The wild beasts of Fuller Lakes
Imagine the rare 75 degree Alaska day; you have a day off from work and decide to hike 3 miles away from civilization, to a lake teeming with rainbows and dolly varden. You arrive, dripping sweat from the steep hike, but alone with a slight breeze and the sun beaming down on the lake. There are small pockets of snow, a welcome anomaly, you grab a handful and rub it on the back of your neck to cool down. Then you notice the fish are feeding, and whip out your fly rod and begin casting. The slight breeze helps you place the tiny mosquito fly you tied yourself in near perfect position, as you get a strike on your first cast. You haven’t even taken your backpack off your back, but the quiet solitude, the sheep on the mountain, the only sounds of the water cascading from the beaver dam and your fly line whipping in the wind are perfection. You can’t imagine a better day or a better way to spend Memorial Day.
Then you hear it ” The last one up is a stinky fish head!” ” hey quit pushing me!” ” I can’t wait to jump in!” “Get outta my wayyyyyy!!!” That would be us, the Godfrey Daniels crew, a party of 17 entering into your perfect wilderness setting. The last place you would expect to see 13 kids from 5-16 dragging four adults up the side of a mountain. I know you go up there to get away from the hustle and bustle, to spend time in nature and enjoy the quiet and solitude, but so did we. Our strategy is different though. You see we hike the mountain to burn the kids out so when we go home and eat dinner, they go to bed. Then, and only then can we enjoy our quiet and solitude. Instead of a fly rod we will likely have a remote control in our hand, but the effect will be the same.
So we apologize to you Mr. fisherman hiker, but we do not regret that Memorial Day Trek. That hike created some more life long memories, but most importantly, it got the kids quietly in bed by 9 pm on warm summer school-less day; and because of that, I predict there will be many more hikes to come this summer. In fact, if you are planning to scale Mt. McKinley this year, don’t be surprised if you hear ” the last one up is a stinky dog toot”, and turn your head just in time to see a party of 17 on your heels.