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Two Jack Lake view | by Trail Image
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Two Jack Lake view

We look around only a few minutes before Brenna wants to turn back through the woods. The breaks between showers are shrinking as evening wears on. It’s almost steady rain now.


Jeremy and Joel are holed up under the tarp when we get back. There’s just enough room for the four of us underneath to sit and enjoy hot meals produced from our JetBoils while peals of thunder mark each minute.


When we’re done eating, Jeremy endures a final drenching to re-engineer string angles so water doesn’t pool anywhere on the tarp and become a worry in the night. Thanks bro!


As Murphy’s Law requires, I began having a headache and congestion a few days ago that I’ve tried to manage with Ibuprofen and reasonable sleep but this afternoon I’m feeling worse.


“I’m gonna go to bed early and see if I can feel better,” I announce to the others. I hate to miss fireside time but it will be rough going if I get any sicker.


“We’re not going to be quiet,” Joel cautions with a smile.


“Oh, I know,” I answer. The fire has precedence.


“Can we listen to a story?” Brenna wonders.


“You bet,” I answer.


So her and I brush our teeth, don our long underwear (but don’t call it that!) and hunker down under the sound of pattering rain and diminishing thunder to begin a story podcast that will carry us away to morning.


Suddenly I’m aware of yelling and bright lights. I don’t know how long I’ve been asleep. The flicker of fire is gone. It feels like the deepest part of night. I realize in a moment that it’s a group arriving, hollering back-and-forth to get parked, which for incomprehensible reasons isn’t going well.


The yelling and sweep of headlights seem to go on and on.

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Taken on August 30, 2019