There Is A Trail Up In The Rocky Mountains That You Should Never Hike, And For Good Reason

I spent the entire first half of the day thinking about nothing but my lunch date with Ezra. I never saw a single person invited for lunch with him, so it was a pretty serious honor. He usually spent every lunch sitting on the back porch, chain smoking Winstons and somehow chewing at the same time despite likely being in his 80s. A lot of us would go look at him to marvel for a few moments, especially since he would do this no matter what the weather, just throwing on a Carhartt jacket in the Winter.

I have to admit I was pretty nervous. I braved a stiff, mountain wind when I walked out with my turkey sandwich to break bread with the old man. He greeted me with a smoky smile lined with Copenhagen.

“Doctor ranch hand, take a seat.”

I sat down next to Ezra on the edge of the porch, gazing out at a picturesque view of The Rockies. He tore at an old piece of fried chicken next to me before he cleared his throat and spoke up.

“I’m dying ranch hand.”

I didn’t respond, wasn’t sure if he was joking.

“Now that might not come as a surprise to you, considering I am an old bastard, but it does to me. Thought I was invincible since I had been doing all this bad shit all my life and living. But I went to the doctor for the first time since I was a little kid yesterday. My stomach was hurting like hell. Turns out I got some kind of cancer down there. Probably from swallowin so much chew. But regardless, aint got that long.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” I said, breathless.

“Now you’re probably wonderin why I’m telling you this, but there’s one last thing I want to do in this world and I think you might be the only one around here who isn’t too yellow to help me. Think you might like it.”


“There’s an old story about those hills up over there,” Ezra pointed off to the mountains. “About my family and I want to see if it is true before I die and see if I can help out my granddaughter with some money. But I need help from someone younger, kills me to say it, and I don’t know nobody else round here but maybe you who could do it.”


Ezra looked over his shoulder, spit out a thick spew of chew and lit up another Winston.

“I come from the ol Foley clan. You’ve probably seen stuff about them in the museum here. My great granddad, he started the first mine in this part of Colorado and it was the only mine before the McCord family showed up. Well you may have heard about it before, but the Foleys and McCords, they became The Rockies’ version of the Hatfields and McCoys. They fought like hell back then, old man McCord eventually killed my great grandaddy with a gun, but my grandpa, he eventually got that old bastard back. Poisoned him right up.”


About the author

Jack Follman

Jack has written professionally as a journalist, fiction writer, and ghost writer. For more information, visit his website.

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