Carlee slung a loaded backpack into the trunk of her family’s van the next morning. It landed with a bang as she slammed shut the trunk. Marlee rushed out of the Ramus’ large house, carefully positioning her sunglasses. She wasn’t exactly a morning person. Mrs. Ramus handed out breakfast bars as Mr. Ramus started the van and the family took off.
The van drove through the early morning streets of their hometown of Carson City, Nevada. Although Carson City was the capital of Nevada, it was one of the smallest capitals in the United States. Desert surrounded the city limits and large mountains stood in the far off distance.
Marlee remembered many of the mountains as they passed them. She remembered the dangerous climb the twins had made on Mt. Pensly where they ran out of water. In the far distance, a tall, thin mountain stood in the middle of the warm desert. There was no visible vegetation, just a mountain of jagged rock.
Carlee’s jaw dropped every time she saw that mountain. It looked mysterious, just waiting to be explored. Actually, only few mountaineers had dared to climb Mt. Lonely. It had earned this name because of the legend surrounding it. The legend spoke of a man who climbed Mt. Lonely long ago but lost his memory when he reached the top of the mountain and could not remember the way back home. Because of this, the rock mountain was named Mt. Lonely.
Carlee believed the legend but Marlee thought it was ridiculous, naming off various explanations as to why he would have been rescued. Mt. Lonely’s tale scared off many superstitious mountaineers. Some believed the man was still living there, trapped and waiting for another companion.
The Ramus’s van pulled to a stop at the foot of Mt. Lonely. The parking lot at the base of the mountain was empty, sand scattered across the pavement. Carlee jumped out of the van followed by Marlee. The heavy air smacked the twins in the face, it was starting to warm up already. Mr. Ramus handed the girls their backpacks. They snatched their ropes and pitons along with other important equipment.
“You girls remember what I said, don’t you? If there’s an unexpected storm or the winds get too high, come right back down and call us,” Mrs. Ramus said sternly.
“Remember to eat, drink and take lots of breaks. Very important,” Mr. Ramus added.
They gave their girls a farewell hug then drove off. Carlee and Marlee waved back, watching the van disappear into the distance, leaving them alone in the empty desert. Carlee let out a hard sigh and walked towards the mountain base. A tattered sign swung in the wind.
Marlee squinted her eyes and read aloud the words written on the wood plaque: