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If you’d ask Sky what she wanted for her third birthday, I’m sure she would have said “I want to go to the lake and I want you to throw sticks forever!” And Luna would have said “Let’s invite all of our friends and their people and have a party at the lake!” But I didn’t ask the dogs. I made a decision to go for a hike and take them along. The hike did feature a lake, twice, so Sky sort of got her wish. And Luna met some new people but she was mostly pretty tired and not very social for a change. One mountain bike rider complimented them on their good trail manners. I did not tell him that they were tired.

We hiked to Cutthroat Pass from the Cutthroat Lake side. It can also be accessed from Rainy Pass, following the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). But there are no lakes going that way. After some hot days here in the valley it was a refreshing 54 degrees when we started at the trailhead. Of course I was sweating by the time we got to the lake and the dogs were grateful for the cold water. They didn’t stay wet long as we climbed out of the forest and into the open rocky country on the approach to the pass. Kristen, from Methow Trails was one of the bikers and she is known for her wonderful photos. I was delighted when she asked for my camera to make photos of me with my dogs! After lunch, the dogs and I watched the mountain bikers descend and then walked quickly back to the lake. Sky was ecstatic. Luna was tired and she joined me, sitting in the shade nibbling on native huckleberries. After the 11 1/2 mile round trip they both slept all the way home.

What a place! We left the house at 8 am and drove for less than an hour on a paved road to a trail that took us to this gem of a lake! And we had it to ourselves. Amazing!

It was the last fun adventure in what has been a lovely staycataion – sharing good times with old friends and visiting some of the highlights of our neck of the woods. The time was interspersed with some work (one wedding and some gallery stuff), a couple of big rain storms and the resulting washed out road that serves our little neighborhood and dealing with a contractor for the repairs. But mostly it was lots of fun with Mary and then Kim and our beloved dogs. Let’s do it again soon!

These last couple of weeks I’ve been very lucky to share so much time in the mountains celebrating summer with dear friends and our dogs. On Wednesday Kim and I took our dogs up above Harts Pass and did an afternoon amble around a basin below Slate Peak. It’s a wonderful wildflower walk with lush green meadows and meandering streams. We climbed out of the basin to visit the lookout and take in the 360 degree views of the North Cascades. My dogs got to be in snow again in August. Last year I could not find any for them late in the summer. It is my goal to find snow for my dogs every month of the year. Luna loves snow. It’s a great relief to see it lingering into late summer once again. What a gorgeous day!

Mary had to cut her Washington vacation short rather abruptly when a wildfire threatened her community and even her home. So far her place is safe and hopefully will stay that way. She was able to get some stuff out when she returned and then stayed at a place out of danger. With fires threatening people and landscapes all over the west, we all seem to live in a state of fear during the summer.

But for one day, before the fire, we enjoyed a beautiful hike in the high country, going to the top of 8000 foot Tiffany Mountain. It was sunny and cool and NOT buggy! Once again we had incredible views – this time into the Pasayten Wilderness, the Sawtooth Mountains and even into the Okanogan Highlands. A perfect mountain day.

What’s more fun on a hot day than time spent at the lake? While Mary and Gus were here we went to Patterson Lake a few times. She brought one of her new stand up paddle boards so everyone got to try it – me, Ken and even Sky! It is not the kind of thing Luna wants to do. Mary and Gus already are experienced with this water sport. With only one board, someone was always throwing sticks or balls for the dogs so everyone enjoyed the water.

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