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Mountain Lake
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Today was supposed to be about a hike. I was supposed to hike through Moran State Park, taking all day to summit Mt. Constitution and return to my cabin, exhausted. I was supposed to be working, but knew there would be no bookings today. (The big wedding party had left this morning, and check-in for new guests wasn't until three p.m., and damned if I was going to wait around on the off chance that one person wanted an evening massage. Hell no, not in WA in the summer, which is about three seconds long and disappears while you're looking for the sunscreen.)

It's wonderful when what you're supposed to do is subverted by what you were meant to do. Apparently I was meant to abandon my hiking plans so that I could float Mountain Lake with Kasey.

Last week, Kasey had accepted a ride with the FedEx guy (hitchhiking is considered a commonplace, normal thing to do here). He told her about things to do on the Island, and clued her in to the Mountain Lake float situation. His suggestion was to start at the north end of the lake and let the very gentle current draw you southward toward the small dam at the other end of the lake. Okay, let's!

What a glorious day! We left just after lunch, intent on getting some gasoline (only 4 gallons), an ice-cream sandwich, chips and beverages. Kasey got a floatie thing like mine at the store, too. We were armed and ready.

We blew up our floatation devices. They are superior examples of the floatie-thingy genre: clear vinyl with decorative colored accents running down the longitudinal air channels, with armrests, a back rest, and a pillow. Bonus item: a hole for your beverage that actually was big enough for my 32-ounce Snapple Iced Tea. Now that's feature-filled and fashion forward.

The wind was blowing out of the south, which means we floated north, the opposite way suggested by Mr. FedEx. This turned out to be lovely, as it let us float a greater distance than we had initially planned. I swam a few times because I just have to. Just have to. It was bliss. Only my second outdoor swim all year. About time!

Of course we talked about all kinds of things: work, family, what we used to lie about when we were kids. Kasey used to tell kids she had lost a finger, and therefore had to have a prosthetic finger, under which a new finger was growing. I loved that story. I couldn't remember what I had lied about when I was a kid, but I did remember how I had no group, was in The Group That Had No Group, with the fat girl and the girl whose biological mother obviously took drugs during pregnancy, and the guy who became a car salesman, and a host of other underachievers.

(Oh yeah, when I was in 7th grade, and cut my shin up while shaving my legs for the first time, I lied and told my mom I had slipped on the metal step up into the travel trailer. She believed me for about ten minutes, and then said, "Wait a minute. My friend Mary-Kay McConaglie had a scrape like that, from SHAVING HER LEGS! You're not shaving your legs, are you? You're too young to shave your legs!")

We kept hearing a group of people shouting and cheering and wooting in the woods, and we couldn't figure out what they were doing. I thought maybe it was some initiation ritual for a hiking group out of Camp Orkila. As we floated farther north, we saw that it was a passel of young folk swinging out over the water on a rope swing. The hootin' and hollerin' was done each time someone's feet left the ground and they leapt toward the water. It looked really fun, and really a long way down.

Took the floaties out on a rocky beach (as in, a slab of granite, not multiple pebbles or stones), deflated them, and walked back to the car.

Heaven. And we can go again and again.

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