Big. Red. Fish.
To me, warmer weather means hiking, camping, canoeing and shouting nonsensical things in the wilderness.
In the olden days, hubby and I would drive along Copper River Road. We would drive to the river and take a hike; then it became a hike and a snack; then it became a short walk and elaborate tarp arrangements and a barbecue; finally, it was simply a set up for supper as near to the truck as possible, no hike involved.
This only took a few months to evolve from sweaty hungry hike to delicious dinner prep. We drove along that twisty, diamond-sharp-gravelled road often that summer. We got a few flat tires, which was part of the adventure.
One time a juvenile moose was travelling along opposite to us, looking like it might veer out into the road and charge us head-on. It would gallop along in the ditch, then change its mind and aim toward our excellent red truck, and then go toward the ditch again. It was frightening, the teen-moose’s eyes all wild and its tall, ungainly knees bouncing up and down, and when it looked like we were in for it, I shouted, “Duck!”
Which I did, I ducked. Good thing hubby chose elsewise, kept his eyes on the road and on the moose-ling, and navigated us away from the oversized youth.
“Duck?” he asked. Never mind.
Another time we were camping along a tributary of the Skeena River. We (the husband, the kid and I) were camped on the roadside of the beach on the river. Hubby took the canoe to the opposite bank to do some fishing.
No problem, only the Skeena River is mighty and I saw, from the safe shore, that the canoe was drifting fast, straining at its skimpy rope, and the calm husband casting from a standing position could be swept away to the far shores of the wild north coast at Rupert.
Distracting me from my intense worry that my hubby would end up in Japan, a hummingbird kept circling my kid’s red backpack, saying, Please be a flower, please be a flower!
Then, it happened: a huge deciduous tree—an alder or cottonwood—gave its life to the Skeena, lost its rooted footing and crashed with a thunderous splash into the fast water.
“Whale!” I shouted. Yup.
“Whale, Mom?” asked the kid. Well, um, now you watch yourself, be careful that hummingbird doesn’t mistake your red hair for a flower and poke you right in the eye.
Hubby paddled back. “Whale?” he asked. Yes, you were both on the whale-watching trip, that’s exactly what it sounded like. And you, do you have any fish for dinner? Alrighty then.
Another day, late summer, we paddled the canoe from a beach at Lakelse Lake to Williams Creek and paddled uphill, like a returning salmon. Kid was in the King of the Nile position, in the middle on a pile of cushions, paddle stowed and Lawrence of Arabia hat plunked on his head. I was up front in the Queen of Sheba spot, paddle in use but not providing all that much forward motion. Hubby was in the Voyageur seat at the back, where he steered and actually made the boat go.
As we travelled from sparkling sunlight to deep shade, I saw what was below. The creek was chock full of giant salmon. “Big!” I yelled. I pointed frantically and shouted, “Red!” I turned so they could hear me and clarified: “Fish!”
Say it, it’s fun: Big. Red. Fish. Those two do it now: All. The. Time.