When we arrived in the dark the river was only slightly louder than the generator of the RV that was parked 50 yards away. The river clattered as water rocked flat stones. The RV droned like a stressed refrigerator.
I woke at first light to see we were enclosed by fog. I had wished for fog when we went to bed. In fog, I fell back asleep to wake hours later in bright sun and blue sky.
As I read by our campfire in the morning, I heard dancing in a cottonwood tree. It must be a squirrel, I thought. When I looked for the sound, leaves fell. The brown leaves, stiff from an earlier frost, falling in a slight breeze, tapped and pattered against still held leaves like the feet of cloggers.
We walked into moist forest of the hills above the river’s banks. Bright sprays of sword ferns stood on dark soil in the sparse understorey. The shiny green fronds were like lights in the thick shade beneath western red cedar.
Ravens roared above the dark woods. I looked for them and followed a trilling screech as it curved down the ravine. The birds were invisible.