June was up and awake but not before Nigel who already had coffee on the go. Between the luscious smelling aroma of fresh perking coffee, the added aroma of breakfast had her peeking out at him as all thoughts of sleep fled. Rising from her sleeping bag, she smiled, “Good morning. Whatever your cooking smells heavenly.”
“There’s enough for two.”
Watching her pull herself from the sleeping bag and roll it up, Nigel couldn’t resist, “I thought the saying was ‘the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach’.”
“Don’t believe everything you hear,” June responded mirthfully.
They ate in companionable silence and were nearly finished eating when Nigel suggested, “Tell me more about your brother and his friend.”
June looked across at him, a question in her eyes. He knew she was wondering what his motive was but he remained silent, sipping coffee.
June filled him in on her their exploits, the hiking trips, their combined abilities, her brother’s love of photography, she left nothing out. Her detailed description left Nigel in little doubt that both were experienced climbers and hikers.
“Since they are both seasoned experienced at this, what do you suppose has happened? How would they get a message out? If they were in trouble or danger?”
“Believe me, I’ve given this a great deal of thought. It’s why I believe something more sinister than a fall or accident has happened. One of them would have made sure the injured party was well stocked with supplies blankets and gear while the other made their way out.”
“That seems likely considering their knowledge of hiking and I suspect protocol. Has anything similar happened before?”
“A couple years back, they were hiking with a team and a member of the team was injured and that’s exactly what they did. They would follow protocol to the letter to ensure the safety of every member of their party.”
The look on his face, in his eyes, assured her he believed her and as she rose, she pulled the notebook from her pocket and handed it to him. “I found this stuffed into a large knot hole in a tree late yesterday. I’ve read through it and the added notations aren’t in either of their handwriting which has me worried. Either someone else found it, took it, wrote in it either in their presence or afterward. I can’t make sense of the notations. Perhaps you can.”
He looked pleased and a little surprised at her open acceptance. “Thanks.” He took the book and began reading.