On an early spring canoe trip, our hero, Ted, finds the body of Hughie, drowned in a mudhole on the portage trail. Because the electronic organizer Hughie always carried is missing, Ted wonders if someone killed him.
It was obvious Hughie was dead.
I eased the big pack off my back, and sat on the nearest log. And waited, looking back along the portage trail. The air seemed colder and the portage trail itself seemed to become the exposed back of an immense and tortured snake, winding through the early spring hardwoods.
It was just past eight in the morning and I had a tightness in my chest.
Worse yet, the log was wet, and soon began soaking my crotch.
After a couple of minutes, the tip of a canoe emerged from the thick fog, then Baker materialized, holding it over his head. I was supposed to go ahead and find a good way around the muddy patch, so he wasn’t surprised to see me waiting on the log next to the mud.
He paused in front of me. I pointed at an oak with a good canoe branch. He grunted and wedged the front end of the canoe over the branch, then stepped out from under it.