The sun scorched the hiker as he crossed Fontana Dam. It was late morning and, though it was only the middle of May, the heat and humidity was already unbearable. Sweat drenched the hiker's red bandanna wrapped around his head. His mid-weight boots plodded on the asphalt. Despite his discomfort, he stopped for a moment to snap off a couple of photos of the man-made lake and the surrounding mountains, the famed Smokey Mountains. Tucking the digital camera back into the pocket on his waist-strap, he pushed on across the dam and hurried into the cool shade of the trees.

The climb up to the first shelter in The Great Smokey Mountains National Park seemed interminable. Nine long miles he climbed, stopping often to catch his breath and sip from his two-liter reservoir. He had taken a longer break at a cascading stream to fill up his reservoir and rinse the sticky grime from his face, chest, arms, and legs. Other hikers passed him along the way, giving him words of encouragement. He envied their bodies, fit compared to his over-three-hundred-pound blob of wobbling flesh. Breathing hard, struggling with each step, dripping with sweat, heart pounding with threats of an early failure, the hiker persevered until he crashed down onto the wooden floor of the shelter.

'You made it! One step at a time, man!' A young man congratulated him with a pat on the back before dashing off into the woods with a roll of toilet paper and the shovel provided by the park.

More congratulations came from the other hikers. He nodded in gratitude, too exhausted to speak. He permitted himself only a few minutes to rest. Dusk would arrive soon. There were many things to do before he could crawl into his sleeping bag and pass out for the night.

Many days passed in similar fashion along the Appalachian Trail. The hiker climbed the curved walkway to the top of the observation tower on Clingman's Dome, the highest peak on the entire AT, and sat on the rocky outcropping fondly named Charlie's Bunion. He hiked in wonder through a corridor of ice-covered trees and bushes on the ridge of the Smokies. He passed a day in the help-yourself hostel for hikers, Standing Bear Farm, where another hiker he met at the hostel gave him the trail name Standing Bear. 'It fits you. You're big, hairy, and you're still standing,' the other hiker explained. 'Yeah, I'm still standing,' the hiker replied, accepting the name.

Onward through North Carolina and Tennessee he continued, still standing after many others quit and returned to the comfort of their homes. In Damascus, VA, he celebrated with a huge dinner and rounds of beer with the hikers staying at the hostel operated by the local outfitter. Though he had never had the chance to really get to know any of his fellow hikers, not being able to do the miles to keep up them, he felt an instant camaraderie with most of the hikers he encountered. He knew exactly what they were going through, and they likewise knew what he was going through.

'463 miles and 54 pounds down!' Standing Bear proclaimed. His companions cheered raucously and chugged their beers.

'1710 miles to Katahdin!' added another hiker.

Standing Bear's journey carried him through the blooming rhododendrons and rocky formations of the Grayson Highlands, where wild ponies crowded him and ate from his open palm, over the repetitive ups-and-downs of central Virginia, up the many false peaks and down the treacherous crags of Dragon's Tooth, and to the marvelous views of the Shendandoah Valley on McAfee's Knob and the storied, rocky walls of Tinker Cliffs. Fewer hikers passed him now so late in the hiking season. He was mainly on his own except for the occasional short-distance hikers and gaggles of youths. Averaging a steady fourteen to sixteen miles per day whereas his fellow thru-hikers were now doing more than twenty miles per day, he did not expect to catch up with the hikers who had passed him by.

So he was surprised when he did catch up with another thru-hiker twenty miles before Waynesboro, VA.

'Hey, Standing Bear!' He was greeted at the shelter by an emaciated man in a blue shirt and tan shorts, all polyester, with wild brown hair all over his face and head.

'Hey. I'm sorry, but I don't recognize you.' The two hikers bumped their fists in greeting, a custom that developed after several incidences of giardiasis.

'Don't worry. I look much different now than back in Damascus. We stayed at the hostel and had dinner together. It seemed like ages ago. I'm Raging Wind.' Close up, Standing Bear could see the man's smooth skin, darkened by the sun, and clear blue eyes. His bony frame and bushy face made him appear older.

'Raging Wind?'

'Yup! I run the trail like a raging wind, I've been told. I know! A lot of people think it's because I'm flatulent, but I'm not. I just hike really fast. At least, I used to until I sprained my ankle five days ago. Fucking rocks!'

'I'm sorry to hear that. It's a wonder you're still hiking. Shouldn't you compress your ankle at least?'

'I should, but I don't have a bandage or a brace. Thing about going ultra-light is that you have to sacrifice a lot of useful things. I've been using my bandanna and soaking the ankle in the streams. Plus, a lot of vitamin I. God bless whoever came up with ibuprofen!'

'Here, you can use my bandage. I've carried it since Springer and haven't used it even once.' Standing Bear leaned his hiking poles against the shelter wall, sat down next to Raging Wind, and unstrapped himself from his backpack. He pulled out a first-aid kit from a side pocket and handed over the roll of bandage. 'Do you need help putting it on?'

'Thanks, man. I can manage. You know, it's good to have another thru-hiker around. I've been alone the last couple of days.'

'Me too. Well, I ran into the ridgerunner.'

'Oh, yeah. Did you get an official welcome? 'Welcome to the Tye River Section of the Appalachian Trail!' She scared the shit out of me. I came around a bend and suddenly this little old lady was shouting at me.'

'I got the official welcome, plus tidbits about a special flower. I can't remember the name of the flower, but I took a photo of it.'

They shared a comfortable moment of silence. Standing Bear retrieved his bag of mixed, salted nuts and munched as Raging Wind rolled the bandage around his swollen ankle. He sighed contentedly. This comfortable silence shared with another human soul was something he missed very much. It was far too rare for his liking. Why is it that people can't be comfortable in silence? he asked himself.

'How does that look?' Raging Wind broke the silence.

'Looks good. It's not too tight?'

'Doesn't feel too tight.'

'Good. I should filter water and rinse off a bit. Do you want me to fill your platypus bladder?'

'Do you mind?'

'Not at all.' Standing Bear pulled out his reservoir and filter and grabbed Raging Wind's. He didn't notice Raging Wind looking on as he stumped off to the spring behind the shelter.

'Fucking huge!' Raging Wind subvocalized. Standing Bear had lost much of the flabbiness that Raging Wind remembered from Damascus. The man's trail name fit him more and more. Standing well over six feet tall and heavy set with a pelt of black hair on his hardened limbs, the man truly looked like a standing bear. Even the short, black hairs of his head and face, from a recent trim obviously, reinforced his bearish mien.

They chatted as they prepared and ate their dinners.

'Where are you from, Standing Bear?'

'Western Mass. You?'

'Manassas, west of DC. My parents will pick me up in Waynesboro on Saturday. I'll need to get off the trail for a while. Hopefully, not too long.'

