Cooler places

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As David and Mark entered the temple, their footsteps echoed lightly off of the bare rock walls. The several hundred finely-woven tapestries and carpets that must have covered them had disappeared long before. Remarkably, the rocks that made up the high ceiling were still in place and they offered protection from the Sun's heated rays. A cool draft of air met them and proffered even more refreshment after the hike.

"It's hard to imagine places like this aren't on the map," David said. "Back home when nothing is shown, it means there's nothing there."

"Welcome to South America."

"That's not entirely right."

Mark grunted, "Only when you're away from the cities. But even if you aren't, you may find something completely unexpected around the next corner."

"How many trips have you made down here already?" David knew this was his third, but was trying to elicit another story as they threaded their way through the dimly-lit stone structure. A lovely green glow was cast over everything by the sunlight's passage through the foliage that obscured the windows. It was the first long backpacking trip for either of them.

Mark was treating this temple like a museum, which for him meant moving quickly from room to room while scanning the walls. David felt as though he were simply along for the ride, but didn't mind since there would be time to walk through more slowly in the following two or three hours. Suddenly, and without answering David's question, Mark unclipped his backpack, dropped it on the floor and began scaling one of the walls.

David instinctively stepped back and peered up to see what the attraction was. It was a window. He then chuckled at the thought of how many people would rant and rave about a friend climbing a rock wall without saying a word. Especially when there wasn't either a snake on the floor or a safety harness tied up above. He loved being a guy that enjoyed the outdoors as much as hiking with a friend that he trusted.

In short order, Mark had made it to his destination which was about fifteen feet above the ground. He peered outside for a moment before freeing his bush knife and clearing the hole. "Nice view," he said just before climbing back down.

By this time, David had taken off his backpack also and was rehydrating. "Planning to sleep in here?"

"Possibly. I really wanted to take a good look at that hole in the floor over there."

"Some military guys would be really upset over that vague description."

Mark just looked at David for a moment and shook his head. "There's only one hole in the floor. If you didn't notice that, being more descriptive won't help much."

David grinned as he turned around to examine the opening.

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