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After the rain had passed, my little brother (Matas) and I decided to hike up Mount Marathon. About half a mile in, we met a cutie named Cody. He was wearing jeans, carried only a water bottle and felt undecided about continuing on due to the cloud coverage. But, as soon as Matas and I decided to push forward, he followed.

It felt so good to be able breathe up the climb, compared to the lack of oxygen in Colorado. Matas was testing my patience on the trek. Every 500’, he was playing the, “Are we there yet” game. I kept thinking to myself, This is confirmation not to have kids. We waited for Matas to catch up and I told Cody how much I loved his hair. He said he planned to cut it and I teasingly begged him not to. I told him it gave women something to grab onto. He smiled coyly and said he would give it a second thought.

Once we made it to the summit, Cody showed us the way down. If I were alone, I would have turned around because there was no way that what he showed me was a real trail. The faint line of “trail” went straight down the mountain. He glanced at me and said, “Alright, you ready?” With a smile, he jumped and let the weight of his body send him running down the mountain. I thought to myself absolutely not. The whole experience reminded me of my time in Durango when I went on a “casual day hike” recommended by the locals. I ended up experiencing a full blown panic attack trying to get down from the mountain.

Yet, through that, I have learned to view fear as excitement in disguise. So, I let myself go for it! I have never experienced anything like the feeling of my feet gliding down rocky mud. I laughed so much as we skipped and slid down the steep hill, falling numerous times. When the grade softened, we trekked through waterfalls which left our feet soaked. Then, we climbed down jagged cliffs as we held onto bushes and trees that barely kept their roots in place. At one point, I threw my backpack over the cliff because I was sure I would scrape my asshole on the rocks.

I loved how everytime I fell, Cody helped me back up. There was something so sexy about a man helping me even though I knew I didn’t need it. I loved the feeling of a man’s hands holding mine with masculine and feminine dynamics at play.

Covered in dirt and sweat—even some blood—we made it down to the road. I asked Cody if he wanted to meet up later and he said most definitely. He walked us back to my car, put his helmet on and got on his motorcycle.

I drove my brother home and he immediately hopped in bed and put on a movie. I reached out to Cody and told him I wanted a goodnight kiss before I left Alaska. We met up at the Branson Pavillion and sat on a bench that overlooked the lake. With snow covered mountains in the distance, I felt at home.

I leaned into him and we shared snippets about each other. He had only been in Alaska for a couple of weeks, but he seemed like a local by the way he made the places he visited home. He was also a traveler and had very similar experiences as me—unable to stay still in one spot even if he tried. People have been telling him to make videos and share his life adventures on social media and he goes, “Yeah, so many people tell me to make accounts because I travel and do all this crazy stuff. They tell me that I would have all these ‘followers’. I don’t want followers…” I felt that in my soul and I told him how inspiring and attractive it was that he didn’t have any social media. In my eyes, he was free. I was most inspired by those who did things for themselves… those who had stories to tell instead of posts to share. I leaned into him and kissed him. He smiled and said, “My first kiss in Alaska!” I said, “Likewise!” I grasped his hair and said, “Don’t you dare cut this.”

Came home to my dad making us brats. He told me to watch them while he took care of some stuff. I moved them around, flipped them over and accidentally burned them black. He came back panicked, “Why did you burn them?!” I said, “I don’t know, I tried my best.” In a sigh of disappointment he goes, “I know.”