Lake riding

Posted by Ken Campbell June 9, 2009 0 Comment 750 views

I have always been partial to salt water. Perhaps, if I’d grown up on the Great Lakes, I would find fresh water more intriguing – those bodies of water have much in common with the sea, after all – but I didn’t, and I don’t. Lakes are defined by their borders, and the smaller the lake, the more this is so. The ocean, however, is larger than any regional definition can handle, and exists as a force in the lives of all it touches. It is not simply a matter of scale; the ocean is not only a big thing, it is also a different thing.

With all that, on a gray and misty Saturday morning, I went for a paddle on Lake Quinault. I took the SUP out from the Falls Creek campground near the village, and set a course for the middle of the lake. I was surprised, having never paddled here before, how quickly I was able to get across the lake. I didn’t go all the way to the north shore, but I could have, and rather quickly. From my vantage point near the center, I could see the whole lake.

It was derby day on the lake and the fishhooks were flying, especially along the shore. I worked my way back to my starting point by paddling toward the southwestern corner of the lake, then back along the waterfront, just out of casting range. I saw one good-sized trout being taken on board a Bayliner, but that was the only catch I witnessed. Fathers and sons lined the more easily accessed points, and we exchanged smiles and waves as I passed before they went back to their task and I went back to mine.

I wasn’t out there long, a couple hours, tops. After I got back and dressed, I drove up to the Quinault Store for breakfast. I don’t remember the old owners, but the establishment is under new management now and I did notice an improvement. There’s a small cafe in the back with good food and smiling service, which set me up well for the rest of the day. It was, after all, barely 9:00 AM.

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