Sunday, June 6, 2010

Takin' a Break at Clear Lake

Clear Lake through the trees

Ted’s day, on Day 9, began with a nice long descent as he came down off of Tombstone Pass. But when you’re in the Cascades, what goes down will then again go up again. His afternoon would be spent climbing the Santiam Pass. But before that we decided to take a break at Clear Lake.

Clear Lake is a special place that holds many memories for us both. It was at Clear Lake that Ted was first allowed to camp alone with a buddy during his high school years. Clear Lake is where I first camped with Ted back when he and I were dating. On this trip I met Ted’s sister Patty and my soon to be nephews and niece Jason, Jeff, and Heather. If I remember correctly they were six, seven and eight at the time. Michael, the youngest, was a toddler and had to stay at home with his grandmother.

Beautiful Clear Lake
The lake was beautiful with pristine, clear water. We spent lots of time rowing the kids around the lake. If I remember correctly, Ted was a bit disappointed with the weather and that someone stole our wine, which we had cooling in the lake. But other than that, it was a good trip. One memory that stands out in my mind is of the little guys chopping wood. I held my breath every time they swung the axe. I guess Patty and Ted knew better than me, that this was an age-appropriate activity for them and they were proud that they could help prepare our fire by chopping the wood.

Today they are all grown up and are wonderful young adults. When I ask them if they remember our trip to Clear Lake their memories of it are vague at best. And while they may not remember this trip so well, what we have with them, instead of specific early memories, is a special relationship formed from the culmination of all the times we have spent together. And to me this is priceless. Jason will join his uncle for the last two days of the WAO, Jeff will visit in August, Heather, along with her husband Ben and new baby Isabel, have asked us to visit Kiev where they are now stationed, and Michael has been a great supporter of the WAO since its inception.

Ted greats the gentlemen that offered him a ride the day before

I have since returned to Clear Lake for more leisurely visits. I have hiked its perimeter, explored the lave flows that come down to its western shores, and shown its beauty to many of my friends. And on this day, Ted and I took a break at Clear Lake and enjoyed a great lunch at the seasonal cafe. And if you like homemade pie well this is the place.

This gave Ted the energy he would need that afternoon as he walked up and over the Santiam Pass. With the intersection of Hwy 22 and Hwy 126, Hwy 20 became a much busier road. And Ted was facing the oncoming traffic coming out of the Bend/Sisters area. He was climbing, the road was curvy, and he didn’t have much shoulder to work with. As WAO Sag Wagon driver, with the exception of Day 2, the construction day, this was my most anxious time. Even though I spent some time hiking around Suttle Lake that afternoon, I couldn’t really relax. And it goes without saying that I was glad to pull him off that mountain that afternoon soon after he was on the downside of the Santiam Pass. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Ted with Mt. Washington in the background after crossing the Santiam Pass

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