'Yeah, I hope it's not too bad. I can't imagine hiking with a sprained ankle. Hey, where are you staying at in Waynesboro? Today's Wednesday, so we'll end up in town on Friday.'

'I haven't decided yet. I could stay an extra day at the shelter five miles before Waynesboro or camp in the YMCA's yard.'

'I plan to rent a room at the Quality Inn. It'll likely have two double beds. You're welcome to share the room with me. It'll do your ankle good to elevate and ice it.'

'Thanks, Standing Bear. I appreciate it, but at this point I can't even afford the usual $10 fee for a second person.'

Standing Bear took note of the young man's reduced physique. The only hiker he could recall at that dinner in Damascus who fit Raging Wind's height, color, and voice was slim but buff. Hikers were bound to lose weight on the trail, but the weight loss usually plateaued after a couple of months. Standing Bear was still losing weight after three months what with all the excess fat he was still carrying. Raging Wind had nothing more to lose.

'Hey, when did you start on Springer?' he asked the young man.

'Two months ago. May 12th.'

'I hate to say it, Raging Wind, but you need to get off the trail. You've lost too much weight and with your ankle...well, it's a bad combo. A week or two of healing and bulking up, and then back on the trail. If you're planning to complete the thru-hike, you may have to flip-flop to Katahdin and go southbound. Once I get home to Mass, I'll probably do the same.'

'Yeah, I know. You're right. I've been thinking along the same line.' Raging Wind's hushed voice was tinged with resignation.

'And I insist you stay with me in Waynesboro. I'll cover the extra fee.'

'Thanks. I really appreciate it.'

They sat together for a while longer, cleaning up their titanium pots and spoons and speaking in sporadic bursts. When dusk arrived, Standing Bear hunted for a tent site big enough for his three-person tent. Two-person tents lacked the floor space for his bulk and large backpack. He considered just sleeping in the shelter with Raging Wind, but he had discovered he slept more soundly in the privacy and protection of his tent. Being trail-fit now, he had more than enough energy to deal with setting up and breaking down a tent. Once the bright orange rainfly was staked down, creating a dome, Standing Bear threw in his pack and blew up his sleeping pad. He brushed his teeth and hung up his food-bag on a thick branch at least twelve feet from the ground and four feet from a tree trunk with a thin nylon rope. He felt more at ease having the company of another thru-hiker; he felt less alone.

A white truck stopped to give them a ride into town on Friday afternoon. They sat in the empty truck-bed and grinned as the strong wind cooled them down. The Quality Inn was north of the center of town and across the road from a strip mall. Standing Bear showered first, emerging from the steamy bathroom with only a towel around his waist and split down the side of his thigh. There were still some glistening beads of water on the dark hairs of his broad torso. His upper body wasn't buff yet, but the folds of flab were entirely gone. His lower body, on the other hand, were hard and massive. His thick thighs and round glutes and calves were tough as stone. He sat down on one of the two double beds, spreading his legs apart, and turned on the TV. Walking by to take his shower, Raging Wind stole a glance between those hairy legs and saw a round pink scrotum partially exposed beneath the towel. Yum, he thought to himself.

'I'm going to go get a trim at the barber shop across the street while you shower and then walk over to Ming's for Chinese buffet. Do you want to join me for an early dinner? My treat.'

'Have you met a thru-hiker who passes up free food?'


'Neither have I. Thirty minutes?'


Ming's was unusually fancy and good for a buffet. The hostess asked them if they wanted their own room. 'I bet you get a lot of stinky hikers here,' Raging Wind commented to the waitress. She only smiled back and guided them to a rear party-room. After three fully loaded plates of various appetizers and entrees, two fully loaded plates of desserts and fruits, and a small cup of vanilla or chocolate ice cream, the two hikers were at last mostly content. They hobbled back to the motel, their legs stiff and sore from sitting for so long. The rubber tip of Raging Wind's hiking pole thudded softly on the cement.

It was an uncomfortable night for Raging Wind. Standing Bear had no hesitation about stripping down to his boxer briefs and watching TV while sitting on his bed. The gray polyester fabric cupped his genitals into a round bulge between his legs. His squarish face with well-groomed beard and mustache was relaxed and handsome. The young man noticed a touch of gray hair around the ears. Feigning sleepiness, Raging Wind hid his raging erection beneath the blanket. For once in his life, he was glad the air conditioner was set on high. He slept fitfully, stroking himself quietly. In the middle of the night, he got up to relief himself in the bathroom while Standing Bear slept covered only with the bed-sheets, one leg exposed.

His parents arrived a little after ten in the morning. They were kind enough to give Standing Bear a ride back to the trail, where he and Raging Wind said their farewells and expressed their mutual hopes of running into each other again. 'Take care of that ankle,' Standing Bear called out as he headed for the southern entrance to the Shenandoah National Park. 'I will. Happy trails!' Raging Wind replied, gazing at the large man's ass and calves.

The Shenandoah National Park was bit of a disappointment for Standing Bear. He had expected to see plenty of vistas and wildlife. Though he encountered plenty of black bears and deers, some huffing right along side his tent, the vistas were few and often far off the trail. The water sources were abysmal, nothing more than shallow and murky puddles. The dry heat was a curse for hikers like him. He stopped at every wayside restaurant, campground, and lodge to grab a quick meal, quench his thirst with free refills of soda, cool down with blackberry milkshakes, and sometimes to shower and do laundry. Beyond the park, he endured the dreaded Roller Coaster, ten rocky ascents and descents in 13.5 miles, and later arrived at the quaint, historic town of Harpers Ferry, WV. The town nestled between the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, a bucolic tourist trap. The amenities for hikers were few though despite being home to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The restaurants were over-priced and their hours accommodated the throngs of tourists who arrived mid-morning and vanished by mid-afternoon. He visited the ATC headquarters, got his photo taken for their album, and caught the local bus to a grocery store to restock. He pushed on afterward instead of staying the night.

He hiked through Maryland uneventfully and arrived at the trail's mid-point in Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA. He devoured a half-gallon of chocolate ice cream in one seating to celebrate, joining the ranks of the few hikers who succeeded in this daunting task. His boots got eaten up by the small, jagged stones that comprised the trail through much of Pennsylvania, where it is said that boots go to die. Standing Bear took a zero-day, a day of zero miles, in Delaware Water Gap, PA, to break in the new boots he purchased at the local outfitter. At the hostel run by the Presbyterian church, he frowned as he tallied up the miles to Mount Greylock in northwestern Massachusetts. It was already mid-August. He would have to flip-flop to Katahdin now if he wanted to get through Maine and New Hampshire, the most difficult sections of the AT, in good weather. The thought of running into other thru-hikers who were nearing the end of their journey excited him and sealed his decision.

