical items for mobility. It is one of the harsh realities of wheelchair life, and as our equipment ages and declines, the chance of something breaking down rises — inevitably at the farthest point in the journey.
We gaze around at the amazing scenery while waiting for our wives at the trailhead. I never get tired of the Rocky Mountains. You can stare at them over and over and still find somethi