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Monday, May 15, 2006

On Williwaw Pond

Our first trip out in our trailer was a success. What follows are a series of observations and descriptions about that trip. Warning: content very nonlinear.
So thorough were Bruce’s preparations for our trip, that nothing went badly awry. The only glitches were insufficient bed-clothing for the adults, no coat for Evan, and the omission of drinking water separate from the trailer’s supply. Since we’ve returned home, we have made a couple extra trips to the trailer in its storage facility to retrieve: my glasses and contact lens stuff, my make-up (God forbid!), aluminum foil, and Juneau’s meds.

The campground we had expected to stay at was closed due to unusual amounts of snow in Portage during March and April. But with relative ease and fuss we found out little pond-side pull-out spot a short way from the campground. Over the course of the weekend, several other campers came and went from our spot, including our neighbors, who we arranged to rendezvous with.

We were close to the road and so enjoyed not only the sounds of birds twittering, but the sound of cars rushing by. However, apart from that, we might have been miles from civilization, so dramatic were the 4,000-foot mountains rising up from the valley floor in front of us. Behind us, on the other side of the road, the southern wall of the valley boasted the remains of a huge avalanche.

The kids had a great time, didn’t bemoan the lack of television once, and otherwise acclimatized amazingly well. They spent the better part of the trip throwing rocks into the pond. Bruce and I alternated closely watching the younger kids around the pond. There wasn’t much transition between shoreline and watery depths, so we militantly insisted the little ones stay several feet from the edge.

During Evan’s Saturday nap, I took the older kids a couple miles down the road to the Portage Visitors Center. We spent a fair amount of time there, playing at the exhibits, watching the movie about glaciers, and eating ice cream.

At my mom’s suggestion, I packed a journal in which to record our travels.

Saturday morning, sitting in the bright sunshine and sipping a cup of coffee, I was suddenly inspired to write. Only then did I realize the journal I’d chosen already had some writing in it – it had formerly been a “prayer journal” from 1990. I read some of the old entries, cringing all the while. Most of them asked God to spare me from the pain and agony of male rejection, and, if “God willed,” to magically zap those boys, with whom I was infatuated, into adoring me back.

With little other choice, I turned to the next blank page in the journal and, with these words, picked up where I left off: “Sixteen years and a great many adventures later….”

An excerpt from Saturday:

“Today is brilliant and cloudless. Crystal clear, cloudless. Though the air is chilly (40? 45?) the sun is quite comfortably warm. Warm enough for mosquitoes, even. It’s supposed to warm up to 60 today [it only got to about 50].
“Across from where I am sitting an eagle is soaring about. He’s been up there a long time, circling and arcing, but he hasn’t flapped once. Bruce just noted a trout surfacing fifteen feet away.
“So, the eagles, magpies, trout and mosquitoes have awoken, but our children are deteriorating. They are now within the ‘beluga’ [trailer], thumping about. Screaming, crying, calling for help. There is a great deal of motor noise from the road, presumably heading towards Whittier. Smallcraft planes fly overhead. Lots of birds twittering. And, oh, what’s that? The sound of Seamus breaking out of his collar and getting in a fight with the cocker spaniel one RV over. Hm.
“Ah, all is well again.
“The kids have made a fort of their bunkhouse. Juneau, lame in one rear leg, is loose, off-leash, exploring. It has been a long time since she was on a ‘venture.’
“10:40am My eagle is back joined by two friends. Already, two have glided over the ridge-line, no longer visible. Only one left. From their movement, it appears there is a wind-current-road, as clearly delineated to them as the yellow and white striped asphalt is to me. Eagle number three is vanishing on that invisible road far aloft. Good-bye eagles.
“10:50am Two more eagles. Distinctly circling us looking for a morsel. Put Juneau in the trailer for safe-keeping. I presume at 30+ lbs. Evan is too heavy for even them.”

While we all enjoyed our trip and regretting having to come home, I think the one who most enjoyed herself was Juneau. Juneau is now 10 ½ years old, but when she was a puppy, years before we even had any human children, Bruce and I used to backpack in the mountains of Western Washington. Juneau was the gamest small dog I ever saw on a trail. She led the way up and down the dirt trails, tongue straight out in front, and tail straight out in back. At night, she would curl up beside me in my sleeping bag. We used to call her “Venture Dog” for her love of “ventures.”

It’s been a good many years since she went on a proper “venture.” Since Seamus joined us in 1997, we haven’t taken her out much. In that time she’s gotten epilepsy, Cushings disease, and blown a knee. I worried about how’d she’d do in the trailer, little anticipating an animal transformed.

Despite her sore, stiff knee, that darn dog wandered to and fro; her nose, healthily cold and wet, pointed towards the wind, reading volumes about the surroundings in its myriad of scents. Saturday, during a leisurely walk on in Moose Flats, despite knee discomfort, she turned tail against riding in the stroller and insisted on walking, walking, walking. She befriended other dogs, reclined on sun-warmed stones, and did it all free of leash and tether. Her sparkling eyes looked 10 years younger. And at night, she whined to be let into our bed, where, puppy-like, she curled up next to me and the slept the sleep of the very young.

For more pictures of our trip, see our family website: www.brucelindas.com.


At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay Juney girl! I'm glad she was able to return to her Venture Dog self. Max, Ollie, and I also had a venture, going over to Port Ludlow for the weekend. Ollie's idea of a good time these days is sacking out on the couch next to anyone who will pat her.

At 8:57 PM, Blogger Gateway School and Learning Center said...

Fun! Can't wait for our lilliputan pop-up to join your house on wheels on some rocky beach somewhere.


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