Several bus rides, an Amtrak from Boston to Bangor, ME, and then another long bus ride brought him to the little town of Millinocket, ME. The local hostel shuttled hikers to and from Baxter State Park. Four miles of vertical ascent, of which one mile was a scramble over large boulders, and Standing Bear was on the top of Katahdin, posing at the sign with a group of seven triumphant thru-hikers. The view from the peak was simply breathtaking, large mountains with bald faces and flat green land pocked with blue lakes. Later at the hostel, the seven hikers fell silent, saddened that their long journey had come to an end and friends would disperse back to the 'real' world. Standing Bear stood apart from them, his journey not completed and no solid friendship to miss.

The hundred-mile wilderness, which wasn't hundred miles long nor really a wilderness, was made difficult by a rocky terrain snaked through with roots and littered with moose droppings. But the bountiful lakes, ponds, and streams provided ample opportunity for an unscheduled swim. He took his time, careful with his footing and lingering at water sources for a moose sighting. He saw the furry horns of a young male bull while soaking his aching feet at Cloud Pond, his orange tent just a few feet away. There were other thru-hikers at the shelter a ways up, but he didn't relish their company as he had hoped. They were loud, crude, and arrogant in their sense of entitlement. What happened to the humble and tolerant hikers, commiserating in their shared ordeal and yet feeling utterly alive? He preferred his quiet solitude.

The sky darkened quickly with the onrush of storm clouds. The wind picked up and thunderclaps echoed in the depression which formed the bed of the pond. Standing Bear rushed to a tree far from the pond and urinated. He dived into the shelter of his tent, stripping off his shirt and shorts as the heat built up beneath the rainfly. The pitter-patter of rain against his tent turned into a deafening hammering, the wind howling and crashing into the taut fabric. He read his Thru-Hikers' Companion with a headlamp to kill the time; it was too early for sleep.

'Fucking rain!' he heard someone yell. 'Holy shit! I can't believe this. Is that you Standing Bear? Who else would have an orange three-person tent!'

'Raging Wind? Is that you out there?' he roared to be heard above the rain and the wind.

'None other, buddy! Do you mind if I hammock next to your tent? Not many choices here.'

'Don't be silly! You can't set up a hammock in this. Come inside!'

'I'm fine! I can manage. Thanks though.'

'Come inside right now!' Standing Bear commanded with a bellow.

'Alright, alright.'

The rainfly zipped open and a little man covered in dark blue rain gear hunched his way into the vestibule. He held his backpack, larger than the one he had used back in Virginia, on a raised knee to remove the dripping raincover and handed over the pack to Standing Bear through the unzipped mesh of the tent. His rain jacket and cover he tied to a short string dangling from the inner seam of the rainfly. Raging Wind peeled down his rain pants and sat his tush inside the tent to remove his soaked trailrunners and the pants, which he tied to another string. He wore the same blue shirt and tan shorts. Once inside the tent, he turned to Standing Bear and said, 'Thanks, man. I really didn't want to set up my hammock. It's nasty out there.'

'No problem. It's good to see you...and looking healthy.'

Raging Wind's cheeks were full now and his limbs robust. His head was buzzed down to the scalp and his facial hair was just a stubble. His blue eyes were bright against his lightly tanned face. 'Feel good, too. I took four weeks off. My ankle took a while to heal and my parents wouldn't let me go until they were satisfied with the weight I put back on. And to top it all, they're financing my hike now. They're worried I'll die of starvation or something.'

He stared at Standing Bear's buff physique. There was a noticeable firmness to his chest and abs, though they weren't bulging with muscles. The gray bulge between his legs seems larger on his slimmer body. Raging Wind turned away quickly, realizing he was staring. 'Maybe this wasn't a good idea. I'll set up my hammock when the rain dies down.'

'What's the matter? Nothing wrong with two guys sharing a tent. Besides, I think it'll rain through the night.'

'Haven't you realized I'm gay?' Raging Wind blurted in exasperation. 'How blatantly do I need to gawk?'

'Well, no, I didn't notice. Does it matter whether a man is homosexual or heterosexual? And why would you gawk at my fat body?'

Raging Wind turned back, gawking now in disbelief. 'Haven't you looked at yourself recently, man? You're not fat anymore. You're a fucking hunk! And yes, a man's sexual orientation does matter especially when he's sharing a tent with a hunk wearing nothing but boxer briefs!'

'You really think I'm a hunk? I've been fat my entire life. I guess it's hard for me to see myself in any other way. Look, I'll put my clothes on, ok? Will that make you feel better?'

The young man chuckled. 'Will that make me feel better? I find you sexually attractive and I've seen you pretty much in the nude, do you really think a pair of shorts and a shirt will make it easier for me? Thanks for everything, but I should go. I shouldn't have come inside in the first place. I looked forward to seeing you again and I was so excited when I saw your tent...I wasn't thinking when you invited me in. I'll see you in the morning.' He turned back to the mesh wall of the tent and reached out a hand to pull the zipper. A big hand held him back gently by a shoulder.

'Raging Wind, I can't let you set your hammock in this rain. Everything will get soaked in seconds. I'm sorry if I wasn't being considerate of your feelings. It's rare that someone would express attraction toward me, so I'm not used to thinking that my body might arouse sexual desire in anyone. Tell me, what can I do to make it easier for you?'

'You're always trying to help me, care for me. You keep doing that and I won't just find you attractive. I'll fall in love! That's a threat, by the way. You'll have your own personal stalker on the trail.'

'Only if it comes with special privileges.' Standing Bear coughed and blushed, shocked by his own words.

'Wow! I didn't expect that from you. The trail does have a way of eroding one's inhibitions. Alright, there's no point in turning back or brushing it under a rug. You want privileges, they're yours for the asking. Ask away!'

'I...oh, boy...I can't believe what I said. I'm sorry. That was so crude. I must've hung out with the other hikers too much. Please, let's just pretend I didn't say it.'

'But you did. Come on! You're a man, and a man has needs. Don't dangle a carrot before me and take it away!'

'This is extremely awkward. I'm usually well mannered. Please, spare me anymore embarrassment.' Standing Bear looked away, ashamed of himself, feeling uncomfortably exposed. He pulled up his sleeping bag to cover himself.

'Hey, don't be ashamed. There's nothing wrong with wanting a bit of pleasure, especially when it's mutually beneficial. Most men would jump at the chance to get a free handjob or blowjob.' Standing Bear groaned. 'Ok, ok! I'll drop it. I would've enjoyed it a lot myself, but I won't make you any more uncomfortable than you already are. The rain's letting up a bit. If I hurry, I could get the hammock up without getting it too wet. I really can't stay here.'

'Would you really have enjoyed it?' It was just a whisper.

