21 August 2007
Dr. Anaconda Lake Campout 2007
Everyone in Butte-Anaconda has their favorite family campground. There are many fine places for car-camping in our backyard, and it probably does not matter where you go. Lakes tend to be favorite spots, and Brown's, Pintler, Lower Seymour, Lower Bowman, Lower Miner, the Twins, and on and on and on--all have their vocal (well, most people probably think "their" lake is a best-kept secret) adherents. For my friends and family, it's "Dr. Anaconda" Lake in the North Big Hole. Typical of lower elevation (c. 7,000 feet) lakes, the fishing is fair-to-middling, the views are good, there are numerous hikes to nearby points of interest, and it's 80 miles of bad road to get there.
This year, Butte ex-patriots Brent & Karina & their two kids arrived early and held down some choice spots. The rest of the gang rolled in throughout the day Friday, and -- bless Brent & Karina -- sat down to a supper of shrimp in alfredo sauce over noodles.
Usually, we plan this campout for Labor Day, but what with daughter Emily heading back to college before then and complications in other folk's schedules, we moved things up a bit.
There were lots of smoke plumes from various local forest fires visible on the drive to the lake, so we did not expect the air to be very clear (smoke from the fire is at the vanishing perspective point for the road):
We were suprised when we got to the lake and found sunny skies at the finest sandy beach in Montana:What would a group campout be without a one-canoe "Polish" (Ouch. Sorry, Schahczenskis!) paddling contest among the teenage girls?:
Or a rainstorm that forces Brent & Karina to scramble their plans for a lake tour?:
Those girls might not know how to paddle a canoe, but they do know how to create art. Here are artists Katy (an exchange student from the Czech Republic) and Michelle (of YouTube video fame--see "President Bush Grills an Endangered Species" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wASzy-ikmYA):And what a beautiful sand sculpture horse, waiting for wind and waves to teach us all a humble lesson in the empheral nature of our own existence:
The local bald eagle, too, had something to teach us about patience (and catching fish). "America's symbol," someone told Katy. "Do they eat Iraqis?," someone else asked. Or Bushes?
The "men's hike" (well, we did invite the women folk) took us over by Frog Pond. That's AJ striking a contemplative pose along the shore:
It's an apt name:
Well, maybe we should begin calling it "Lee's UV-Bar Lake?" Someone must have thought a lot of old Lee, and I hope his spirit is still around. Brent, Don, Dave, and AJ agree:Celia brought this great birthday cake:
And here are the two birthday girls, Emily and Kenia, with brother Adler (the famous crackshot with a Red Ryder BB gun) on the right:
Appropriately enough, the weather turned cold and rainy as we pulled up to the house in Walkerville and began unloading the camping gear. It feels like the end of summer, and it would be nice to cool the fires. Whatever happens, we all have great memories to carry us over to next year's rendezvous: