The day was warm, not as warm as it had been recently. But the dampness of the recent rains wrapped the humidity about the body, pressing the air's warmth heavily upon the body. The trail ran through the forest, shade ever-present, but the sweat dripped down in torrents as though the walk was through the hot July sun.
Charlie Brown, the parson's faithful canine companion and Princess Penny his female friend, had slackened their pace also in deference to the heavy heat. Tongues flopped about as they continued the climb to the higher elevation. They were to be envied despite their seeming fatigued gait. At least, when they crossed the stream before the ascent began, each had plopped into the cool water of the mountain stream, just deep enough to almost cover their backs. They lapped to their heart's content as the water cooled their bodies. The parson had only the water contained in one of the trail bottles hanging from the straps on the back pack. Refreshed, on and up we trudged. They tended for the most part to move ahead of the parson, only pausing when the sixteen foot leashes tighten upon their body harnesses.
The hike took the better part of two hours. Finally, coming to the destination, a rock outcropping that provided a spectacular view of the valley below, the parson pulled the back pack off, removed a plastic container from inside, filled it with the water from one of the bottles and placed it in front of the dogs who had collapsed beside each other, tongues drooping as they stared at their companion. Both had a look that reflected consternation one would think they had energy to lap the water. Two other containers were removed from the back pack. Dried dog food was poured into each. Again both dogs stared in disbelief. The stares disappeared behind closing eyelids. Princess Penny sucked in a big breath and exhaled with force. Within a minute both were sleeping soundly.
The parson ate a lunch of trail mix and drank the contents of a water bottle. His back was against a small tree. A wind was blowing, refreshing the body and cooling the air. He dozed. He woke.
Down below their perch, as the parson quietly packed the back pack with the remains of his and the dog's meal and while the dogs continued sleeping, Charlie Brown now snoring softly, a movement caught the parson's eye. A couple had stepped out onto the overlook platform just off a well-used trail, one less strenuous than was the one the parson and his companions had covered. Both were dressed in jeans and t-shirts which, though they were too far away to be read, appeared to have the same logo. Both were in flip flops.
At first they leaned on the rail to peer out at the valley. Then they sat on a bench in the center of the platform. Suddenly, though the words could not be made out because of the distance, it became obvious because of the intensity of her shouting and his response that an argument had ensued. She jumped up, walked away about twenty feet, turned around to shout something else. He continued to stare and look at her. Again she turned marching away from the platform and back to the trail. He continued to sit.
About fifteen minutes later he stood and left. When he did the dogs were roused and the hike back out of the forest began. Back at the car, as the dogs jumped in, the parson noticed them both sitting on a picnic table, their feet on the bench, they were kissing.
Ah, it was truly a beautiful day.