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July 20, 2005

Storm Day

On Wednesday, we awoke to wind. And rain. I was actually one of the first in the main tent for breakfast, as I was supposed to be, but it was looking like a no-go. However, when the GPS crew for the day wandered in, they were mostly game, so we decided to go anyway. Then Erik, one of the day’s crew, went out to help some folks better secure their tents, and came back soaked. I don’t think we should go, he said. So Quintin and I went down to the beach.

You can get down to the beach via a scree slope at the corner of the bluffs. At the far end of the beach, just cut off at high tide, is a cave. A relatively spacious cave that stays dry and windless on wet and windy days. Quintin and I camped out there for quite a while, watching the storm smash the grey-white waves against rocks and icebergs, lifting and throwing the spray into the air. It was awesome. The dovekeys were out despite the storm, landing on and hanging out on the choppy water. If I were an animal, said Quintin, I always thought I’d want to be a duck, but now I want to be a dovekey.

After a while, we saw some more figures down the beach. They gradually grew closer. “Do you think we looked like that?” Quintin asked, watching Jolene and Derek staggering towards us through the wind, soaking wet. We’d been in the cave long enough that we’d forgotten what it was like out there. Or, it had gotten worse. Either way, we didn’t care. We were sheltered. It was all about the cave.

Jolene and Derek joined us, and then Cynthia. Jolene and Cynthia were quite nervous about the state of things, thinking that the tide was coming in rapidly and that the rocks being blow off the bluffs above posed a serious hazard. True that the rock thing was a bit of a concern. Some of the rocks were pretty big. But it was also just time, so we all headed back to camp. On the way down the beach, Quintin and I ran so that the wind pushed us along. I sometimes had trouble controlling my momentum. It made me laugh, and laugh. I was a superhero. Luckily, my laughter was swallowed up by the wind.

The rain and wind continued. Ron politely kicked everyone out of the group tent so Sarah, our camp manager, could have some space to prepare dinner. I told Patrick and Darren, who wanted to play backgammon, that they could come hang out in my tent so as not to disturb either of their tentmates. Shortly after they arrived, though, Jane arrived. I figured she was going to stay in the main tent, but she’d been kicked out too, so had come home to take a nap. “Is it alright that we have visitors?” I asked. “Or should we send them back to their tents?” Jane said it was fine. “I’m having boys over!” I said to her in a loud whisper, and she said back, “Which one do you want?”

We hung out with the boys playing chess and then backgammon, and Jane napping, and me doing nothing—quite a nest, with four people and four sleeping bags--until Darren discovered that Patrick’s tea had spilled and Darren left with his sleeping bag to air out.

[Not even enough room in the tent for Jane to get in the picture. Jane, Darren, me, Patrick. Pre-spill.]


Dinner was a welcome chance to stretch the legs and fill the belly. And then the storm broke. And the sun came out. And everyone went out to play. It all seemed to happen very quickly. There was a group sliding down the nearby snowfield on their feet and on shovels, and another group—including myself—went down to the beach. Ron pointed out a pile of very angular, fresh-looking rocks at the base of the cliff. They weren’t from that day, but they were recent—from the summer, at least, because they hadn’t been reworked by winter storms. Quintin and I noted that we’d been standing in that exact spot, checking out the cool rocks in the overhang above, just earlier that day. Huh.

[Sunny camp.]

After hanging a bit at the beach, Darren, Quintin, and I decided to take a different (steeper, of course) route up to the top of the bluff. We joined Ken at a lovely sunny spot where we all lie in silence for a while, watching the dovekeys or the back of our eyelids.

[I watched the sun on some grasses, too.]

Our walk back took us past several lovely ponds, and gooshy ground. Did I mention all the gooshy ground? The coolest thing about the valleys, for me, was the water. I'll talk about it in the next entry. Suffice to say right now that there is water *everywhere*. Just like the dovekeys, except different.

The sun didn’t last all that long. It was already starting to hide again before bedtime. You have to take what you can get, I guess.

Posted by beth at July 20, 2005 5:00 AM