Dog Days of Summer

Where: at our summer job at Rock Creek Lakes Resort

I hope you’ve seen the wonderful cult classic Harold and Maude, in which septuagenarian Maude and 18-year-old Harold fall in love.  Along those lines, there’s a love story at the Resort even more unusual: Luke and Patty.  In this story, the lovebirds are separated by more than 65 years, a couple feet of height, and a tail. See, Patty is our recently retired co-worker who spent the last 10 years working at the Resort, and Luke is the King’s dog.  Disregarding familial associations, Luke is completely devoted to Patty, and never gets so excited as when she’s around. Yesterday, Patty came up to Rock Creek from her home in sweltering Big Pine to hike with us in the relative cool, and it was a given that we would take along both Luke, and Amy and Steve’s dog, Birch.

Good dogs sitting for a treat:

Tamarack trailhead starts from the side of Rock Creek Lake, a short walk from the Resort. It’s a lesser used trail system, mainly leading to a couple really long trails that most dayhikers don’t want to tackle. There’s also a few shorter hikes to little lakes that are often dry in drought years, but with all the runoff this year, we guessed that everything would be full.

Still plenty of snow in the mountains above and behind us:

Kenneth Lake is the most ephemeral, generally just a dry, concave field. Now, it’s a lush oasis, full of frogs and tadpoles, and wildflowers in the marshy edges.

Our final destination was Francis Lake, which JJ and I have never seen. There were all kinds of small streams running alongside and next to the trail, and at first I tried to keep my feet dry. One stretch of trail was bound in by dense willows, and there was no way to avoid the sucking mud the water had made of the trail. JJ and Patty were fine in their over the ankle boots, but I almost lost a shoe to the muck. The dogs looked like Pigpens, tearing around until they were covered in brown.

Birch prefers snow to mud:

The lake was a real treat. The water was perfectly clear and cool, and the dogs had a great time fetching sticks and getting drinks as they paddled around. There were wildflowers all over the lower slopes, and the banks above were still snow covered. The behemoth of the canyon, Mount Morgan, loomed above, and I thought about co-workers who had made the long difficult trek to the top at 13,748 feet. We were happy to watch the dogs play and soak our feet while having a snack.

The dogs were still crazy men until the final half mile of the hike. They spent most of their time tearing back and forth, covering about 3 times as much ground as we were. Because we were reentering civilization (and cars) we leashed them back up at the top of the last hill that leads back to the lake. That little stop was just too much for the tuckered puppies, who both took the opportunity to lie down, and then didn’t want to get back up. We had to keep pulling them to get them to finish up the hike, and they both passed out in their doghouse the moment we got back to the Resort.


Besides that, whoo-boy, it’s getting to the busy time of year. Our cabins are full the whole month of July, and most of them turn over on Fridays and Saturdays, which make for heavy days. On Friday, I exercised and took a walk before work. Then I cleaned 4 cabins, closed down the cafe kitchen and then closed down the store. It may have been my best ever day for steps, at 38,000!  The main thing I want to do in the midst of all this is just walk around the lake and enjoy the views.

Til next week!


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