Chatting Around the Campfire: Lake Ozette V

By Duane Miles

Four old-timers at the Olympic National Park’s Queets River campground in late September only caught a glimpse from time to time of a darting marauder in their midst, a resident mouse which required their vigilance over tabletop provisions.
But was this the possible dreaded factor which sometimes causes local campouts to suddenly make the comforts of home a major topic ‘round a struggling fire?
No, a mischievous mouse was not the ruin of that campout.
Rain clobbered the bliss of extreme comfort on night No. 2. That was nearly 24 hours before even the possible threat of such an occurrence had been forecast.
Nonetheless, I should have taken the normal precautions. I should have battened down the hatches — secured my rain fly by way of guylined stakes.
Consequently, with the fly against the tent wall and the tent wall against my sleeping bag, dampness brought me troubled slumber.
Not the only trip detail ruined by rain.

More on that later.

Returning now to that Royal Ranger outing to Lake Ozette last July, what could possibly be an answer as to why the old guy of the group, for no apparent outward reason, had been suddenly elevated to a first night place of honor around the campfire? (One clue is within that opening statement.)
Here are two more: It
wasn’t something I had done, but rather something I was
not able to prevent from
Still perplexed?
Last clue: Some things when cut in half become more desirable than the whole.
Those of you who have obtained a trip permit from the park service have no doubt figured out this trivia question.
For when a park employee asked senior commander Zeigler whether there might be some in his group over 65, an answer of “yes” was his reply.
My presence had nearly cost of that outing in half.
I only bring this up because old folks have value still.

Let’s now work toward a labored conclusion to the tale of an 8-year-old boy lying with an axe in his hand.
Actually, truth was he lied to his mother about how he received a cut on his finger.
No questions about the axe or any other issue were ever brought up.
Though I didn’t get into trouble, I learned a valuable lesson which I’ve tried to follow with little success ever since: Make sure all your stupid mistakes happen when no one else is around.
Next week, I’ll touch on a little white lie my father told in 1951. He lived at Forks Antler hotel while his wife and family were in Brinnon. Some of you might be thinking that lie was woven into a conversation with his wife.
Not so.
Nonetheless it did result in an immediate hotel eviction upon its discovery.

To be continued …

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