The boys and I came in from summer with five trout in a bag, an empty can of Orange Crush, and $1.97 rhinestone sunglasses. I turned the car off and looked back at them. They each had their lovies – Boy Woww’s well-worn lamb and K-Pants’ reinforced blanket. They’d used them for car naps. “Guys, it’s been an epic summer.”
In the last five days of summer before school started, I was in the Wallowas in Eastern Oregon, Tacoma, Washington, Hood River, Mt. Hood, and Rhododendron.
I try to remind myself that I enjoy fall and look forward to winter. The mountains should get snow. The Coast should be moody and dramatic.
I’ve been thinking of stand up paddle boarding as my training for skiing. I am reasonable at green runs and afraid of blues. (For non-skiers, that’s like showing off your karate white belt.) But I dream of becoming a ski patroller someday. And a ninja warrior. If I think about these things enough, I can distract myself from summer’s end.
On the drive home from Sandy, Oregon, where we’d gone to Rainbow Trout Farm, I said, “I’m sad not to be thinking about what adventure is coming up next week.” “Me, too,” K-Pants said.
My grandpa taught me how to fish at Rainbow Trout Farm when I was about K-Pants’ age. The Pants has been learning how to fish this summer.
We’ve been up and down the Columbia and to Wallowa Lake. Apparently trout and salmon are most plentiful from mid-April through June. If you can confirm this, I would appreciate it.
We are discovering that fishing is simultaneously communal and solitary.
We asked outfitters and fishers in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon for tips and received generous advice on lures, bait, fishing holes, and knot-tying.
We also followed Weird Al deep into Eastern Washington for the boys’ first concert.
K-Pants turned ten this summer.
Boy Woww turned eight.
The Fairy Pig turned four.
She’ll become a card-carrying member of the adventure squad when she’s six, I think. But I’m scared.
As you can imagine, not only do the wheels come off the bus when this creature is around, there’s quite a bit of evidence that she unscrewed the lug nuts and rolled the wheels off a cliff.
But she’ll have to come along soon, because as of this summer the boys and I have a four-person tent.
We camped at Tucker Park in Hood River; Bridgeport, Maryhill, and Horsethief Lake State Parks in Washington; Wallowa Lake State Park in Oregon; and as a whole family at Lost Creek in the Mt. Hood Wilderness. I list all of these off because if you know me you know I am not a camper.
It turns out that camping at parks means having close neighbors with paper thin walls. So no one can pretend to be a perfect parent. I find that very liberating. “Look, we’re all strung out!”
Monday when we got home, we grilled trout thanks to a recipe on the side of the Reynolds Wrap foil. It tasted like summer.