After the accident, when I no longer walked with a cane, we met there at dusk. I hesitated stepping off the dock into the gently swaying boat, still unsure of the steel screwed into my bones, scared in that instant, like every other, of the infinite number of ways a person can die. I took my place in the hard plastic fishing seat, and by the time we reached the far side of the lake and tied onto the line of buoys near the spillway, full dark had come. We set our lines and did no more.
We drove straight from work and hit the trailhead at 6:15. The sun was already low, and the shadows of Douglas Fir fell long over six feet of snow. For the first hour, we had the false sense of warmth as dusk lit the air with alpenglow. Almost without notice, it became harder and harder to see; then it was dark. We turned on our headlamps, and the blue reflective diamonds marking the trail shone like gas flames among the trees. It was slow going. A foot of fresh powder had fallen the night before, and even with snowshoes, we waded ankle deep beneath our full packs, sweating under our fleece while the freezing air burned our faces.