This weekend I went hiking. Until I got home last night I didn’t know that WAMU had failed. I didn’t know that Paul Newman had died. I hadn’t watched the debate. I didn’t even care. And guess what? The world didn’t end.

I spent Friday afternoon walking through the woods in the rain. It was beautiful. The world was green and red and gold dripping with bits of silvery water. The rain stopped sometime during the night, and on Saturday I walked through the still-dripping woods all day, calling on some old friends; Branch Pond, Bourne Pond, and Stratton Pond. I passed Bourne Pond mid-morning savoring memories of a weekend spent at the no longer extant Bourne Pond Shelter one chilly October weekend years ago when I drifted off to sleep to the sound of dozens and dozens of Canada Geese landing on the Pond to rest overnight, then awoke the next morning to a cacophony of sound as they all rose, circled once, and headed on south.

A couple miles north of Bourne Pond I came across some recent beaver activity that had flooded a stretch of trail and forced me to bushwhack around it, getting myself soaked from head to toe but leaving me with a stupid grin on my face. There were about a dozen white birch trees in a little grove next to the brand new beaver pond, and the beavers had felled each and every one of them. I understand birch is one of their favorite foods.

On Saturday night I was camped above the shore of Stratton Pond and just before rain forced me into my little tent for the night I walked down to the shore and watched a beaver swim across the pond. When he or she was next to the bank opposite me, he smacked the water three
times with his tail. I knew beavers did this, but I never realized what a big splash they make. Each time the tail smacked the water a geyser of water shot several feet into the air. It was really quite amazing.

On Sunday morning the rain tapered off and I found myself in a tight little world about 10 yards around, hemmed in with a heavy fog. I picked my way around the shore of Stratton Pond and started up the slope of Stratton Mountain. For some reason I was feeling really good and just cruised up the mountain in one steady push and arrived just as the sun started to burn through the top layer of fog. It was still early and I had the summit all to myself, just the way I like it. I’m selfish that way.

I met no other hikers on Friday. On Saturday I did cross paths with two men who had spent the night camped at Bourne Pond. The rest of the day I had the forest all to myself. On Sunday while I was on my way down Stratton Mountain and nearly back to my car, I passed a few day hikers on their way up to the summit.

It was a wonderful weekend.