“I can’t believe you guys are going to bail on me.” Stephanie gripped the straps on her duffel bag and slung it over the side of the truck, where it thudded into the bed. “I thought we were all going together.”
Jennifer and Lucas exchanged a look. Will shook his head.
“Steph, we were all for hiking. But you want to go on the worst trail,” Will said. “It’s dangerous. People die up there.”
Stephanie put her hands on her hips and rolled her eyes. “No, it’s not. My Uncle Tim went up there every weekend when I was a kid. He would tell me all kinds of stories and not once did he say it was dangerous.”
Jennifer sighed. “Your uncle was probably leaving out the gruesome details. You just said you were a kid. He wouldn’t want to scare you.”
“Well, I’d call him and ask, but he passed away.” Her voice cracked, and she glanced up before tears could pool in the corners of her eyes. “Which is precisely why I want to go up there. This was supposed to be a memorial for him.”
Lucas put a hand on her arm and squeezed. “Let’s go on a different trail, then. Literally, any of the other ones would be better than Snake’s Pass. We’ll go on Coyote Way, or Moose Head Peak. Come on…”
“No!” Stephanie jerked her arm away. “I’m going on Snake’s Pass. I know my uncle would have picked that one for his memorial. If you’re not going to go with me, then I’ll go alone!”
Before anyone could make another protest, she climbed into the driver’s seat and slammed her door shut. She slammed on the pedal and flung dirt and rocks up as she sped away.
Jennifer covered her face with her hands. “What are we going to do? We can’t just let her go up there by herself.”
Lucas shrugged. “We can’t stop her either.”
“Let’s go tell the rangers. Maybe they’ll head her off.”