'Yes, I would.'

'I...haven't been intimate with anyone in many years. I was so depressed after my divorce...I took comfort in food. I became so disgusted with myself and had to do something extreme. It never occurred to me that sex a factor in my life again.'

'You're an attractive man. I'm attracted to you. I want to give you pleasure, if you'll let me.'


'Ok? You'll let me?'

Standing Bear nodded. 'What do I do?'

'Nothing. Just lay back and enjoy.'

Standing Bear laid back, allowing Raging Wind to pull away his sleeping bag. The young man knelt over him, kissing and licking his nipple. His back arched involuntarily and his cock stirred. He covered his loins with his hands. Slender but strong fingers pulled at his wrist. He yielded and withdrew his hands, his back arching again when those fingers caressed his crotch. Moist lips and tongue traveled down his body, leaving a trail of wet hair that stuck to the young man's chin and cheeks.

'You're not salty at all. You must've gone for a swim,' Raging Wind commented before wrapping his lips around the bulging bulb through the polyester. The big man gasped and arched his back higher than before, his knees drawing up. The young man pulled the boxer briefs down and hooked the waistband beneath the smooth balls. The cock wasn't extraordinary in length but very thick. His tongue journeyed from the dripping tip to the fat base and around each nut. He smiled at the ursine man's moans. He sucked on the soft-fleshed knob, flicking the tip of his tongue between the lips of the meatus. Raging Wind moaned with the man he was pleasuring, enjoying the fullness and the taste in his mouth. He pulled back and announced, 'You'll really enjoy this!' His mouth became a vacuum sucking in the entire cock, lips and nose tickled by the bear's pubic hair, breathing in the scent of man sweat. He deep-throated Standing Bear, making him growl in pleasure. He squeezed the nuts as he sucked, feeling them retreat and the skin becoming dense and wrinkled. The older man's toes curled and uncurled, legs stretched fully, and his abdomen shook with his ragged breathing. The man clenched the sides of the sleeping pad. Salty precum dribbled from his cock.

For a few seconds, Standing Bear's legs tensed and shook and his head was raised up with bulging eyes and gaping mouth as he shot his semen into Raging Wind's demanding mouth. He could not breathe as the first volleys shot out. Only when the last bit of cum oozed thickly from his cock did he collapse back down with a sharp inhalation. He panted and moaned as the young man continue sucking on his cock. Laughter seized him. 'Stop! It tickles!' the bear growled without menace. The young man backed off and looked up at him with a smile.

'Well, did you enjoy it?'

'I did. Thank you. Did you?'

'Very much. You taste so good. I'd like to do it again in a few minutes if you're game.'

'Give me time, ok?'

'As much as you need.'

Raging Wind jerked himself as he sucked off Standing Bear the second time. He coated the older man's genitals with thick globs of semen and then continued to suck him off to another orgasm. The big man's feral growling aroused the young man, making him suck all the more aggressively. He watched the man's big toes curl as he sucked. It reminded him of the curled toes of little babies. It was adorable. The second load came out explosively, again taking the breath away from the man. Raging Wind moaned as he swallowed the creamy juice.

The two hikers fell into an easy rhythm on the trail, awake at dawn and on the trail by 8 AM after coffee and breakfast. They lunched whenever they found a comfortable spot. By 5 PM, they ended the day's hike and set up Standing Bear's big tent. They rinsed their bodies, filtered water, dined, cleaned up, brushed their teeth, hung up the food bags, and set up their sleeping pads and bags by 8 PM. If other hikers were around, they would spend a few minutes chatting. On most nights, around 9 PM, Raging Wind would go down on Standing Bear for his 'dessert' before the two fell asleep in their separate sleeping bags.

They carried this rhythm to Monson, ME, where they stayed the night at the famed Shaw's hostel and onward through several water crossings and difficult climbs. Together they hiked over the Bigelows and through the technically difficult Mahoosuc Notch, a gorge of massive boulders. Through fierce winds they climbed the peaks of the Presidential Range, grateful that they struggled only with wind. The leaves were turning now, bright yellows and oranges, with reds soon to follow. At Hanover, NH, they stopped to resupply and get a trim. They crossed over into Vermont through the town of Norwich and camped early, yards away from Happy Hill Shelter.

Raging Wind cuddled happily against Standing Bear, whose strong arm cradled him tenderly. The young man stroked the big man's cock as he nibbled on a nipple. Suddenly, he raised his head and asked, 'What's your real name?'

'Don. Donald Wright. What's yours?'

'Stephen Miller. Stephen not Steve.'

'Ok. What's up? Why the sudden interest in our real names?'

'Well, when I make a threat, I usually follow through. I've fallen in love with you, Don.'

The big man took a deep breath. 'Don, I don't expect you to love me the same way. I know you're straight. I accept it. But we have a good relationship, don't we?'

'Say that one more time, please.'

'What? That I don't expect you to love me back?'

'No. Before that.'

'That I'm in love with you?'

'Yes, say that again.'

'I love you, Don.'

The big, ursine man took a shuddering breath. His brown eyes watered and a tear trickled down the side of his face.

Stephen's eyes watered as well. He wiped the tear from Don's face. 'You deserve to be loved, Don. I know I'm not what you're looking for, but I can make you happy. I know I can.'

They gazed into each other's eyes in silence. Finally, Don broke the silence. 'I've never been more happier than the past weeks we've spent together. I wish I could desire you. I've tried, Stephen. I really have. Would it be fair to you to have a man who doesn't desire you?'

'Better that than not having you at all.'

Don drew the young man to his chest and held him for a long time. He was slim and smooth, fine toned and handsome. I could learn to love him and desire him, he thought to himself. But he couldn't fool himself. His eyes never wandered over Stephen's body, and his cock never stiffened at the mere sight of him. He enjoyed the oral service tremendously, but couldn't bring himself to consider reciprocating.

'You deserve more, Stephen. You're still young. Don't settle for less than what you deserve. I made that mistake and paid for it dearly.'

'You're right, Don. I won't settle for less than what I deserve.' Stephen raised himself to his elbow and faced Don. 'Shall we enjoy ourselves for now, while we're together?'

'Of course. I've learned not to pass up a blowjob from you.'

'Actually, I was thinking I could ride you.'

'Ride me? You mean anal? Don't we need a condom?'

Stephen winked and grabbed for his toiletries in a waterproof bag. He pulled out a condom, a small tub of Vaseline, and also a ziplock bag. 'I bought condoms in Hanover.'

'Are you sure about this?'

'I am.'

'Alright, then.'

