José led his party south over a gentle path that inclined slowly into the altitude of the mountains. He did this so as not to stress the two in his party that were not used to high altitudes and may suffer from them.
William was grouchy from being what he saw as being rebuffed by Sue. Surely his advances had been smooth and not unwanted. Yet, she, she had spurned him. Just who did she think she was? She would do no better than him on this trip that was for sure. Who was she going to settle for? Chuck? That gigolo? Showing off his body in that base way during the river bath and flirting with her so openly. Disgusting! He couldn’t even think of her being with that gutter trash. As he hiked on, he just got angrier and angrier. Finally it just had to come out.
“José! Why are you leading us on these gentle trails? Surely we are men enough to take the steep trails into the mountains.”, he admonished.
“Señor medico William, I am so sorry. But you are not accustomed to altitude and may become ill. That is why we are taking the milder route. Again, I apologize.”, replied José politely.
“I demand that we take a steeper trail!”
With that, José led them to the next steep trail and took it.
They kept their pace going up the steep hill and William’s breathing started to get a bit harder than it had been on the gently inclined trail.
* * *
Oscar led our group on a gentle trail heading north into the mountains. I was in the middle and Chuck was behind me. I was glad for the gentle climb since I was in great shape, I could run 10 or more miles easily, bike 40 or so, and swim two. But I was a lowlander and had never worked out at altitude.
It began to rain and I was glad for my Tilley hat and
Dr. Fairview on another expedition in her Tilley Hat
I just examined the beautiful cloud forest surroundings we were in as I walked. It was very peaceful. I could hear birds everywhere, but for the most part they were way up in the canopy. But I did see a scaled fruit eater and a blue gray tanager.
There were orchids, but they were all common types seen at the lower altitudes.
Towards late afternoon, I also saw a Violet-tailed Sylph feeding on the nectar of a fuchsia.
We began to look for a campsite and found one with a quickly flowing stream in it which was very lucky. We could both bathe in it and get fresh water.
Even better was that Oscar spotted a banana tree nearby and picked the ripe fruits off for dinner. He also decided to go downstream a bit and see if there were any little fish in our stream. He quickly netted a bunch of juicy looking minnows. Chuck made a fire on some stones and boiled the water for our rice. We fried the minnows and had rice with fried minnows and fresh bananas. Nothing ever tasted so good to me. We had made good progress today, and Chuck radioed in our GPS location to Pete at base camp. All had gone well there too.
Our stream wasn’t big enough to put our whole bodies into. It was more the size of a foot bath. I suggested that we put up our tent first. We planned on sharing one to combine our heat. The guys had the tent up in no time and we put all of our stuff in it including our three sleeping bags. I figured that we would want to warm up after our bath, as it was already in the 50’s (10-15 degrees Centigrade) this evening. It does get cool in the rain forest at night.
I grabbed my towel and headed for the stream. Not being one to stand on ceremony, I undressed completely and put my foot in. It wasn’t that cold. The water must have been heated by the sun all day. I stood in it and the water was up to my calves. I splashed myself and squatted in the water to get clean. Once done, I yelled “next”, and got out. I put my towel on. Chuck stood there looking frozen with his mouth agape. But Oscar was already naked and just got right into the water after me. He washed off and put his towel on. Chuck had slowly recovered from seeing me naked and he undressed and now was getting into the stream.
It was really fucking cold to have been wet in this dank weather. I asked Oscar if there was any coffee and he said that he would make some. I was shivering as I put my clothes back on. I rubbed my arms vigorously to try to get the blood moving again. When Oscar handed me the coffee, that really helped warm me up.
We were all tuckered out from hiking so we decided to get some sleep. We all crawled into our tent and our respective sleeping bags. I was in the middle so that if anything happened, the guys could protect me. I was so worn out that I fell asleep instantly.
I woke up shivering uncontrollably. I just could not stop. I was so cold that my teeth were chattering. I did not know what to do, so I woke up Oscar.
“Oscar. Oscar. Are you awake? Wake up. I am so cold. I don’t know what to do.” I whispered.
“Let me take a look.” He felt my head for fever, and then frowned. “You are not sick. Let me feel your hands. They are like ice, you must just be freezing! The only solution I can think of is that we put more bodies in the sleeping bag with you to prevent hypothermia.”
“I know. I was thinking that too. That is why I woke you and not Chuck. You know what I mean, right?”
Oscar kind of laughed and said “Yeah. I saw his reaction when he saw you naked. I thought he would turn to stone. It was so funny. Sorry, I meant no disrespect.”
“None taken.” Then I had a huge uncontrollable shiver where my teeth chattered too. “Fuck it! Wake him up.”
“Chuck. Chuck man, wake up.”, said Oscar calmly.
“What? What is happening?”, answered Chuck.
“Sue is freezing cold and we need to warm her up.”
“How are we going to do that?”
“We are going to join our sleeping bags with hers.”
Chuck’s look at Oscar was priceless. Then he looked at me and that was priceless too. I sighed deeply. I was so embarrassed. I just wanted to dig a hole and crawl in and die. But they got right to it and in no time we were cuddled in one large bag with me in the middle and both boys facing me. Chuck was trying very hard not to leer at me. But I could tell he was trying. It really was warmer with all of us in one bag, and I stopped shivering in just a few minutes.
“Gee I got to hand to you guys. This is really working. I am warmer and I have stopped shivering.”
Oscar said “I am so glad!” and smiled warmly.
Then, Chuck put his leg across my legs and I it became all too obvious that he had an erection. I already knew that Oscar had one, since he was too big to hide it, but I knew that it wasn’t for me so I really wasn’t bothered by it.
“Okay boys. Here is the sleeping arrangement. We will spoon. I will spoon Chuck, and Oscar will spoon me,”
“Why does Oscar get your back?”
“Because I don’t want to feel your erection poking me in my butt all night, Chuck.”
“Why doesn’t Oscar’s erection bother you?”
Oscar and I just looked at each other and laughed. I wasn’t going to answer Chuck and out Oscar.
Oscar said “Because it is not for her, my little naked bather.” Then he smiled hugely and winked at Chuck.
Chuck’s face dropped and his eyes opened wide. He rolled over immediately. I gave Oscar a little wink of conspiratorial glee as he took my back. I sighed deeply and went back to sleep. Snug as a bug in a rug.