[ Continued ] We climbed and climbed, took an absolutely necessary break, and climbed some more. Every time we turned around, we could see a broader expanse of the western lake, and bottom features near shore also became more visible. Now the path was obvious: it was where the grass had been worn away. Finally we reached the top, the western limit of our hike the previous week. We dropped down and waited for our hearts to find some equilibrium, wishing we had brought a second drink.
We knew the trail back from our previous expedition. Despite our exhaustion, we felt exhilarated to have seen so much previously-unknown-to-us beautiful landscape. We took our time crossing the fields, knowing a cook-out awaited us as soon as we reached our boat. Boarding for our picnic basket, we checked the time: seven hours had elapsed. A wounded cormorant was struggling at the shore. The other boat had gone, and a second one that had come during our absence was already heading back. We checked out stake: during our trek, the boat had drifted north one hundred feet. We were lucky, although being marooned on this isolated spot of land, with the sun setting on Beaver four miles away, would not have been the end of the world. [ High Island Map ]