Stephen rolled the condom onto Don's cock and squatted over the man's wide hips. He eased himself gently onto the cock. It had been months since he last had a cock in his ass and Don's was thick. He grimaced from the pain. He backed off and rubbed in more Vaseline into his hole, stretching it with his fingers. Bobbing on the cockhead facilitated the entry, his sphincter loosening up gradually. The wide head popped in and the men moaned in unison. It took more bobbing to get the entire cock in, which was wider at the base. 'Oh, fuck!' the young man cried out when he was filled and he could feel Don's pubic hair tickling his ass. His strong thighs rippled as he rode the cock, squatting over the man he loved. 'Does it feel good, Don?'

'It feels awesome!' Don exclaimed.

'Fuck me, Don!'

Don bent his legs and thrust upwards into Stephen, faster and faster. Stephen's anus was tighter around his cock than any pussy had been. It sucked at him, pulling him in. 'I can't last long,' Don moaned. 'You're so tight!'

'Me too, Don. I want to cum with you.' Don watched wide-eyed as Stephen jerked himself as Don thrust into him. Stephen's cock was longer than Don's but not as thick. The round head poked in and out of the moving foreskin, and clear liquid oozed from the slit.

Don thrust into Stephen one last time and exploded in the condom, his spasm shaking his cock inside Stephen's ass. The young man felt the spasm and shot his load, eyes clenched shut. The first shot was a thick clump that fell across Don's open mouth. The remainder fell on his chest. Reflexively, Don gulped and swallowed the semen. Stephen settled down and opened his eyes to see Don gulp with a streak of cum from his upper lip down to his chin.

'Oh, Don. I'm so sorry. I should have pointed down. Don't swallow. I'll wipe your face.' Stephen scrambled off stiffly and reached for his bandanna.


'Don't what? Hold still.'

'Don't wipe it with the bandanna.' Don licked his lips and gulped again. He looked over at Stephen. 'Do you like the taste of my cum, Stephen? Is it sweet like yours?'

'Yes, I do. And yes, your cum is sweet.'

'I've never tasted cum before. Yours landed in my mouth and I swallowed it by reflex. It was warm, creamy, and faintly sweet. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Oh, I better get this condom off.' Don got up onto his knees and gently pulled the condom off. He was surprised by how clean the condom was. He had expected it to be brown with shit. Don tied the condom and dropped it into the open ziplock held out by Stephen.

'We should clean you up, Don, before the cum dries on your hair.'

Don turned his brown eyes on Stephen and smiled. 'No, leave it. I like how it feels on me. I'll wash up in the brook later.'

They fucked a few more times through their hike across the colorful mountains of Vermont, no longer vibrant green except areas thick with evergreens. Don became more aggressive, once leading Stephen off the trail on Killington to fuck him over a boulder. In the tent, Don preferred Stephen to ride him and cum on his face and chest. Don never made a move to suck Stephen's cock or actively take his load in his mouth, but he enjoyed the cum that fell on his lips and in his mouth. They rested an extra day in Manchester Center, VT, at the Green Mountain Hostel, enjoying the bookstore, the local breakfast cafe and restaurants, and shopping for cold-weather gear at the outfitter, ignoring the many outlet stores. Soon they would leave Vermont and arrive at Don's hometown of North Adams, MA. Stephen was nervous about this eventuality. Would Don continue on or decide to stay? Either way, Don was intent on recuperating at home at least for a couple of days.

He owned a little cape with dormers on the edge of town with a good sized land, made private by a tall wooden fence. Thick curtains covered the windows. 'I'm a very private man. Well, I was. I didn't like to be seen,' Don explained as he guided Stephen into the house. They dropped their packs and removed their boots by the front door before Don gave Stephen a quick tour. Upstairs, Don stripped off his clothes, completely unselfconscious, and headed into the bathroom. 'Shower first!' he proclaimed jubilantly.

'Is there room for two?' Stephen asked.

'Yup! It's a shower and tub combo. Come on in when you're ready.'

Stephen lathered the big man's hard body, the soap foaming thickly on his hairy skin. He ran his hands along Don's hard buttocks, silky smooth with soap. 'Don't mean to offend or scare you, but I'd love to fuck this hard ass of yours.'

'Dream on, little man. That's the only way you'll get to fuck me.'

'I know, Don. I've been doing a lot of dreaming lately.'

Don turned around to face Stephen. The white foam made him look more like a polar bear than a black bear. 'Stephen, you sound unfulfilled. Don't waste your time on me when there are men out there who'd love to satisfy your every desire.'

'I'm not a child, Don. I'm 26 and I've been around. I know the kind of men who are out there. Maybe there is that mister perfect, but that's a dream too, isn't it? Don, I didn't mean to sound unfulfilled, but let's face it, not all of our desires will be fulfilled. That's the lot of every person. We take what we can and give what we can. I'm happy with you right now. I don't want anyone else.'

'You're wiser than I was at your age.' Don swept the young man in a soapy bear hug and released him. 'My life has been one of total lack of fulfillment until I started my hike. It's like I'm starting all over again at 39. I should be taking advise from you instead of giving it.'

'Well, I won't take advantage of you, Don. Let's finish washing up.'

They ordered out for two large pizzas and crashed on the thick cushions of the couch, watching the new Star Trek movie as they ate. Stephen leaned his head against Don's chest as he ate his last slice. He smiled when Don automatically wrapped an arm around him. The movie ended and they sat together in silence, each comfortable with the other. Neither felt the need to speak. Stephen started dozing off when Don muttered, 'I like this. Sitting together in silence.' Just as quickly he fell silent again. Stephen mumbled his agreement. The minutes passed and Stephen started dozing off again. Again, he was wakened by Don's words.

'Stephen, how do you feel when I fuck you?'

'I feel wonderful, Don. Having you inside me. I feel connected to you, not just physically but emotionally. We're one for those short minutes. I can feel your pulse through your cock and my own heartbeat falls in sync. It's magical.'

'You know, I kept telling you not to waste your time on me and to find someone you deserve, but I'm scared shitless that you would actually leave me. Even after all this time we've spent together, after all the love you've shown me, I still find it difficult to believe that someone actually loves me. Old habits are hard to let go of. The truth is I was afraid to love you. I thought you would tire of me eventually and leave. It would be less painful if I didn't love you. But sitting here together, I just realized how much I actually do love you. Maybe it's not quite the same way you love me, but it's still love, Stephen. I want to make you happy as you've made me happy.'

'Oh, Don. You sweet-talker! I'm already happy. You don't need to do anything to make me happy.' Stephen hugged Don, sighing contentedly.

'I do, Stephen. I want to satisfy you. Every desire you have that I have the means to satisfy, I want to at least try. Do you understand?'

'Oh, be quiet, you. No more silly talk. You already satisfy plenty of my desires. I am a content man.'

'I guess I have to be more explicit. I want you to fuck me! There I said it. I'm trying to give myself to you and you're not making it easy.'

