"I think your equilibrium is a little off," I told Steve as my sled’s engine rumbled to a stop. "We need to go left."
Steve wiped a layer of ice from his goggle lens. "If we go that way we’ll be too far south," he replied. "Our tracks coming in are north of here."
"That way is north. Besides, the mouth of that long finger canyon we crossed this morning is right up there past that group of spruce trees," I said, pointing over my windshield.
"You mean that deep canyon with the long right-hand sidehill?"
"No, you’re thinking of the ravine on the east side of the big knob," I assured him. "The finger canyon is the one that runs into the drainage."
"That’s not the mouth of that finger canyon. We crossed that canyon 20 minutes ago. Besides, the fog’s so thick you couldn’t tell from here anyways," Steve said with that I’ve ridden here 15 years more than you have
"No, that’s the right canyon. I’m pretty sure," I insisted.
"No it’s not."
"If it’s not, then we’re looking east, not west."
"Exactly," jolted Steve. "That’s what I’ve been saying."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, I’m sure."
"There’s no way," I said gesturing to my left. "I guarantee you we need to go this way."
"That way will take you to top of the cliffs. You can’t get anywhere from there."
"The cliffs are behind us," I said, now standing, waving my right arm behind me. "We have to go this way…"
"—No we don’t," Steve injected.
"…to get across that steep sidehill and up the ridge."
"What sidehill? The sidehill after the switchback?"
"Yeah," I said confidently.
"…Where you climb up to the top of the divide?" Steve asked while making climbing motions with his right hand.
"No, where you go around that saddle and drop south into the main drainage"
"Okay," Steve said. "I know which sidehill you’re talking about. But it’s not that way—it’s this way," he said, again pointing to his right. "That way takes you down hill. We need to go up."
"Well, yeah, it goes down a little to the basin. That’s where you start climbing." I was getting impatient.
"No, we’re too far south to be above the basin. That’s why I said you have to go this way, loop around the south, take the east side of the ravine up till you get to the sidehill." By now Steve was using both hands to map out the route in the air between us.
"Even if we were in the same mountain range of where you’re thinking, you couldn’t find your way through that low timber in this fog," I added.
"We’re already past that. We just spent the last 20 minutes getting through the thick spot. That’s why I’m telling you that we need to go this way," he replied.
"That timber we just went through was the big timber above the meadow," I said, both hands now up in the air. "We’re a whole canyon north of where you’re thinking. All we’ve gotta do is go this way, curl to the left and follow the ridge up. We’re like half a mile from the sidehill."
"If you’re sure."
"Then lead the way," Steve said sarcastically.
I fired up my sled and started off, pleased with my small victory. Just as I began curling left, I glanced over my shoulder.
Steve was heading right.