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Chatting Around the Campfire: Lake Ozette IV

By Duane Miles

 

Catch-up: Picking up on the trail of those cougar-frightened elk from the beginning of this tale last week, Bill and I had no problem whatsoever in following those charging hoof prints.

 

Descending critters such as in this case leave a trail that even Mr. Magoo could follow.

 

Usually, these animals while under such stress will take the course less-traveled. Following that pattern, this herd avoided traditional trail. Instead, they carved a route through geographical terrain that no trained engineer technician would consider for a trail or a road.

 

Anyway, Bill and I followed this day-old sign for over a mile to the Missouri River – or, rather, no-tell’em river, if you know what I mean.

 

Here it was obvious those animals had crossed that unidentified stream and headed for St. Louis – or at least in that general direction.

 

We hunters decided it wise to abandon our mission, but before we left that region, two older elk carcasses were discovered.

 

That cougar had been busy.

 

In an era just prior to the election of John F. Kennedy as America’s youngest president, (Theodore Roosevelt actually held the office one year younger at 42, but only because of McKinley’s assassination in 1901) an abandoned two-story house stood near Lake Ozette’s Jarsted Point.

 

Based on a name inscribed on a nearby headstone, this homestead structure had once housed the Loveless family.

 

I’m not sure whether the structure still stands today.

 

Exploring that empty house was a captivating experience for this teenager in 1960. I recall seeing newspaper used as wall covering.

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t record newspaper dates or article content or take any photos back then. Nor did other family members.

 

By the way, the date of the gravestone was 1913. The young girl buried there was just 3 years of age. There was no hint of what had befallen her. Perhaps her parents were simply too grief-stricken to add any of those details.

 

At the point where all readers were abruptly chopped off in the telling of a tale about a possible colossal lie by an 8-year-old boy to his mother in 1951, that true account now continues. Of course, I only mention this story here because it also will appear in a book nearing publication.

 

Along with my mother’s directive to my brothers and me to stay away from that axe attached to a woodshed chopping block, there was a comment suggesting that danger lurked there.

 

But my eyes back then saw no anger. Garden of Eden similarity?

 

That tool held an immediate fascination to me. To me, it wasn’t just a mere tool, but a toy as well.

 

I resolved to put my hands on that tool/toy at the earliest opportunity. It would be at a time when I would be seen.

 

Now don’t get me wrong, I was never one to be disobedient.

 

But this was different.

 

For surely, there was justification for doing things my way here, right? Certainly I was old enough to learn how to use an axe, I reasoned. So if no one was willing to teach me, I’d teach myself.

 

After all, at this crucial point in my life, my father didn’t have the time to teach me such an insignificant skill, even though he journeyed from Forks to Brinnon every weekend.


 To be continued …

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