CHATTING AROUND THE CAMPFIRE Lake Ozette VII: Poundings, kayaks and a hotel single

By Duane Miles


After day two’s over-and-back crossing of the Queets River, this hiker dared not risk being stranded by high water. The planned backpacking trip to start on day three was thus put on hold. In the meantime, there would be a pleasurable sojourn at the campground.


But had I been stranded, a backup plan was available to the prudent.


Therefore, if a hiking group is faced with this issue, a vehicle can be spotted at the end of a DNR road on the north side of the river.


Hiking from the trail to the end of that road is not more than a mile. I believe that road is the Q3300-017.


Back at the campground, we campers overhauled our campsite.


An elaborate weather protection awning came out from under one of the pickup canopies for placement over the picnic table.


And I reinforced elements of my personal lodging.


This was just in time, for we took an even harder pounding on Friday night (night 3).


After that pounding, an on-foot river crossing was now out of the question for any sane person; so it was all the fellas could do to restrain me at the river’s edge.


They finally convinced me that with a river flow rate now at 22,000 cfs, compared to 1,000 a day earlier, a crossing might not be the best idea.


Dragging me back to camp, those fellows first pointed to my tent now sitting in the middle of a small pond.


Then they pointed at a fire struggling to maintain that designation.


Then it was pointed out that there was not one single place to sit comfortably around that fire.


Lastly, after we all noted that all food-stuffs were barely fit for human consumption, those other guys explained there would always be another day.


I relented.


With this new persuasion solidly fixed under my hat, I quickly concurred that it was time to head home.



Back now, to those pleasant Lake Ozette days of last July.


The weather couldn’t have been better for a group of kayakers to glide along the lake’s shoreline to Ericson Bay. The starting point for that venture was at the lake’s outlet near the ranger station, about 5.5 miles away. Nearly all of those kayaks were single-seaters.


But how could those 11 Royal Ranger members have all of the finest of campout amenities with barely room for themselves in those sleek water crafts?


The answer is quite simple.


A couple guys would have to surrender their firm position among the elite core of kayaking thrill seekers. So, reluctantly, I volunteered to help Mike Hopf transport all essential gear with a power boat for campout comfort and convenience.


After all, it is often necessary for someone to sacrifice for the good of others.


More about the power boat later.


While again touching on the story about two colossal lies told in 1951, here is a conclusion to that episode, in this format. (More about that account will be detailed in my upcoming book.)


During that era, my father was separated from the rest of us because no adequate rentals could be found in Forks.


Anyway, Mom attempted to reach him by phone one mid-week evening.


In doing so, she had to first speak with Antler Hotel owner, Mr. Andreson (the hotel once sat in downtown Forks).


The initial portion of that conversation consisted of an element of honesty being challenged.


For it seems that Mr. Andreson and his family were under the impression that my dad was single!


With that, I’ll now borrow some Forrest Gump: “That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”


To be continued …

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