by Parker Towle
Low trees and scrub
yield to precipitous
scree slope, an irregular
ladder of stone blocks with no
bushes or tree trunks to cling to.
Switchbacks are few. Cooling breeze
above yields to flushing heat and dripping
sweat. We tumble down through a sparse
gnarl of trees with openings to view their tops on
the valley floor like Christmas trees in a bird’s view.
The Carrabassett River in a rush flashes in sunlight
over rocks far below, silent at first, then with a roar.
Ear pop confirms altitude drop, steepness
subsides, and the stream noise rises. We
step in as quick as we can, duck our
heads under a veil of water,
ah, the chill…