Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Our First Adventure

Sunday was Uncle Carlos' only day off to spend with us, so we scratched our plans to go to the beach that day and went off to the mountains instead. Uncle Carlos isn't really anyone's uncle (well, of OURS, anyway), but he has always been Uncle Carlos to us. A gastroenterologist, he is a fascinating and entertaining character, full of energy and with more high spirits than your average 10-year old.

Our plan was to head up to Mosquito Lake and take a short, easy 3 mile hike over to Heissler Lake. We would gain almost 8,000 feet in elevation on the drive up there, on roads both twisty and windy. Uncle Carlos drove his car so we could spare our van as much as possible. Maybe they all drive that way in his native Argentina---I don't know---but riding with Uncle Carlos was an adventure, to be sure! Normally his wife makes him slow down, but she stayed home that day. I guess random house guests aren't as intimidating.

We did make it alive, however, and began our "easy" hike to Heissler Lake. "Oh, it's an easy hike. There's only three uphill parts. A nice, easy hike."

Remind me not to trust over-energetic Argentinian gastroenterologists in the future!

My tongue was dragging the ground within the first 10 minutes. We don't have "uphill" where I come from, and we don't have "8,000 feet elevation", either. As fit and shapely as I am, I still struggled to maintain my pace. As in, I ate dust the whole way. To make matters worse, Carlos stole my dog for part of the hike ("Here, I'll take Finley for you").

Finley may not have that many talents, but he is handy for one thing. He has a deep and abiding belief that his place is always in front. Whatever his reasoning, Finley IS the line leader. So if we happen to be heading up hill and other people happen to be in front, Finley does his best sled dog impression and drags whomever is lucky enough to be holding his leash. It helps. A lot.

 I soon retrieved custody of the leash, but even with Finley helping, the fellows still forged ahead. Caleb was carrying a huge backpack filled with lunchables and water---I suppose I could have been nice and given him the leash to hold. The backpack must have weighed 70 pounds, but football was only a couple weeks away and Caleb felt it was time he tried to get back in shape. Who am I to stand in the way of his dream?

I kept the leash.

The scenery was beautiful. So beautiful, in fact that I was frequently overcome with an unsuppressable urge to stop and study it. To frame my photos with great care and deliberation. It is important to take your time in these situations. One can't rush great art! If I happened to need a rest break each time I came upon an irresistible scene (Oh, look at this rock! How beautiful! I must photograph it!), well that was coincidence.

Uncle Carlos brought his fearlessful dog, Milo. Milo is a tough dog. He comes from Oakland. Maybe so, but I think he used up all his toughness there, because now all he does is shiver while saying, "Please don't kill me!". Finley and he got along fairly well, and I feel a bromance was blooming. Too bad we had to leave for home before they figured out if they were going to be friends or not.

Devon took a turn with the backpack. He did very well, but I had to take it away from him after only a few minutes. His burning ambition for the day was to rock hop like a demented mountain goat, and I could just picture his skinny little legs landing wrong on a rock and snapping like twigs from the weight of the heavy pack. So no backpack. Demented mountain goats don't get to wear backpacks.

At last, we got to the lake. Those carefree "3 uphills" turned out to be more like 5 gigantic mountains, but we made it.


Finley was so hot and thirsty he plunged right into the lake, drinking and swimming until he cooled off again. I had to unhook him from the leash, because he was dragging me in after him in his determined quest for refreshment. And I felt absolutely no need to go swimming in an alpine lake no matter how hot I was!

We picnicked by the water's edge, then the boys left to do some mountain climbing while I worked on creating great art. The great art wasn't so great, so you can see the photo I took instead. Really, it's better this way. Somehow most of my art looks best when viewed at a distance. Like a quarter mile or so.

A very peaceful and beautiful spot....

But at length, I was summoned to go take pictures of the boys, now at the top of a nearby mountain. I was suitably impressed at their athletic prowess, and obligingly took all the pictures they wanted. Plus a little video, which I will include here for your viewing pleasure....

No need to thank me. I was happy to do it.

All good things must come to an end, however. I was pretty sure that the hike back to the car wasn't going to get any shorter no matter how long I waited. And we wanted to get home in time to swim. For, you see, Uncle Carlos has one other attractive characteristic besides his charm, good looks, and charisma.

He has a pool.

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