Conquering the Wild

At the top of Union Pass is a lake tucked back in the woods- most appropriately named “Lake of the Woods”.  We spent many days hanging out there at the top of the mountain.  We took our little boat up there on occasion and did some fishing.  Other times we fished from the shore.  We saw a bald eagle swoop down, smacking the lake, and flying off with a fish.  We swatted scads of mosquitoes.  We took pictures of the kids in the wildflowers the weekend before Jack got his first cochlear implant.  Lots of memories there.  But one of the most memorable times we spent there was probably when we went on a day trip and brought along supplies “just in case”…

Day trips always seemed like a good idea at noon on Saturday, but not so much at 8:30 Saturday night.  We wanted more.  So on one particular “day trip” as we put our supplies into the Suburban, we decided we’d throw in our sleeping bags just in case.  We always took too much food anyway, so we really didn’t worry too much about that.  We had our bear-proof panniers to put the food in….which doesn’t actually mean they don’t attract bears- just means the bears won’t get an easy food reward when they try to break in.  We had bear spray, and I’m pretty certain we had the revolver by that time.  If we didn’t, we were REALLY stupid.  But, we might have been REALLY stupid.

We took our boat up there on this particular occasion.  We had a wonderful afternoon fishing on the lake, cooking over the campfire, throwing rocks in the water, picking flowers, kicking dirt….  What else could one possibly want?  Except to go to sleep under the stars…

We left the boat tied to a stump at the shore for the night.  After supper we got enough supplies out of the Suburban to make room for the kids to lay in the back…which meant putting the FOOD outside…along with all the DISHES we’d just used…close to where we had WASHED the dirty dishes under the water container…close to where the Suburban was parked…which was right beside where we decided we should lay our sleeping bags.

With all these things in mind, and hearing the voices in my head of my older patients who said they wouldn’t even go there to fish anymore because of all the grizzly bears….we settled in for a good night’s sleep.

Is your mind racing yet?  I hope so, because mine was.  Jeff and I talked a long time watching the stars through the trees, but in time we got quiet.  NOTHING happened.  Not even sleep.  All night long I lay there….WAITING…. LISTENING…thinking maybe I’d heard something.  Jeff went to sleep.  Of all the nerve!  I had to wake him up once so he could listen with me.  But he told me not to worry, it sounded like a mouse or something.  A mouse!  I didn’t want a mouse crawling over my face anymore than I wanted a bear attacking me.  They seemed equally bad.  Finally I had to look.  But my sleeping bag and canvas liner were tightened around my head and I could not get them loose as quickly as was required to satisfy my mind.  So I sat up, sleeping bag stuck on my head and all.  I couldn’t see anything in the darkness.  But – it woke Jeff up enough to make him laugh.

There was frost on the boat seat in the morning.  We felt like we had conquered the wild.

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