Wednesday, May 23, 2007

frenchman lake

This morning I returned from a three-day camping trip at Frenchman Lake with Dave, Kyhl, Eric, and Nick. Most of the time we were there, the weather was breezy and chilly -- enough to keep us next to the campfire sipping beer and Yukon Jack, occasionally rising long enough to throw another stick of poplar on the fire or to cook up another sausage. I read two essays by a colleague that I'd been putting off for weeks. A good time.

Yesterday we went for a morning paddle around the lake -- Dave in his inflatable kayak and Kyhl and I in a canoe. It's a beautiful lake, although I'll never quite get used to the fact that most of the "lakes" in this part of the country are reservoirs. Later we went on an epic mountain bike ride, winding up past Mount Adams, through some lovely forest of pine and cedar and aspen, across a muddy creek, down a loose and very technical stretch of old road, around tiny Snow Lake, through some alpine meadows where we saw a coyote, and back down to our campsite.

We camped near a woman named Carol Jean Case. The reason I know she was Carol Jean Case is because she frequently yelled things like, "Carol Jean Case, clean up this fucking mess!" and "Carol Jean Case, make me some goddamn breakfast!" And no, in case you were wondering, no one was actually with Carol Jean Case. I'm no psychiatrist, but it was a pretty clear "case" of multiple personality disorder, replete with the voice changes, the abrupt personality swings, the whole nine yards. At one point, on her way back to her campsite after fishing, Carol Jean Case paused about thirty yards from our site, staring at us menacingly like the Annie Wilkes character in Misery. We stayed near the fire, kept each other freaked out with occasional Stephen King references, and somehow survived the night. As I drove out of the campground this morning, Carol Jean Case was chopping firewood with an axe -- doing so with a fury that could only be described as demented.

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