Charlie was the first up and had a fire built. I, of course, thought it was Dave out there. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I rolled over and he was laying inches away from my face, still sleeping. Yikes. A very odd occurrence, indeed.
Morgan, who went to bed at about… oh… 7:30 pm was the last to get up. I clock her at about 16 hours of sleep.
We lounged around most of the morning. Dave made some hash browns — the kind from Costco that come in a little milk carton you fill with water and then put in a fry pan. They apparently have an expiration date. yeah, yeah, yeah… THEY’RE FINE! That’s just a ruse. When is he going to start believing me?
Meanwhile, I got an egg and Charlie toasted a ciabatta bun, which might be a little too thick for his standard campfire technique, but do absorb an impressive amount of butter, which more than makes up for the thickness.
Eventually, we made some sandwiches and headed off in the car to the Continental Divide trail. It took us 20 minutes to drive three miles to the trailhead on the 4-wheel drive road, nervously testing the new Michelins. Dave was lamenting, yet again, the fact I hadn’t gotten the “big-ass knobby ones”. When I reminded him that less than 1% of my driving is off-road, he insisted that I still should have gotten the big ones and that the next set would BE the big ones.
First, don’t be telling me what kind of tires I’m going to be getting on a car I don’t even want in the first place. And, second, …there is no second.
I countered that there wouldn’t BE A NEXT SET. I reminded him of the deal we made a year and a half ago when we bought this Suburban: when Morgan goes to college, I get to kick my 16 year Suburban habit. Dave’s look told me a lot — like maybe he would be trying to, yet again, talk me out of our deal. No way buddy. We don’t need two huge SUVs, period. Correctly, he swallowed his words and instead asked, “So, what kind of car are you thinking you’ll get?”
“A small car. A wind-up car.”
He just stared straight ahead and pretended I hadn’t said anything at all — clearly perturbed.
Wait. That’s how he always looks. Never mind.
It was quickly determined that we wouldn’t be hiking the Continental Divide trail, since it was an 18 mile hike.
[Note the bag Charlie is carrying. For the LOVE of GOD, WHEN --when?-- will Dave Menke stop making us carry fishing equipment on long hikes? At least now I have children I can force to do it instead of me.]
We headed instead for Rock Lake — a six mile hike. It was also quickly determined that Morgan wouldn’t be joining us. I began to suspect that she intenionally mutilated her feet to avoid hiking. I wouldn’t put it past her…
It was a hot and dusty trail. I don’t have much good to say about it, except that it made for some funny conversations with Charlie on the way up. We couldn’t help but comment about the absence of the Reluctant Hiker. We were certainly going a lot faster than normal (sorry Morgan!) and had some chuckles about that… The hot dust inevitably led to the a comparison with the Sperry Glacier trail that we did in Glacier Park several years ago. It was record heat there — in the 90′s, as it was today. That trail, too, was a horse trail with random horse poop and flies. (I’m making this sound worse than it was, but still.) Charlie said, “I HATE horseback riding. I hated every single horseback ride we ever went on.” –Seriously? “I hated every single minute of every single ride.” No way! Could Charlie be developing the exaggeration gene? When I told him I didn’t remember him hating it so much he said it was true.
Apparently, even when he was little he was “on edge.” and, “always stressed out” on “dangerous trails” worried when those “stupid horses stumbled.” I don’t know why it made me laugh so hard. The idea of Charlie being stressed out on a horse… it just made me laugh. –There was this time he almost got hit by a truck crossing the highway to get to a trail [a seriously bad deal of which he was completely oblivious at the time] which may have planted some deep-seated unease about the dangers of trail riding , but that’s a long story. [Maybe someday I'll pull out all the journals and eventually post them all here. Like prequels to Road Warriors.]
The payoff — the lake — was very pretty.
We were so hot and sweaty.
Incredibly, Dave was the first to go in the water. [I have the pictures to prove it, but am forbade from posting. I'm sure they'll show up -- unintentionally -- on the AppleTV, which auto-syncs from my computer. And that will be a grave day indeed. However, about damn time there are a couple incriminating ones of Dave, since there are plenty of me, which pop up at the most inopportune times and which I cannot find in the thousands of photos on there to delete and which torment Morgan to no end.] I followed, while Charlie freaked out on us. We couldn’t talk him in to the skinny dip club though. We lingered at the lake for about 45 minutes
[with our clothes on. it was all very tasteful.] and then headed back down.
At the start of the hike I had told Dave to, “Go at a good clip so we get a workout.”
Seriously, I didn’t know the guy with the bad hip could walk that fast. He’s certainly never done it with me on the gravel road at home. I was spent. He hasn’t ever out-hiked me before, but he did. And it made me pretty crabby to be bested. We power walked, even running at times, all the way back down to the bottom. Charlie and I tripping and stumbling to keep up with Ibuprofen-Enhanced Dave Menke.
Morgan welcomed us back to the car well-rested, well-feed, well-read and well-movied. Not well-networked though, because there is no cell service here. Ha!
I couldn’t figure out why she jumped at the chance to ride with Dave to Jackson for ice. I thought it was so nice of her. But then I realized it was to retrieve messages and get a few of her own out to the world beyond. [We later learned she also talked "daddy" into an ice cream cone.] While they were gone, Charlie and I split some Cambozola and ridiculously good Rosemary Raisin crackers from Trader Joes while I nursed my crabby with both a Bud Lite and a vodka tonic. Dave had handed them both to me as he left.
He’s a prophet.
After a proper amount of sulking and snacking, I started chopping stuff for tacos. I had realized we forgot to bring shredded cheese before Dave and Morgan left, so they were picking some up. Only Jackson didn’t have any shredded cheese. Just blocks. So I chopped it, which worked surprisingly well and made the natives very happy.
After a disproportionate amount of ribbing directed at Charlie for being “dramatic” about injuries and life in general, we finally tipped him over. It took about two hours to get the old Charlie back. During this time, I reflected on my own character flaws and came to the conclusion that I’m pretty mean. This isn’t new information, of course, but there is no sugar coating it. You gotta have thick skin to share a table with me. Charlie — bless his heart — still doesn’t meet the grade. I want to be clear that this is a virtue rather than a flaw.
I am happy to report that by sunset, Charlie had returned to his happy self. My job is done here. There will be plenty of egos to bruise tomorrow. I will need my rest.