Mountain Lake Escapade
(Sunday May 24, 2009)
It's Memorial Day weekend. Margie and Tim pulled 4 quads (3 on a trailer and 1 in the bed of their truck) up the highway. I followed with my Blazer and quad on a trailer. Amanda rode with me. We drove to our mountain lake turnoff; then continued beyond the end of the pavement where we parked in a level gravel pit. Margie mentioned how scary some of the road had been. I hadn't noticed, because my car and shorter trailer breezed through easily...although I did have to take it slow through the potholes and bumps.
We unloaded all our quads and took off. Tim drove their Rhino with Margie, Guy was with Vicky, while Brent, Amanda and I rode separate quads. It was really beautiful as we rode past the first lake. Then we entered the forest, passed various campgrounds, and continued along dirt roads, flying over remnants of winter's snow. We reached an area where flowing snowmelt undercut a bank of snow. While a Jeeper and some other quad riders watched, we drove onto what first looked like an insurmountable bank of snow.
Tim suggested that someone walk up ahead to see if we could ride on top of it. Amanda and I walked ahead to take a look as Guy shoveled snow to achieve a snow bed over which we could hopefully drive.
Tim got in his Rhino, and with the wench and Guy and Brent...the Rhino made it up the bank. They continued pushing from behind as the Rhino dug in. Finally Tim was able to keep going forward a few feet, then back and forward a few more feet. It looked like a lot of work, but that's half the fun.
The onlookers below us then thought they would use our trail and tried high speed with their small racing quads, but they couldn't get very far. Soon they gave up and Guy tried his yellow quad. We decided to leave our quads behind. As we started on foot with Tim in the Rhino, the guy in his Jeep started to follow. He appeared to be having a rough time of it, and it was funny that he even attempted it. We trekked over the snow and occasionally jumped on and off the Rhino as it bogged down. Before long the Jeep surprisingly showed up with a large, lanky dog running beside it. He stopped and said, "I just wanted to see what you guys were up to." He seemed like a nice guy. Amazing what determination can do. He mentioned he was going to turn around at this point, but Tim encouraged him to go further. He did, and eventually came back to let us know that the snow was thinning ahead, so we could continue on.
We traveled another mile or so before we encountered insurmountable snow with trees on the side that could cause real problems, like rolling the Rhino. We knew that not far ahead motorized vehicles are not allowed, so we grabbed our packs with lunches and fishing gear and headed out on foot. It wasn't long before everyone was starving, so we stopped for lunch. It was a nice break sitting on rocks warmed by the sun (around 60 degrees) watching the snowmelt trickling down the trail to our destination.
After lunch we walked on leaving behind an insulated bag containing a few cold drinks for the trek back, and plenty of ice for the anticipated bounty of fish we expected to catch. When we reached the lake everyone (except me, because I didn't have a fishing license) quickly threaded their lines, hooks and lures. Tim, Margie and Amanda started fishing in the stream while everyone else headed for the lake...where I took a few pictures of the flora and fauna.
Soon Brent joined me and took over my position with his fishing pole. It wasn't long and I was lucky to catch a photo of his catch...A really nice rainbow trout. I happened to look at my watch. It was 2:18 p.m. We walked back to camp and put it on a stringer in the stream. Then headed back.
Margie followed me and we found another nice spot on the lake. What do you know...She brings in another nice rainbow. Margie explained she had just been praying to God about how she had forgotten what it was like to catch a fish, and bingo! She caught one. "Isn't that amazing?" she said. We laughed and just enjoyed the beautiful surroundings, the fun of being out with our wonderful family, and how blessed our lives really are.
I took the fish back to camp where I saw Vicky who had just caught a fish. We put them both on the stringer, and I joined her at her precarious perch on fallen logs in the lake. Vicky caught another fish and pulled it onto the log, but it wriggled free. Darn! It escaped being dinner.
About 4 o'clock everyone started heading back to camp. Guy showed up with the biggest trout so far. Tim told a fish story about Amanda pulling in an 18 inch one that got away. Guy cleaned the fish while everyone put away their gear for the hike out. I set up my camera and tripod to get a photo before we started.
On the way out Tim showed Brent a secret spot where you could reach in a hole and feel the fish swimming. Brent tried catching them with his hands, but besides his yelling and laughter, he wasn't successful. It was fun to watch! Later, Grammy told me that when she was a young girl she used to catch fish this way. Using both hands reach beneath the overlapping bank on the water to where you gently feel the hiding fish's body. Gently, so it thinks your hand is another fish...with one hand near the head and the other hand near the tail. Then you grasp it with both hands so it can't slip away.
While we were walking out I stopped to take a photo of a pretty typical, but beautiful tree with its moss covered bark. Going into the lake was sure a lot easier. We had to stop for a breather and cold drink at the ice chest we'd stashed earlier. We put the four trout in the ice chest, and climbed onto the Rhino. It was a lot easier going back over the snow than it was coming in. All but Guy rode most of the way. He walked back to the quads and we all ended up arriving about the same time.
It was a little chilly on the quad ride back to the cars. Somehow Brent separated from us and ended up riding towards Graniteville. Last time I saw him he was passing me, and would have been behind Guy and Vicky in the lead. Then we noticed that Maggie May (the dog) was missing also. Everyone was calling for her, when Guy noticed she was over, below the bank of rocks. Amanda chided, "Hey, she found that piece of meat from my sandwich I threw down there." With Maggie safe, Tim immediately went down the road to find Brent.
Guy began loading up quads, and Amanda manned my binoculars. She located what looked like Brent. Red quad, white shirt, and backpack riding on an upper road, rather than the road back to our location. I decided to munch on snacks before loading my quad on the trailer. Before long Tim and Brent rode up.
When we were just about to head back Tim was straightening a bent trailer license plate and commented, "That's where I hit that guy's wheel. I don't think it bent my trailer." I didn't ask what he meant, but heading back down the dusty road home, Amanda and I saw what Margie and Tim were talking about earlier. There were a couple of harrowing turns for Tim's long truck and trailer he was towing. In one place a huge boulder blocked part of the inside of the turn, and he had to maneuver to the edge of the cliff. We saw Margie jump out to watch. Luckily she probably missed what we saw from behind. The rear trailer tire was slightly over the edge of the very steep cliff.
What a fun and memorable trip. Hope there will be many more this summer.