This story is dedicated to Carrie, because she wanted me to write this one.
When I was probably about thirteen or so, we decided to have a grand adventure. Don’t ask me exactly who all “we” were – I remember my cousin Hazen was there because he whined about the experience all the rest of our growing up (Hazen, bless his heart, was notoriously wimpy when it came to grand adventures) (Sorry, Hazen, but it’s true).
So, there was me, and Hazen, and my sister Carrie because she told me so, although why I would have dragged her along is beyond me . . . she must have only been about seven or eight at the time. I must have been in a very good mood to let such a little thing tag along.
Other fellow adventureres? If I had to guess I would say probably Larry and my cousin Everett, and hmm, maybe Leslee?
So it was a hot, boring day. I remember sitting in the humid air of the pool house, lamenting the sterile conditions of an indoor swimming pool. Somehow either Larry or I knew about some “hidden lakes” – not first hand knowledge mind you, but legends, like secrets, told among fellow adventurers. The story was if you just followed the creek far enough . . .
And so we set off in our swim suits and flip flops – down the hill to where the creek crossed under the road, and then down to the creek bottom, rocky and cold. We went up the creek, against the current – the only way we ever went, though I’m not sure why.
Trouble was, we’d played at that waterway for as long as forever. We’d walked up the bed as far as children are ever willing to walk of their own accord; and we’d never seen any lakes.
But today we were determined. Even if it meant we’d walk all the way to the head waters.
And so we spent the afternoon shin deep in mountain runoff, meandering our way through the cottonwoods, the afternoon light dappled through their canopy. After a long while we passed the “farthest point” we had been too. Still, the heat of the day encouraged us to push on.
But after a certain point we became bored of our game, and wanted only to go home.
And that is always the worst part – the part where you realize that you just want to go home, but you have still that entire way to return!
Thinking we must not be too very far from home, and knowing that the creek wove in and out of familiar roads, we thought our quickest exit would simply be to climb the bank and berm and find the nearest road.
And so up the creekside we went, only to find a neatly trimmed hedge, clearly marking someone’s property. The hedge was only four feet high or so, no trouble to a capable kid. So we crossed right over to find:
A hidden lake sparkling in the afternoon sun! Like a dream there was a willow, her branches weeping into the water, ducks floated over the murky green, and across the way was a charming (humongous) house.
Still tired and hot from the afternoon, even the excitement of our discovery couldn’t sway us to stay. Perhaps the people in the house would know the quickest way home . . . perhaps they would even give us a ride.
We walked around the lake and to the side of the house, approaching the garage and front – when suddenly we heard the menacing clamor and bark of two very large dogs approaching. And then, around the corner of the house they shot – two doberman pinchers making their way, full speed straight at us.
“Run!” is all I remember yelling. And then it was every man for himself, as we all darted and dove, and ran in mad dash for cover. Hazen ran straight for the house, and actually took sanctuary inside. Larry and I made it back to the creek, although we were separated. Carrie, the true hero of the day, ran into the woods and fell down a four foot embankment where one of the dogs overtook her. But, as was reported later, the dog had no interest in eating her, but licking her instead.
Later, after we had our wits about us, Larry and I decided we must return to gather everyone up (at least what remained . . .) and so we timidly retraced our steps, looking for the others. We found everyone, Carrie very last. And then an old man in a golf cart appeared and asked what the heck we were doing. We explained ourselves, and he bemused that we were lucky the dogs didn’t find us. He loaded us up in his cart and shuttled us down his long, long drive to the road – the very back end of Walker Lane. Though we knew where we were in relation to home, it was going to be a long, long walk.
I returned to the Three Lakes (for later we found that there were three lakes, each one feeding into the next) only a handful of times over the coming years (always avoiding the house with the dogs). After that first visit we always came and went via the creek, and I don’t remember how to get there on the road. But I have this strange and ghostly memory of being there with Ashley, my best friend from Waterford. She lived at the top of Walker Lane, and the three lakes must have been in her ward boundaries. I shall have to ask her what she knows about them – where they are, who lives on them, and the sort of things grown ups like to know.
In writing this I think I shall also add “Walk the creek” to my list of things to do next summer. It would be great fun to revisit the setting of not only this, but many other childhood adventures.
I’m going to try and write down memories I have – for my little lovelies who always ask “Tell me a story of when you were a kid . . .”
I’m going to call them “Tales for Tuesdays” – and will try to write one a week . . . unless of course something else happens. In which case I won’t.