'And I'm trying to tell you that you don't have to do this. I won't lie and say that I don't desire it, but I don't need it to be happy. I appreciate the offer, but I gratefully decline.'

Don growled and swept Stephen up. He kissed the young man full on the lips, panting as he rolled his tongue against Stephen's. His hands roamed the slim body, unable to stay still like an overly excited child. His cock hardened painfully in the hiking pants he had bought in Manchester Center. Part of his mind was shocked at the violence of his desires, which he had professed not to possess. But he had been lying to himself about this as well, he realized. He'd been holding back, fearing intimacy and heartbreak. He moaned as he kissed Stephen, yearning for that connection, that oneness of which Stephen spoke, with a hunger that has had years to grow. His hands struggled with Stephen's pants, trembling as they hunted for the young man's cock. Don exhaled into Stephen's open mouth as his hands fondled the long shaft. Stephen, meanwhile, was too overcome to act on his own. He gave himself over to Don.

Touching wasn't enough; it was external. It did not satisfy Don's desire for union with Stephen, to feel Stephen inside himself. The burly man yielded to his desire, exhilarated by his sense of fearlessness. His mind instantly associated this very moment, this triumphant and fearless exhilaration, to all the moments on the trail where he had to overcome fear, fatigue, and pain in order to persevere on his journey: the encounters with black snakes, rattlesnakes, and black bears on the path, the rocky mountainsides up which he had climbed by hand and feet, the rushing streams with slippery rocks he had waded, the rickety suspension bridges or sometimes a fallen tree he had crossed, the treacherous and narrow and angled ridges from which one could slip and fall, the nervous nights alone with the wildlife, and all those many mountains that nearly but ultimately failed to break his resolve. The trail taught him to overcome his fears and endure his pains. Don pushed his lover off and sat him down on the sofa. He slid down to his knees between Stephen's legs and took his lover's manhood into his mouth. Don moaned and sighed and cried joyful tears. Union, connection, and oneness were no longer mere abstractions to him; he was experiencing it. He felt his lover's pulse and heard his moans of pleasure and felt a satisfaction he hadn't experienced before.

This is better than fucking, Don thought to himself. He pleasured Stephen enthusiastically. The young man's moans, sighs, shudders, gasps, trembling limbs, and even grunts of discomfort or pain were Don's instructors, guiding him to hone his skills. The more pleasure he gave, the more pleasure he himself experienced. Stephen dug his fingers into Don's scalp, strongly but not painfully, and warned of his impending eruption. He tried to pull Don away from his cock, but the man's mouth sucked wildly. Stephen was helpless; his body refused to obey him. It tensed, and his semen was sucked out of him. He wanted to say so many things to express his love, but all he could manage was to cry out his lover's name, 'Don!'

They sat again in amiable silence. Stephen felt drained and out of breath. Don sucked gently on Stephen's partially softened cock. He expected the young man to make him stop, but the words or gestures never came. Happily, Don continued sucking, relishing the aftertaste of cum in his mouth. That warm, creamy juice had been delicious. He loved how it had filled his mouth and seemed to stick to his throat as he swallowed. But mostly, he loved that it was Stephen's. His lover was truly inside him now. And that thought reminded Don of how this had started and where he wanted it to lead. He released the cock and kissed the lightly haired testicles that had fed him. Don grinned at his breathless lover and said, 'No more arguments from you. You will fuck me! If you don't, I'll tie you down and ride you. Do you understand?'

'Oh, Don. You're fucking unbelievable! I solemnly promise to fuck you, my love, after I've regained the strength you sucked out of me. That was one amazing blowjob!'

'Alright. I'll hold you to your promise.'

'In the meantime, let me play with your ass.'

Don leapt to his feet and teasingly pushed down his pants inch by inch. His ass was smooth and milky white in sharp contrast to his suntanned and hairy back and legs. 'You have a beautiful bubble butt for a bear,' Stephen complimented. Don accepted the compliment with ease and delight. That fat and flabby man he had been months ago seemed like a stranger now. He had learned to see himself as being attractive thanks to Stephen. 'Bring it over here,' Stephen instructed, turning to sit with his back against the cushioned arm. Don kicked off the pants and knelt on the couch, hands on the other arm, upper body propped up and slightly angled out, face turned back to see what Stephen would do. His ass was raised and spread open. Don watched in disbelief as Stephen leaned his face toward the open ass with his tongue leading the way. He had never imagined that people actually did this. And then the tongue touched his anus, and he expelled the air in his lungs. The tongue rolled around his anus, lapped it from top to bottom, and dug into his hole. Shivers raced up his spine and down his limbs. It seemed as though he could only exhale. Only in those fleeting moments when Stephen pulled back his tongue, changed motions, or switched directions could he gasp in a quick breath.

Stephen stopped and hopped off the couch to grab his stash of condoms and a tub of Vaseline. He smeared the Vaseline around the anus before pressing a finger into the hole. 'I need to stretch you, Don. Otherwise, it'll hurt like shit.' He spent a few minutes working his fingers in, pushing them apart inside the sphincter. Don was moaning and dripping onto the couch. His head rocked back and forth. Stephen kissed the round, white buns as he worked. When he was satisfied that the virgin anus was properly stretched, he grabbed a condom and bit into the packaging to tear it open.

'Please don't, Stephen. I want to feel you inside me just the way you are. I don't want anything between us. We can trust each other, can't we?'

'I've been safe and clean. You?'

'You're the first person I've had sex with in many years. I think I'm safe and clean too.'

Stephen tossed down the condom with a grin and stood up, pulling Don's hips off the couch and pushing the coffee table away with his heel. Don planted his feet on the floor and bent his legs to lower his ass to Stephen's level, his back parallel to the floor. Don was panting long before Stephen began pressing his cock into his stretched hole. He cried out in pain when the round head popped in past the sphincter. He growled, determined to endure the pain. Stephen kept still, gently rubbing his hands up and down Don's obliques, hips and thighs. The pain subsided in just a few seconds. Don felt the hard cock burrowing into his ass, penetrating deeper into his inner sanctum. 'Deeper! I want you deeper inside me!' he growled in a husky voice. Stephen kept up the gradual entry, knowing the man wasn't ready for a hard push despite his lustful pleading. At last, the cock was fully in. Their balls touched and Stephen's narrow hips pressed firmly into the wider ass. Don let out a shaky 'oohhh!' and his toes lifted from the floor and curled in. 'Oh, Stephen! That feels incredible. I can feel you throbbing inside me.'

'It's fucking awesome for me too, Don. You thought I was tight! Let's stay still for a few seconds and really enjoy this. Man! You're such a sexy bear.'

