It's all Zach’s fault. He returned from work late and tired, took the wrong climbing shoes, and drove to the Bugaboos deep in the Canadian mountains. The climbing shoes fell apart on the first route he did and it was clear that that was it. He had no other choice but to return back to the valley and drive eight hours to the nearest shop.
But at the trailhead, he bumped into us. We started chatting and he told us what to pack, where to sleep, etc. Then he went on to recount his climbing shoes story and just as he was about to drive off, Miha ran after him to see what model and size climbing shoes he used. Just five minutes later Zach was the happy owner of new climbingshoessince Miha had brought along a spare pair exactly the same model and size as Zach’s, which was practically brand new. As he hiked back up with us with a half-empty pack, he couldn’t believe his luck. I started to fall behind and after twenty minutes Zach finally convinced me to let him carry my heavy pack for half an hour. I still couldn’t keep up with the boys’ pace, even though I didn’t have to carry the heavy rucksack, and Zach had it for at least two hours and carried it almost all the way to the hut. I was a bit angry, but mainly I was grateful. Of course, Miha didn’t believe me and was certain that it was me who convinced Zach to carry my pack. 🙂
At the hut, we exchanged addresses and promised to keep in touch. We went our separate ways and for a couple of years, Zach was gone from our lives, apart from a few nice e-mails.
A couple of years later Miha and I went on a road trip across America. We didn’t plan to visit Lake Tahoe, where Zach lived, but eventually decided to stop by after much persistence on his part. Why not, we thought; we’ll stop by for a glass of wine and maybe a dinner, nothing more.
We met in front of the hotel where he worked as the head of the valets and was on a night shift. He gave us his address, explaining that the house wasn’t locked, the dog was nice and didn’t bite, and that we could sleep on the couch until he came back in the morning. We were too tired to argue, although we had our doubts about the dog. We found the house, which really was unlocked, and the dog was more than welcoming. This wasn’t some small dog, it was quite a substantial Border Collie and she just observed us curiously. We settled onto the couch, eager for some sleep. The dog was extremely friendly; the only problem was that whenever one of us had to go to the bathroom, we had to explain to her that the couch was too small for all three of us.
We ended up spending fourteen days at his place, climbing around Lake Tahoe and in High Sierra, making lunches, dinners and countless plans. We met some of his friends and started to feel completely at home. Tenaya, the Border Collie, felt the same way and we took her for walks and playedwith her, and each night she wanted to sleep with us on the couch.
One morning towards the end of our stay we found Zach making some sort of cream and putting it into little cups. He gave us one of the cups. "A farewell gift for friends," he said. “I make it for myself and people close to me; it’s great after climbing.” I liked it and asked for a recipe, but it was pretty vague: A bit of this, a bit more of that, maybe some of this and if you don’t have it, you can use something else... We parted as good friends and promised to see each other again since the bond between us was more than apparent.
We returned home and eventually ran out of Zach’s cream, deciding that we’d make our own. We tried and tried to make the best cream possible for ourselves and our friends. You know the rest – it was the start of something good.