We descended the other side of the mountain. The trail is as handy as the one upon which we ascended.
Lyle and I are satisfied with the answers to the questions put to our new companion. In the main, Stan (for that is the name he goes by) was headed away from the destination because he was looking for us. He felt it best to secure what he was looking for by seeking our company first.
And he explains that his only motive is that we be hastened on our way. To that end he has informed us that all these small villages in sight have been abandoned, and advises that we go directly to the city on the plain.