From Carter Creek

From Carter Creek

A Campfire Confession
by Gabe Howe

This is a journal excerpt from the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area in 2012. I had just watched one trail crew depart Carter Creek for home, and had a full day till the next crew arrived. For 24 hours I was alone without much to do. Sitting next to the creek, I wrote this:

“I’ll miss you guys,” I told them this morning. They acted like I was joking. I wasn’t. 

“I’ll miss you guys,” I told them last night over beans and rice. They just smirked. Cold beer, hot pizza, and garden fresh tomatoes were only nine miles out and they could taste it all on the tips of their tongues. 

I’m far behind them. I’ve got another — let’s count — 10 days, nine nights down here.

I look forward now to tomorrow, when the fresh crew arrives. When Jill, my wife, arrives. I look forward now to cutting into Taggart’s Bar, meeting an objective, seeing new ground.

But even then — it’s lonely down here.

Because I know that tomorrow I will meet with my wife; meet my new crew and we’ll cut into Taggart’s. 

I know this.

But not until late on the 26th will I see my boy, Carter, pushing a year old. 

Not until then will I pick him up in my arms, twirl him round and receive the broadcast of the most radiant smile and most genuine laugh.

And while I long for those friends that have departed, Rose and Steve, and I do long for the arrival of more, that loneliness only masquerades the deep, uninterrupted, most honest desire of all: to see Carter, whose namesake flows past me with a roar so loud that I cannot, even for one moment, forget about his own magic, beauty, charm.

It’s lonely down here, at Carter Creek without Carter.