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19 February, 2009

My Favorite Lake (So Far)

A couple of times now, work has taken me to Merrill Lake, southeast of Mount Saint Helens, close enough that the stream banks leading down to it show layer after layer of ash. No view of the volcano from the shores I have walked, but no need.

The hills surrounding Lake Merrill create a world apart. One little road leads in, and no motorboats are allowed. Anyone ignoring that rule will find themselves sucked into the lava tube at the bottom, then spit out into the headwaters of the Kalama River. The place has become more peaceful than it used to be--part of what brought me there was the search for a cluster of vacation cabins that were there more than 50 years ago. All that was left were a couple of insulators (they had electricity back here?) and glass melted when the ruins were burned.
Merrill Lake was Sasquatch-free as well when I was there, or at least I didn't see any. Just trees and breeze.

I did see this guy, however. Because of course my job was not to stroll around and idyllicize, but to monitor the destruction of one toilet and installation of another. In the photo, they've just smashed the vault of the old crapper. (Electricity, sure, but sewer line? No way.) The guy at the right is picking up concrete frags and tossing them in the hole (future archaeologists take note, this is a scheiss-haus disposal pit, not the ritual murder of one structure by the makers of another--or maybe it is). In any case, the guy gets done with that, and then grabs his can o' snuff and dips out a big lip-full. It was Copenhagen, so he wouldn't have tasted the fecal contam, anyway.

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