The Mountain Man's Relativity Theory

My father and I were working our horses up the side of a shale ridge in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming when I first met Hilden Olsen. He was making his way east toward the Bruce Camp trailhead, down a coarse switchback laid down across the face of the mountain like long and sharp rolls of concertina wire. Hilden was pulling a hesitant old gray burro by a lead rope and sitting high atop a monstrous mule (no shit—just like Mad Jack and Number Seven from The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams). He was like a caricature, and I could smell his rank furs from ten feet away.


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