The bear waited patiently, enjoying the sense of fullness and connection but lusting to be taken by Stephen, to be made his. The seconds ticked away, but the young man stood still. Impatient now, Don began flexing his anal muscles and then slowly riding the cock. His head dropped to the arm of the couch and his eyes fluttered. 'Oh, yeah! Ride my dick, my sexy bear! Show me how much you want it!' There was no need to hold back now. Don rode hard, pulling forward till the round head popped out and then pushing back to feel the whole cock, held in position by Stephen's hand, ram back into him. The resonant, guttural sounds from Don grew louder. 'That's my wild bear! Ride it! I like hearing you growl! You're such a beast!' Stephen's words spurred him on and made him moan. The vestiges of his well-mannered civility fell away, and Don truly felt as though he was a feral animal, a giant untamed bear, possessed by an all-consuming sexual passion. He let out a long growl, similar to a wolf's howl but deeper, and rode Stephen's cock so hard that their balls smashed together, sending waves of dull pain to intensify their pleasure. Stephen needed to thrust forward to meet Don's backward push in order to keep his balance or be completely knocked off his feet. He slapped the milky white buns and watched the ripples from the impact of his hands and hips collide. Don's growl grew to a roar with each slap. 'You like that? Here's another! Oh, fuck! You're gonna make me cum soon, you fucking hunk of a bear. Let's hear that bear roar again!' Stephen slapped the now pink ass, and Don obliged with a resounding roar.

Unexpectedly, Stephen hastily backed away and growled, 'Get your ass on the couch! Hang it over the edge!' The big bear was panting with loud, lusty breaths. He found Stephen's aggressiveness erotically stimulating. He hung his big ass over the edge of the seat, leaned back into the couch, and raised his legs far apart. Stephen dived between his thighs and ran him through with his cock. The young man dug his toes into the carpet and leaned down to kiss Don. 'Fuck! You've got me all worked up.' Stephen planted another kiss. 'Your ass is the best! I could fuck you again and again!' Another kiss. 'Can you take it, my bear? I'm gonna cum inside you and just keep on fucking. Tell me you can take it!' A long, passionate kiss.

'I can take it! Fuck me, Stephen. Make me yours!' Don growled back.

Stephen grabbed Don's bristled face and stared him in the eye. Their lips touched lightly. Their explosive breaths mingled and were sucked back in. Brown and blue eyes were locked together, the windows to their souls flung wide open to each other. Stephen's body trembled powerfully; Don wrapped him in his arms and legs and felt his own body tremble too. 'Cum inside me, Stephen. I'm ready for you. I'll cum with you.' Their bodies synchronized: pulses merged, breaths timed perfectly, two sets of eyes bulging wide, bodies trembling at the same frequency, muscles contracting in rhythm. They cried out together, eyes wider still, as they erupted in unison. Don felt Stephen's hard penile muscle contracting against his rectal walls, spewing hot cum. Stephen felt Don's fat, swinging cock slap against his abs as a fountain of cum hit his ribs.

The young man's thrusts never lost their momentum. Don's entire body squirmed beneath Stephen. 'Oh, god! So sensitive! How can you...Fuck!...Aren't you...'

Stephen kissed Don as he continued fucking. 'Very sensitive! Extremely!' He kissed his lover again. 'Not stopping, though!'

'I don't know...if I can...'

'You can! You will! You said so!' Stephen grunted and fucked even harder.

'Stephen!' Don screamed out the name as his eyes rolled up and his limbs flailed. He felt completely helpless, drowning in too much stimulation. The big bear, having lost control of his vocal cords, was mewling like a new-born cub. Later Don would describe the feeling as though his body was composed of a thousand anuses, all being simultaneously fucked by a thousand penises. At that moment, though, he was incapable of thought. He was helpless and he belonged to Stephen. He surrendered and drowned blissfully.

Stephen stared at the fluttering eyelids of his lover, seeing only patches of white between the lids, and fucked on, ignoring his own sensitivity. 'I love you, Don.' He was sweating in streams now, wetting the bear's black fur. His legs felt like rubber and his thighs burned, but that was a daily experience on the trail. Nothing he couldn't handle. He continued for several more minutes, grunting and grimacing with the effort. His cock grew rawer and more sensitive. Just a little longer, he told himself. Stephen could feel Don's sphincter and prostate contracting again. The man was close. A minute more and Don's body seized up, his sphincter almost crushing Stephen's cock. Don's convulsing orgasm caused Stephen to have his.

The two men slid down to the floor in a tangled heap, holding each other tightly. Their chests and abs were sticky wet, and cum dripped out from Don's loose and unplugged hole. Neither possessed the energy or coherence of thought to clean themselves. Presently they fell soundly asleep.

Accustomed to waking with the morning light, they slept long into the morning, the room still dark due to the curtains. Even in their waking, they were in sync. Their arms and legs brushed together and their lips sought each other before they opened their eyes.

'Good morning, my beautiful bear!'

'Good morning, destroyer of ass!' Don said with a kiss and a smile.

'How you do feel?'

'Wonderful and sore. It was a revelation.'

'Yeah, it was mind-blowingly awesome for me.'

'Same here.'

'Good. I'm glad you're not horrified looking back on it.'

'No, I'm horrified I didn't ask you to fuck me sooner. Honestly, it was the most amazing experience of my life. Thank you, Stephen.'

They kissed and tried to separate their bodies. 'Ouch!' they cried out in unison and together laughed hysterically. The dried semen had pulled on their skins and hair as they broke their embrace.

For three days they relaxed and made love in North Adams. To the surprise of his close-knit family -- even to Stephen's surprise, Don introduced Stephen as his lover and partner. His family had followed Don's journey on Facebook, studying every uploaded photo and reading every note. They had marveled at the beautiful vistas but even more so at Don's transformation. Though they enthused over his new physique, they weren't surprised by it. They had even known about Stephen through those same photos and notes, but he had always been referred to as a friend or hiking partner. They were surprised that Don had a male lover, but within moments they opened their arms and hearts to the new member of the family. Don's parents and older brother, Rob, made Stephen feel at home and expressed their joy in seeing Don happy at last.

The cold-weather gear they had purchased in Manchester Center, VT, arrived by UPS on their second day in town. They had their first real argument trying to determine how to distribute the extra weight. Don insisted on carrying more since he was bigger. Stephen stubbornly refused to carry less than Don. In the end, Don won the argument only when Stephen had trouble trying to walk around the house with a pack carrying an equal share of the weight. However, it led to a pleasurable reconciliation on Don's queen-sized bed.

'We should fight more often and make up afterward,' Stephen teased.

'I prefer to skip the fighting and go directly to making up,' Don shot back.

'Right on. I like the way you think.'

