Maria Kochis tells us about an Alaskan kayaking trip gone wrong:

A huge shard of ice broke off from high up on the glacier and plunged into the bay. The wave was immediate. For a second, Emily thought it had sunk the kayak, but after a moment the boat surfaced, streaming water like the back of a whale, and after a minute, Danny’s head bobbed up next to it. And that was the last thing she saw because she had chucked the binoculars on the ground so hard she broke the lens; she was shouting and climbing over the rocks, slipping, banging her knee, reaching the hard pebbles of the beach. The wave turned her around. She made for the highest nearest rock, which wasn’t that high, but the wave wasn’t headed straight for her, like it was for the camp. The others must have seen it too. Already they were running, making for the alders. Five minutes later, the cooking tent collapsed in the swirling wash. Two of the kayaks were dragged into the sea.

From the short story “Chenega” in the forthcoming issue of Deep Wild: Writing from the Backcountry, the journal for people who love wild places and good words.


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