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Monday, May 25, 2020

Stories in Place: The Most Fun Possible

(This pandemic has put a cramp in our camp, so I thought I'd start a series of short stories from our travels. You know, those kinds of stories that go around the campfire after a day of exploring, and may get repeated more than once over the years. I hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy telling them. Pull up a camp chair and grab a beverage. Let's Story in Place together.)

We looked over the map of Quartz Lake State Park and saw there was a trail that ran the circumference, a perfect way to get our bearings on our first day in Alaska. We went back to the camper and threw a few water bottles into a backpack, slapped a little more Deet behind our ears and set off to the trailhead. On our way back across the campground we ran into the host as she was loading firewood into a bin.

"Hey guys! Did you just get in today?"

We told her we had crossed the state border this morning and were excited to check out the scenery. Did she have any advice about what there was to see in the park? We thought we'd take the loop trail around the lake.

"Well, that's probably the best way to see it. You might want to go the other way though, the trail comes through at the other end of the campground over there." She pointed back the way we had come. "The other day, a mama grizzly made a kill and she and her cubs are hanging out working on the dead moose over this way. The carcass is pretty much right on the trail. You can go that way if you want, just keep an eye out."

Hiking suddenly didn't seem to be such a great idea. We might not be the smartest tools in the shed, but we did know that no matter which way you walked in a circle, you would eventually be coming back to where you started. And if that involved crossing between a grizzly and her food, or worse, between her and her cubs, we might not be completing that circle at all.

You know, it's kind of hot out and that lake looks really nice. Maybe we should go swimming instead.

Back at the camper, we changed into our suits and headed to the small beach and boat ramp area. We were the only ones there save for an older woman and a kid about nine years old. The boy was splashing in the shallow swimming area that was cordoned off from the rest of the lake. We threw our towels down a respectful distance from them and waded in. It wasn't warm, but it wasn't as cold as Tahoe like we thought it might be. I slowly waded in easing past that belly mark that's so hard to acclimate, as Mark took the plunge and swam out to the roped off edge. The little boy watched us a minute then turned to his grandma.

"Granny? Can I swim out to where that man is?"

"No Conner, I don't think he wants you hanging around him."

"But Granny, I'm sure it would be ok with him." he turned and looked at Mark. "It would be ok right?"

"I don't know, I think you should do whatever your Grandma says. I don't want you to get into trouble."  Grandma shook her head, with that 'I'm trying not to smile and give in' look.

"No, Conner, I don't want you to go out too far. I wouldn't be able to get to you if you got into trouble."

"He would save me! He can swim, didn't you see him?"

Mark swam back to where I was, trying not to lure the boy out too far and into trouble with his granny. We walked back up onto the beach and sat on our towels. Grandma told us she watches Conner for a few weeks every summer while his parents were working at the Air Force base near Fairbanks. We told her where we were from and chatted awhile. Meanwhile Conner looked back and forth between his Granny and Mark, looking impatient.

When Mark and I got up to go back in the water, Conner was ready with his pitch:

"You know Granny, when I come visit you I want to have a lot of fun and I think swimming out into the lake with this man would be really fun. I really want to have the most fun possible while I'm here. Can't I?"

This is how our motto came to be. This nine year old boy's pitch to his granny is printed on the back of our cards, on the intro to this blog, and is always in the backs of our minds no matter where we go or what we're doing. Shouldn't everyone have the most fun possible while they're here?

Conner was able to get his wish. Mark gave him pointers on how to keep afloat, and helped him touch the rope and swim back to shore. Conner was thrilled, and it made us smile. Having the most fun possible often includes making sure others are having fun too.

May you all have the most fun possible on this Memorial Day weekend. Stay safe my friends.

1 comment:

  1. Can't have too much fun so the song goes, but you can have the most fun.