It held firm and was still standing strong in the morning as the guests packed up their sleeping bags and tents and boarded planes headed to Ketchikan. Later that day, I took Katie out on the water and fulfilled at least part of my seductive promise. Although the halibut she caught wasn’t big enough to require a harpoon, it was her first nonetheless. That night, she glowed with pride as we grilled a fillet of the fish. I served it with leftover boxed wine poured from the liner bag that someone had thoughtfully pinned under a rock beneath the creek’s surface. After dinner, we went down to the shoreline and watched the light fade. We’d been married a year at that point. Something about the experience—maybe the air, maybe the wine, maybe the residue of hopefulness left over from a day of fishing—caused her to say that she was ready to have a baby so long as I was up for it. We were leaning against the gunwale of a beached skiff, and we just stood there for a while in silence. There was a mountain empty of people behind us, an ocean full of fish in front of us, and at our side a cabin in the slow and steady process of accumulating memories. And in that moment I could see clearly why I’d bought a place that was so hard to get to: even if I had to leave right then, I couldn’t.
Correspondent Steven Rinella is the author of Meat Eater: Adventures From the Life of an American Hunter.