Sep 21, 2009 | Dodge, WA
Sep 21, 2009

Today I saw two dead hawks, mysteriously lying a few feet from each other along a small country road in southern Washington. Somehow these hawks had fallen from the sky and surrendered to maggots almost in perfect unison (they were in similar states of decomposition). It seemed like they had traveled together, and that one, witnessing the death of the other, had suddenly fallen from the sky and died too, trying to fall near the other, so they could be close even in death. At breakfast along an Idaho river, the waitress told me about Johnny Jamison, a local man who had shot an 11-foot Kodiak bear in Alaska. Johnny shot the bear and the bear charged him, slashing his forehead, trampling him, and then running off into the woods. Johnny rushed to the hospital to get his head stitched up, and then at once returned to the woods to finish off his bear, which he found eating the remains of another Kodiak it had attacked and killed. Johnny fired a few more rounds and got his trophy, and, as the waitress said, "one helluva headache — more coffee?" In the tiny town of Antelope, Oregon, deer inspected me from back yards, while RVs camped out under big trees, and an outdoor stage awaited an audience. As the sun went down, I drew close to the end of this journey, whizzing past irrigation systems and power lines. Then finally, under the cover of darkness, after 7 days and 3,763 miles, I arrived.