Self Publication Date: unspecified
They say the journey to Rose Point is so arduous that no matter who you are, the expedition knocks ten years off your life. They also say, though, that anyone who sees the sunset from that spot witnesses something so beautiful that they’ll live twenty years longer. This a story about four twentysomethings who get lost in the boundary waters, and find something very special in the process.
I consider myself a rational man. I was raised Catholic, but I don’t recall ever believing in God or Sanctification or The Afterlife. I’m pretty sure this is true: After a man dies, he is dead. It’s nothing forever, like sleep without dreams, and it sucks. Maybe this is hell, but if it is, it’s where everyone goes.
I have always believed in Fate though. I have no way to account for it, it’s just something that came packaged into my brain: Some things are supposed to happen: When you’re gonna get your first job, when your girl’s gonna break up with you, when and how you’re gonna die. Precious little can change this. Precious little, but not nothing either, because I’m pretty sure this is true too:
Way up north, where the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness meets the Canadian Quetico, There’s this portage, and this lake, and this trail up a mountain, so hellaciously difficult to cross that doing so knocks about ten years off of your life. Whenever you’re going to die, it gets shifted back. Thing is, when you get to the top of that rose-colored mountain and see the sun set through the timber, down to the last ray…that sight is so beautiful that it adds about twenty more years. Men who see that sight die later, and their lives are fuller as well. I’ve seen it. I’m pretty sure this is true.
I saw it because a man named Rodney “Bird-dog” Case wanted me to see it, back in the summer of ’07. Bird-Dog knew the old legends of the North, he figured seeing RosePoint would buy him a decade. So he pulled together some of his old camping buddies: Me and some guy named Gopher and Phoenix and Chip and Sierra. We’d all met Bird-Dog, most of us had never met each other. That was probably the worst summer of my life: I saw a guy die, up close. I got shot at by Militia-Men. I nearly got eaten by three types of animals. Just about froze. Just about got heat stroke. Just about starved. But I saw the Sunset from RosePoint. Here’s how it happened: