In need of a day off from reality, I headed up to my favorite spot west of Whitefish. The main lake, Upper Stillwater, is MY lake, has been for 22 years! There are three other lakes nearby, tiny ones nestled in canyon pockets, little gems to come upon after strenuous hikes. Two of them are well marked, I’ve been to them many times with all five of my dogs. But the third one has eluded me. The trail has never been quite clear and I’m a city girl at heart, leery of taking faint trails into true wilderness, “the one less traveled by.” So I studied the aerial map of the area and decided to be brave. Once I got up there it seemed more obvious this time where the trail was. Sadly, this is because more and more people have discovered this secluded area. But off we went. There was a lovely area where some group had recently laid a wonderful log path through a swampy area, where late monkey flowers, asters, and Queen Ann’s lace still bloomed.
After an hour and wondering where we were really going, the deep blue shine of a lake appeared. Well worth the hike. Coop slopped around in the water and I relaxed in the shade.
Then Coop said enough, let’s go! He’s been the model dog lately, a good hiking buddy, I was ready if he was.
Little did he know kayaking was next – not his favorite thing. Aside from having to be drug into the kayak, he rode like a pro, not barking at mergansers, herons, or threatening stumps.
I guess I’ve never been there at exactly this time of year as there was a bloom of flowers I’ve never seen before – so many it looked like snow on the water. The weather was perfect and, despite more visitors to the area, I only saw one canoe in all our time on the water.
As a treat each time I go, I pay a visit to “my homestead.” It’s deteriorating rapidly, a whole wall falling over since the last time I visited. Overgrown now with trees and suffering through many brutal winters, it will be more a part of the earth soon than of man-made things and its story will be lost.