Within a short
time, we hung, it seemed precariously, over a long, gravelly mountain ridge.
The pilot craned around looking for mountain goats, while Frank and I exchanged
nervous glances and judged the drop.
On either side of
us implacable-looking peaks and ridges stood, while underneath blue and green
lakes hung in saddles and rock-walled cirques. Occasionally the entire
groundscape shone amid delicate water meadows, and in a short time we had
landed and were taxiing toward our fishing camp. I thought of the trout under
our gliding pontoons. Perhaps a very large fish would misjudge the aircraft and
rise to it as to a dry fly.
We met Ejnar
Madsen, the camp's co-owner.
"How is the
fishing?" Frank inquired routinely.
poor," said Ejnar.
We put our
luggage down on the dock. It began to rain. There had been an Act of God and we
could not be philosophical about it. I asked what had happened. The biggest
summer rain in many years had raised the lake and turned the river almost black
Next day we
floated disconsolately down the slow, ineffably northern river in a 25-foot,
Indian-built spruce river boat. The rain poured off our foul-weather gear and
made puddles in our laps.
spells of silence we burst into absurd conversations:
cat crawls under the hood of the car. Next morning the neighbor starts the car.
The fan does a job on the cat."