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Last year we visited Blackpine Lake on April 23rd and it was still mostly ice-covered and there was enough snow that we parked a ways away from the campground. You can see a blog post from last year here. We went this week on April 8th and drove all the way to the lake and found much less ice. It is such an early spring.

MA managed to catch three fish this time. Sky was completely obsessed with her fishing pole and was no help at all. She could not stand the thought that her good friend was standing on a dock with a stick in her hand and flailing it about and yet not throwing it in the water. I finally had to leash her and DRAG her away from the dock. And then she was cold and wet. We sat down on a bench and Sky scooted right in close to me, shivering. Have you ever hugged a wet dog? She soon quit shivering but still wanted, more than anything to return to MA.

All the dogs enjoyed some time in the water, even young Quincy. He looks like he’ll be a good swimmer too.

 

 

Lost Lake is in the Okanogan Highlands, northeast of Tonasket and north of Bonaparte Lake. It is in the forest at nearly 4000′ elevation; a little colder than Chopaka Lake. There is a lovely wetland, home to many birds, on the south end. On the north end, there is a Forest Service campground, first established by the CCC in the 1940’s. It still has an old fashioned feeling about it that I like. There are also a few cabins around the lake and two private camps. The Okanogan Highlands Alliance bought much of the marsh and some of the uplands on the south side to protect these important habitats.

I have been visiting this place for at least fifteen years and I never tire of it. It’s hard to put my finger on one thing and say ‘this is why I like it’. Maybe it’s the historic nature of the place, the slower pace, the lack of development. Or maybe it’s the loons. Common Loons nest on Lost Lake and few other lakes in Washington – mostly in Ferry County to the east. I will have another post just about the loons at Lost Lake.

Ken caught lots of brook trout while we were there and we did not go hungry. We even had fish to share with others and we had one dinner party at our campsite and another with our neighbors! I enjoyed early morning paddles on the lake watching the loons and other birds and frogs and turtles too.

What fun to finally get my kayak back on the water. It’s been a challenging spring with lower back pain slowing me down at every turn. It is on the mend and while it’s not pain-free, it’s mostly tolerable. The weather is improving this week too. Yesterday was even what you might call warm. Well, depending on where you live and what you’re used to!

I moved stuff around the garage on Saturday and dragged the boat outside to hose off the dust and other winter accumulations; yesterday I put the racks on my car and finally, finally I loaded my boat with some trepidation anticipating that spasm of back pain. I managed without causing anymore pain so I took off for the lake. Ken and the dogs followed a while later with the fishing boat. I saw some Wood Ducks and a pair of Hooded Mergansers and Canada Geese, in addition to lots of singing Yellow-rumped Warblers and other song birds. It was nice to get out if even for just a short while. Today I’m a little sore but mostly tolerable still.

 

 

I had told MA that we needed a dock to see if Sky would ‘dock dive’. It seems a bit lofty to think of an eight month old puppy being ready to take on the big world of dock diving but her enthusiasm for swimming seems to be boundless. MA said she knew where there was a dock but the lake might still be frozen. She likes to go there before spring really arrives and other folks are fishing up there. So we loaded the dogs and headed into the mountains. Sure enough, we hit snow on a shady part and I fretted about going through it without snow tires but when I saw how much farther we had to go, I bucked up and drove my subaru through it without any problem. There was some snow that was pretty soft and squishy but we got through that too. Finally made it to the top and then had a reasonably short walk to the lake. Most of it was still ice-covered but not around the dock. And sure enough, Sky was happy to jump off the dock and swim for a stick or the tennis ball that she found in the campground. Luna was happy to watch. Frida jumped a couple of times too. After a while the dogs and I went for a walk and left MA to her fishing and when she was done with her worms, she had five nice trout for supper! On the way home, we saw a Dusky Grouse and he must have seen something he liked about us or my car because he soon puffed up in all of his courtship finery.

Last week the dogs and I drove across the state and met Ken for a few days of razor clam digging. He’d been working on the Olympic Peninsula and the timing was good for a clam season. These seasons happen about once a month between November and April on the Washington coast. In addition to clam digging there was lots of other fun on the beach. Ken fished for surf perch. His brother joined us for one night. Our friend Mary Ann and her dog Frida and her friend Linda spent two nights there. The dogs loved running and chasing balls on the beach. Sky became seriously addicted to the ‘chuck it’ toy. We had some seriously good weather for February and some normal overcast and rainy weather too.

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