Long hard day of paddling. Four Island, Three Island, and the crashing waters of Curtain Falls. Pass by Sunday, Saturday, and into Friday Bay in hopes of finding a campsite deep within the recesses of the cove. From the west shore of the inlet stands the outline of a man stands on a rocky outcropping, behind him a couple tents and a cooking fire. “All the campsites in the bay have been filled!”
“Even the one on the island?”
“That one too.”
C-stroke, C-stroke, C-stroke. Back towards Saturday. All of the sudden the dark storm clouds that have been chasing us for the better part of two hours have enveloped the sky above us. We nearly have to return to Sunday before an open campsite presents itself.
Quick, unload the packs, pull the boats up, find the tarp, and pitch the tents! The clouds are ready to make good on the threats they have been making all day. As the second (and largest) tent is being pitched, winds tear through camp, attempting to take the tent with them. As my crew members struggle to get stakes into the ground, I flip the tent back to the ground and hold it there.
In the scramble to set up shelter before we are hit with a storm, a crucial element is forgotten: the chin-strap of the Tilley hat. While keeping the tent earth-bound, the gale lifted the broad-brimmed treasure from my head and into the woods that was the backdrop for camp.
After the storm abated and the evening cleared (only 10 or 15 minutes after it began), a search for the Tilley began. Sights were set high, low, under logs, and dangling from branches, but the hat was nowhere to be found. I had accepted the fate of my hat (thankful that it was insured against loss by the Tilley corportation), and was thankful that its loss had at least been eventful, when the tan brim and brown bowl of the hat caught my eye. There it lay, directly behind the newly raised tent, and under the nearest pine. I happily returned the hat to my head, pleased that I had now had my Tilley, and a story to go with it.