We arrived at the campsite later than expected but even in the approaching darkness I could see it was a beautiful site.
Carved out of a rise at the lake's shoreline, it nestled in it's own private glen.
With the lake lapping at one side, dark cliffs rose on three remaining sides to surround us like welcoming arms.
My eight-year-old daughter and I hurried to transport everything from our car, slipping and sliding on a steep pathway, and set up camp before darkness totally overtook us.
Finally the tent was set up, the air matresses and blankets were spread out and the lantern was lit. Hungry but exhausted, we hurriedly searched our food supply for something to munch on and then settled in for the night.
We had been anticipating this trip for months. Since making the reservation in May we talked often about all the things we could do. Long before it was time to leave my daughter had everything packed and had planned what she wanted to do every day. Fishing and swimming were at the top of her list. Reading and relaxing were at the top of mine.
Sometime during the night it turned cold. Even though it was August, the temperature dipped to 45 degrees.
We later learned that was unusual for that time of year but we shivered in our tent on the lake and wondered why we had chosen the mountains instead of the seashore for our camping adventure.
As I lay awake unable to get warm with just the blankets we brought, I began to wonder if we would be able to enjoy the fishing and swimming, reading and relaxing we had anticipated. My daughter tossed and turned in her sleep so I pulled her close and we kept each other warm. Thinking we might have to pack up and leave early I finally drifted off into a restless sleep.
In the morning I was unwilling to crawl from my bed. I looked over to where my daughter knelt holding the tent flap open.
"What's wrong?" I asked as I pushed blankets away.
"Shh, Mom." She turned and put her finger to her lips and opened the tent flap wider.
Then as if talking too loud might spoil the scene, she whispered, "Look, isn't it pretty?"
It was indeed pretty!
The lake lay a short distance from our tent shrouded in a chilly mist. In the sky to our left the sun cut through the mist with shafts of pale yellow light. Across the lake dark forms emerged as rowboats anchored at other campsites. Birds darted from tree to tree as black shapes in the lightening sky. Eerie and amazing, the scene was like something out of a mystery novel.
It had been a cold uncomfortable night after a long exhausting journey, but the awesome sight we were treated to when we awoke could only be a gift from God. This beautiful place was ours to explore for the next seven days.
We would enjoy a warm breakfast then go into town and buy sleeping bags and warmer clothes just in case the cold weather lasted. We would alter our plans a little; horseback riding instead of swimming, but it was going to be the fun relaxing vacation we had anticipated after all.
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