Some stay behind to wait as
the lot of us leave behind bulky backpacks and walking sticks
to scramble through the strange dips and small curves of this cozy maze.
We search for red blazes and white arrows painted on the rock to navigate through several seemingly impassable barriers then
climb like militant spiders in a training drill through tight dark passageways lined with sharp, slippery granite. In and out of the blackness we trek. To address trees that grow out of rock and the blinding skies that blaze overhead.
Our leader is a seasoned 80-something-year-old veteran, who pledges to guide us through the Rock Rift trail by squeezing thirty-four hikers through its birth canal. We marvel at the labor, press on with diligence and break through the tangle with a sideways shimmy; green and gray granite to the right and the left of us, in the middle of the trail a tall, thick tree.

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