Aug 23 (day 15)

First light at 5:30am wakens me – a soft pink blush behind the mountains illuminates the water, boat deck, slopes. About an hour later the sun rises for good. People are scattered down below, on shore, at the cabin. Breakfast is leisurely, I eat hearty on peach pancakes. The food we brought has been largely cast aside, now part of Tom’s emergency food stock. Seals pop up at the sound of the engine starting, their black eyes, glistening, curious.

The miles count down…leaking fluid from a hose causes overheating, we drift quiet for a short while.  The seas are oily calm. With blue sky overhead and good company, somehow this was just meant to be. Saddle Island, Bishops Miter, Great Bear and Little Bear Islands go by. Nain docks appear, I’m sad this portion of the trip, the boat leg is ending: the kibitzing, joking and easy laughter and calm seas were the perfect icing on the hiking trip cake. But the party continues at Atsanik Lodge. Our group meets in Arnold’s suite for late night ablutions, celebrations, congratulations. In the wee hours, a guitar is played across the hall. Finally, I return to my room, which feels suffocating after 14 nights without solid walls and a roof.