Sunday, August 13, 2006

My Favorite Time of Year

Spring used to be my favorite time of year. But I've changed my mind: Fall is now my favorite time. As Amy will tell you, this time of year I get all "antsy" if I'm not outside. I have my head in the clouds about being in the mountains or the desert fishing. The steelhead are coming. The salmon are coming. Baseball is all about pennant races, and even if my Mariners aren't in it, I still get giddy thinking about all the post season games coming up in a couple of weeks. This is the time of year for fishing trips. You can fish all day in solitude and catch big fat rainbows who've had all summer to put on weight. A friend and I are probably going on a week long fishing trip into the depths of Eastern Oregon, and when I return from that, Amy and I will disappear for a long weekend into North Central Washington to pester some big fat lahontan trout, stay at roadside motels and eat heaps of trucker food at 5:30 in the morning. The air is chilly in the morning and cold in the evening but the "sideways" sunshine during the middle of the day is warm and golden. I love it. Anyway, on Sunday, the day before Casey returned to pre-school, he and I went on a long (for him) hike to Twin Lakes. The nights in the mountains are cold now so there are no bugs any more. School is on for everyone else so there was no one else on the trail. He and I hiked a mile and half to the lower lake. I'm so happy he can hike that far (without complaint even!). Yes, he did fall down and cry three times but only for a few seconds and then he was back at it again. The lake is small - maybe 1/2 acre with a shallow "beachy" corner near the outlet. I hopped out onto a chain of rocks and stood on the last rock looking out at the lake. All of a sudden, I feel these hands pushing on the backs of my legs! I'm at the edge of the rock so I can't turn around. I yelled "Casey! No, don't...!" and then I was in the water (only 6 inches deep, but still). He laughed and laughed as I sprang out of the water -- too late. My expensive new hiking boots were all wet and my socks were soaked which would have made the hike back to the truck uncomfortable if I weren't so blissfully content about everything. I had to laugh about it. What a litte joker. Pushing his dad into the lake. When Casey told me "Dad, I'm starving!" I realized that, once again, I had neglected to feed him or me all day. I'm so bad about that. I was hungry too, so we made the long walk back to the truck, during which Casey only almost fell off a cliff once. There is a little Pizza/Espresso place at the pass only a 10 minutes from where we were hiking so we stopped there and had a slize of pizza and some ice cream. I haven't seen Casey that hungry since he was a baby. We shared the slice of pizza and he literally almost ate my finger he was cramming so much of the pizza in his mouth. HE EVEN ATE THE CRUST which is like, unheard of. Then we each devoured an ice cream bar. As I belted him back into the truck he was yelling "Dad! I'm still starving!" so I told him we'd eat some real dinner when we got home. But as we were driving back down from the pass I started thinking "he just HIKED three miles and ate about a pound of fat -- he'll never make it." And sure enough he fell asleep so deeply that I was able to transfer him from the truck to his bed when we got home and he slept until the next morning.