Luckily it didn’t rain on me in the night. I awake to low clouds, some sprinkles. Have breakfast in bed – oatmeal with strawberries and blueberries.
I ride up the trail a ways, determined to give a go despite the ominous weather. When the trail gets too rough, I hang the food bag and continue on foot.
The trail climbs through stands of Balsam Fir, Yellow and Gray Birch. It’s rocky, a mass of sinewy roots at times, gentle, sheltered. About four miles in, a steady rain begins to fall.
At Calamity Pond I talk with Dave and Candy from Akron, Ohio. Rubber city, they say. The chiselers have mounted a serious attack on their food. They are fearless and relentless. They scurry around everywhere. One steals a candy bar from two inches behind my butt. I give chase and recover it.
I continue another mile to Colter Dam, which I cross. I sit in an unoccupied shelter, watching the rain. I write, eat lunch, smoke the last of my cigarettes. Rain comes down. I pull on my rain jacket and start the 6-mile hike back to the bike, surrounded by peaks I can’t see. On the way back I look at the way the water brings out new colors in leaves, bark, roots, and rocks.
When I reach the bike I’m at a loss for my next move. After standing around in the rain a while, I pitch the tent and make some dinner. Then I settle in and read the rest of the day away.
The swelling in my finger has gone down.