Carol starts going for long walks in nature alone to calm her mind and to feel better about her place in the world. This is the only time she feels she gets to act like a kid.
While she's walking, Carol sees Miles Bjornstam. The guy invites her to join him and a buddy named Pete for a hunk of bacon. It sounds like Miles is just about to leave town to do some horse-trading for the summer.
When Carol finally walks away from Miles, she feels lonely.
When the summer heat rolls in, the whole town of Gopher Prairie becomes uncomfortable.
The families of Gopher Prairie eventually go to their summer cottages.
Carol visits a couple known as the "Champ Perrys" who used to be very rich but who lost quite a lot of money and now live in a cramped apartment. All she hears from them is the same conservative dogma she's always heard from Gopher Prairie. Carol had visited them hoping for inspiration because Champ Perry's ancestors had been pioneers—but she's sad to find out that Champ is just like everyone else.
The next time she goes out, Carol runs into Miles, who is fresh back from horse-trading. She instantly feels more admiration for him than for anyone else she knows.