Wednesday, May 17, 2017

An excerpt from Faster

Posting this on the side od the road in rural Tennessee as I,can get no signal at the truck stop. Here is an excerpt from another trail story,  Faster.

Speck caught Old Hickory at a picnic table in front of Wilson Creek Shelter. Speck took his pack off and dropped it in a heap at his feet. He grabbed his water bottle and sat at the picnic table across from Old Hickory.They had the shelter to themselves.

"How do you do it?" Speck said. "What's the secret? How are you doing these miles?"

Old Hickory smiled and looked up from his cooking. "How do you think? I walked here, same as you."

"You didn't hitch?"


"But I'm a fast hiker. Really fast. And I'm younger than you. And it looks like you carry more than me. How come I couldn't catch you?" Speck's fatigue showed through his voice.

Old Hickory's didn't. "Were you trying to catch me?" he said.

"Yes," Speck admitted, embarrassed. "And I couldn't. I didn't take a break all day and I never saw you."

"All I do is hike," Old Hickory said. "I don't do nothing fancy. I'm hiking the trail same as you. Just trying to get some serious miles under my belt. I don't treat it like a race. I came out here to get away from competition."

"I'd like to know your secret," Speck said. "I've never seen you actually hike the trail. For all I know you could be flying or driving from place to place."

"Sometimes, I wish, but no."

"Maybe I'm too slow for you. Maybe I've met my match," Speck looked down at his aching feet. "I just don't get it. I'm younger. Stronger. There's no way you could have stayed ahead. It just isn't right."

"It's not a matter of right or wrong."

Speck looked up at Old Hickory. The sight of the grinning, self-righteous bastard burned Speck to the core. "So that's it.You're just faster than me?"

Old Hickory looked Speck in the eye, his gaze gentle and content, the steam from his meal wisping between them. "I guess so," he said. "Yup. But, hey, it's no big deal."

"I don't know how you do it," Speck said. "But I'm going to figure you out. I'm gonna find your secret. And when I do I'll announce it up and down the whole trail."

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