The Kenai River Flats smelled like geese — the damp chill within the air and the sound of flights overhead combined with the decomposing tidal swamp to make up the recognizable qualities of the waterfowl season on a late October morning.
The tide books referred to as for a 24-foot tide the day I adopted Steve out on the flats. As we walked, the water degree sloshed greater and better towards my waders. We figured it would not get any larger than the 24 ft listed, which might put us in water as much as our waists. However the water stored rising.
It was greater than our waists when Steve caught a floating crate that we used to crawl onto an previous stump. We watched in amazement because the flats became an ocean round us. Search and rescue would raise two unfortunate duck hunters off the identical stump the subsequent day. As an alternative, we waited and broke out the sandwiches.
There have been extra mallards than we had ever seen on the flats in someday. They floated by simply out of vary. We would not have the ability to retrieve them even when we had a shot. That is one of many causes we’d like a canine, I assumed. However, I additionally questioned if we have been above the imply margin-of-error mark.
It was getting chilly, and it made sense that when the tide lastly went again out, we might name it a day. Three hours later we plunged again into the now-knee-deep water. I headed towards the car parked on the roadway. That was not the path Steve was going. I turned and caught up with him. My ft have been numb inside my hip waders.
“The place are you going?” I requested.
“Out to the far blind,” he stated.
“After that?” I questioned, “We’re nonetheless going duck searching after that?”
“There’s nonetheless mild,” he stated.
“I can not really feel my ft,” I stated.
There was no response, and he trudged additional out into the flats. I adopted however added, “I do not assume there’s ever been a time in my life the place I have been so chilly.”
He stopped and checked out me. “We will return to the automotive, or we will go duck searching,” he stated. “It is as much as you.” Someway I forgot that there isn’t any sympathy in searching. I had additionally forgotten that the enjoyment of waterfowling is so typically the distress concerned, and that D.H. Lawrence as soon as wrote: “By no means noticed a wild factor sorry for itself.”
I appeared again on the automotive with its promise of heat, and I seemed on the distant blind. It was crushed down by the tide and can be as snug to occupy as clinging to the branches of a moist tree.
“Let’s go duck searching,” I stated.
It is troublesome to pinpoint the second I went from searching…