I’m really in it now. There’s no turning back, that’s for sure. The terrain continues to get harder with more brush and boggy ground the farther east I go. I have to dig deep to keep from falling apart and giving up. I refuse to send a message for help. On the fourth of July I cross a high, exposed pass and get caught in a down pour where there’s no forest to seek shelter, just a few stunted trees clumped together out on the tundra at the base of a mountain. I put on my rain gear, drape my tarp over my pack and me and wait it out so I can keep hiking when it lets up. Will curls up below my feet, at the base of a two-foot high sodden ledge, where he stays pretty dry. Following a more southerly route along the border, Spike Mountain is visible about 30 miles southwest, a perfect land mark if I want to hike south to the Porcupine River, or back west to the Coleen River. Frankly at this point, it’s likely shorter to keep going to Old Crow, besides I have food waiting for me there.
After the rain diminishes haul myself around this mountain on the edge of Old Crow Flats. It’s spread out in front of me like dark, smooth blotches shimmering in the blurry light. It’s so far across out there that it gives me the chills thinking what would happen if I get into the middle of that. I have to keep out of there. I enter another ravine for an hour and hike up the other side at the foot of another mountain to get the high ground where there should be less brush. The brush is killing me.