Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The First Night

We got off the train beside the river at midnight, three hours later than we had expected, and without the vestiges of day we had expected.

Erin and I had put some thought into headlamps. On the previous leg, the many hours of daylight meant we had never needed more than one headlamp. Too bad. We had a deck light, but holding it up alight to see ahead blinded as much as it lit the darkness.

The mosquitoes found us. Immersed in a swarm of blood suckers ready to drag us into hell, we flew through our duffel bags to get the face nets out and rain jackets on. They bit our hands and though our pants.

Through the ever growing swarm, we climbed down the hill under the bridge, to the water. The river flowed high. So high, the wonderful camp site we’d previously enjoyed and expected to find, lay entirely underwater.

Sweating under our jackets, we walked along the water, through thick underbrush and mosquito torture, looking for a spot to pitch our tent. I accidentally stepped in the river, soaking my shoe immediately.

No spot could be found: not on the hill, not beside the tracks. Well, maybe beside the tracks. We found a spot that might have been large enough to pitch the tent about a meter from the rail. The next train wasn’t scheduled to come, as far as we knew, until after we’d most likely wake up in the morning. We decided it was too risky.

We set out aimlessly into the woods. And found a spot on the mossy forest floor, with just enough space between the trees. We pitched the tent, tried to kill as many of the mosquitoes that came in with us, and collapsed asleep.

A train passed above at 3:00 am.

GPS coordinates: 48.270317, -76.798282

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