It was mid-October when they hoisted their packs back on the trailhead. They had over 700 miles to go to complete their journey. Don only needed to hike 300 miles more back to Delaware Water Gap, but he couldn't stomach the idea of being apart from Stephen. He would continue with Stephen all the way to Waynesboro, VA. The weather was pleasant overall during the day, but freezing cold at night. They bundled together in their new two-person sleeping bag, making out and sucking each other in a 69 more often than fucking, which they reserved as a daytime activity when water was near at hand.

Massachusetts and Connecticut flew by quickly and easily. The only difficulty they encountered was the carpet of leaves that hid the trail. But both men knew the trail intimately and were able to sense instantly if they strayed. A quick look around was all they required to find the familiar white blazes on the tree trunks. New York, beyond the pretty Hudson River valley, gave them more trouble, the rocky mountains made slick by leaves and loose dirt. Don had some difficulty getting through the narrow corridor of the Lemon Squeezer due to his large size but managed with a few scrapes. They sped up through New Jersey, not wanting to chance an encounter with a hungry bear. Metal bear boxes were provided for hikers and warnings were posted on the shelters. It took them exactly two weeks to hike the 300 miles to Delaware Water Gap, one day ahead of schedule. They rented a motel room and celebrated the completion of Don's thru-hike with a long fuck session that left the big man's ass aching for days after. He was happy.

The November rains came often, turning the rocky Pennsylvania trail into a river. The cold wind and rain penetrated through their rain gear and their boots were soaked. They were miserable until they laid together in each other's arms. Their shared misery heightened their shared joy. Warmed and dried, the men sat up naked massaging each others aching and wrinkled feet, applying Vaseline to seal the skin against excess moisture. They were relieved to leave behind the rocky trails of Pennsylvania for the less punishing trails of Maryland.

On a drizzly but moderate afternoon, they began their ascent up the short rise to High Rock. Don led the way to give something for Stephen to look at besides the blanket of grayness.

'It's been too long since I fucked that bubble butt of yours,' Stephen called out.

Don stopped and turned. 'I agree!'

Stephen came along side and groped Don's ass. 'Damn it's hard!'

Don groped Stephen's crotch and said, 'So is this!'

'You better stop groping me or I'll take you right here and now!'

'Is that a threat?'

'You bet your ass it is.'

'Well, then.' Don squeezed Stephen's loins even harder.

They dropped their packs and each man tackled his lover's belt and zipper. Stephen turned the big man around and bent him forward against a tree. He yanked Don's pants down to his ankles and then pierced him raw. Doing it raw and out in the open, right on the trail, aroused them both. Stephen was fucking Don like a field mouse, frenzied. They didn't notice when a man came down the trail from the peak. They didn't notice until the man came right up to them, only a few feet away, and whipped out his cock, jerking it. He was an older man with gray hair. The man came after a few wanks, spraying his juice onto the ground. 'Thanks for the show, boys,' he said, and continued his descent. 'Wow!' Stephen muttered. His frenzy took on a whole new level, pounding Don's ass so hard the big man struggled not to bash his face into the tree. As was their custom, they came together. Don's semen stood out thick and white against the short green grass. Stephen pulled out and wiped his cock with his bandanna. Don pulled up his pants and strapped on his pack. He continued hiking up without saying a word.

'Don! Are you mad at me?'

'No, Stephen. How could I be mad at you? It's just...I really really enjoyed that. Out in the open and being watched. If I stick around watching you play with your cock, I'll probably make you fuck me again. That'll make the next two miles very uncomfortable. Hurry and catch up!'

Stephen zipped up, put on his pack, and hustled up. He was a hungry beast lured forward by Don's tasty ass. 'I can see a cum stain in the seat of your pants, Don.'

'I can feel it. Your cum's dripping out.'

'It's beautiful!'


The wet stain grew as Don hiked.

'Maybe you should take a dump!'

'No way I'm shitting out your cum. Don't worry about. You know I like the feel of your cum on my skin. Devils Racecourse Shelter has a spring nearby. We can heat up extra water I can use to clean up.'

These impromptu fucks on the trail became almost a daily occurrence. Few people were out on the trails. Though they were thrilled by the possibility of being seen fucking, they made sure to find spots that gave them the line-of-sight advantage. Feeling Stephen's juice drip out of his ass and stain his pants became a fetish for Don.

In Harpers Ferry, WV, the two men had their photo taken together at the ATC headquarters, signing it Standing Bear and Raging Wind. A stop at the Bear's Den hostel seemed appropriate for Stephen, where they shared a pizza and two pints of Ben & Jerry's and picked up some extra snack bars. Northern Virginia through the Shenandoah National Park seemed to breeze by. Daytime temperatures were warm enough to hike in a single layer of fleece and recent rain showers provided plenty of water. As they neared Waynesboro, the men smiled and held hands impulsively.

Don requested and got the same room at the Quality Inn. They showered together and walked down to Ming's Garden. This time the waitress didn't ask if they wanted a separate room. The used plates piled on and were whisked away by the wait staff. They lost count of the plates, shrugged, and kept on eating. Back at the motel, they made out for a long time, kissing and touching, rolling into a comfortable 69. This simultaneous fellatio had become a favorite of theirs, the perfect medium to give and receive pleasure and to perfect their synchronization. They fucked each other's ass with their fingers as they sucked. It was a long and casual night; they were in no hurry to reach climax. After two hours of gentle lovemaking in which they transitioned through several sexual acts and positions, edging each other, Don and Stephen embraced each other in another 69 and each man poured out his semen into his lover's mouth.

Stephen's parents had insisted on picking them up in Waynesboro but couldn't arrive till the weekend. Having a couple of days to kill, Don suggested they hike twenty miles to Maupin Field Shelter, spend the night there, and arranged to be picked up at a nearby road the following morning and brought back to the motel. At the shelter, Don made Stephen sit down with his right foot on the shelter floor while he filtered water and then heated it. Don stripped off Stephen's right boot and socks and rinsed the foot and ankle with the warm water.

'What are you doing, Don?'

'Call me Standing Bear.'

'Ok. What are you doing, Standing Bear?'

'You'll see, Raging Wind.' Don knelt on the dirt and kissed Stephen's ankle. His kisses grew more passionate, his tongue joining in this act of humility and love. He couldn't confine himself to the ankle though. He adored the entire foot, marveling at how relatively dainty and soft it was. Stephen always took great pains to care for his feet. Don sucked on the big toes and gazed adoringly at Stephen. Two streams of tears ran down the young man's face.

'Oh, Standing Bear, my beautiful bear. I remember. This is where we truly met, where you gave me your bandage.'

'This is where my love for you began, Raging Wind. I think even on that day I wanted to be with you, perhaps in a more companionable way. It just took a very long time for that seed to grow and flower. Raging Wind, Stephen Miller, would you marry me?'

'Donald Wright, my Standing Bear, yes, I will marry you!'



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