Top of Speculation

13:52, Day One. Subject completes ascent at end of Footpath Y (Site Willie). He finds himself at the verge of a sheer cliff, abrupt limit of some overweening hill. A hundred yards down, a silvergreen river makes a long, slow turn across some grassy flats.

The country is irregular but generally low. From this point he can see in all directions to the horizon. He turns and turns again, scanning for any sign of human presence -- clearing, firebreak, smoke, power lines, flash of metal, some trace of paint or asphalt, even a high vapor trail. The sky is a flat and ominous blue. As far as his vision extends there is only this sovereign landscape, hills and dales, rocks and trees. The beech, the fir, the spruce, the alder, the pine, the maple, the ash, the mighty oak.

14:00. Subject collapses.