August 23rd 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
Val and Chris with the forgotten raincoats

We’d packed the night before, so as soon as we’d finished breakfast, the whole gang of us piled into the car again, tho’ this time I was stuck with the pack as well.  We dropped Chickie at church, then Steve took the rest of us to take a look at his office.  The place was certainly packed with plenty of expensive + complicated equipment, which Steve did his best to explain to us – I managed to understand some of it.  Then into the car, + Steve had to get some gas before dropping us off at the beginning of the trail.  However, we couldn’t find one open, so had to drive back down the valley.  While we were going that way already, we managed to persuade him to return home to pick up our forgotten raincoats, then return to town.  We picked up Chickie again – she was somewhat surprised to see us still there – then finally drove the 6 miles or so south of the city to where the road ends, and we were ready to start.

I’d forgotten to mention – for the first time, today was gloriously sunny + bright – God was certainly smiling down on us.  We planned to walk out to a place called Point Bishop, tho’ we weren’t sure how long it would take us.  The trail was quite narrow, + still very wet, but we both had borrowed rubber boots, so that caused no real problem.  After about an hour we arrived at a cove called Dupont – very nice – + already we were hungry, so that was where we decided to have lunch – a cheese sandwich, some bread + jam, chatted with an old guy who lived in Juneau but knew a good deal about Britain, for some time, then tried to find the path again – big problem.  Instead of re-tracing our steps, we thought it would be easy to make our way to it thro’ the woods.  We did, eventually, but it meant fighting thro’ thick undergrowth, full of a vicious plant called devil’s club, covered in prickles, stems + leaves too, fording streams, + struggling up steep banks, all with a heavy pack.  However, found it eventually, much to my relief, and continued onwards.

It was a beautiful day still, gorgeous sunlight shining + reflecting off the ocean.  However, our path was blocked by trees further on, which had fallen in bunches of 3 or so together.  They’d obviously been disturbed by the clearances just above us, a strip to let some pylons thro’.  They caused real obstacles, mainly, of course, because we had to manhandle the pack over, under, or round them.  However, we coped, and eventually the path led us down to a cabin at the edge of a beautiful cove.  The cabin was unlocked, and, tho’ rather musty-smelling, well-equipped, with a couple of plank beds, a chair, an old oil-can stove, various kitchen implements, even some food.  Also, as we soon discovered, some mice.  Ho hum.  It was only 4 or 5, sol Val took her book down to the beach and lay there for a while.  I lit a fire in the stove, but unfortunately the stove was rusty + leaked smoke, so the cabin was soon full, tho’ fortunately, only above a certain level.  If you sat down, you could survive.

When Val came in, we ate our dinner – a meat sandwich + half an apple, with some cocoa, + then after reading for a while (Val – “The Magus”, me, “Strange Meeting”, Susan Hill) bed.  I was very nervous of the mice, who seemed to display no similar diffidence with us.  We tried to shut the door, but the smoke choked us, so we had to leave it open for a while – then sleep (tho’ I kept a lump of wood next to me in case the mice got too bold.)

Steve worked  – apologies for the vagueness – as the IT manager for… someone or other.  Which means the equipment he showed us were computers.  Or, to be fair, what looked like a room full of large fridges, such being the state of computer technology at the time.  When now, presumably, the same power is in most people’s phone.  

Displayed our usual incompetence about sorting ourselves out and getting started with everything we needed, and our regular tendency to get lost.  Nor do I exactly cover myself in glory with my mousey fears; never been too great with animals, even small ones.  (People too, for that matter, of any size.)

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