Now Buck was sure the cat was nowhere around. Of course, no one can be sure of such things but Buck had every reason to believe it. He was still weary and figured he would have something to eat and then, maybe, take a nap. Sleep was not a 5 hours only and then action any longer. he was tired and he knew that tired and hiking forest trails don’t match up in any way but accidental. Besides, the sun was shining and the clouds he had seen were probably just a group wandering on the winds and updrafts from the mountains.
Soon, he had a freeze dried meal of beef stew in his small bowl and water from his canteen and all was good. Propping his pack against a tree he leaned back and shut his eyes. Just a catnap he figured. The forest was tranquil and Felix was doing his thing some place else. Buck could rest and let the nourishment from the stew work for a few minutes.
He awoke a full hour later, neck cramped and his left foot asleep. “Shit! You dumbass! How long have I slept?” Looking at the angle of the light over the mountains he figured he had slept at least one hour; maybe more. What bothered him more than the sleeping were the clouds. The clouds he had seen so far away were now scudding over the peak above the bluff. That wasn’t the only thing. The drop in the temperature was noticeable. Looking toward the bluff Buck saw that heavy. dark clouds were forcing their way across the sky quickly blotting out the blue and replacing it with foreboding grey. Anvils were what came to mind. What caught him by surprise was the drop in temperature. This time of year snow was rare but not unheard of which gave his rather carefree trek to the Herndon place an immediacy heretofore unconsidered. He quickly figured that he had ten miles, give or take, to get there. Whether or not this would turn into a storm of consequence was not likely but, nevertheless, it perked up the pace from a meander to a rush.