There's a lot to like about Kalaloch, our favorite camping spot on Washington's Pacific coast. On the very first day of each year's visit, once we get the tent set up and our hunger under control, we usually head down the short trail and find ourselves out on the sand. And inevitably, our first instinct is to turn left and head to the lagoon.
Ranger knows the way.
Here's the thing about the lagoon. It's not really a lagoon. My daughters made up that name when they were young, and it stuck in our family lexicon.
This place is actually a small freshwater lake fed by a stream that runs down from the mountains. Eventually, the current carries the water out to the sea. Heaps of beach logs and mounds of fabulously smooth stones lie here and there around the lake shore. Sheltered from the strong winds off the ocean, this spot makes a perfect and protected natural playground for humans and animals alike.
Ranger loves it here. As usual, he worked up a powerful thirst on the five-minute walk over, and did what always comes naturally to dogs in this place. He promptly waded out into the lake, lapping up water like a little red camel. I held his leash and kept him company.
In the meantime, the rest of the family did what always comes naturally to humans in this place. They climbed. Up across the beach logs, zigging and zagging over the tumbled trunks, until finally they reached the highest spot of the biggest tree.
That's when Ranger looked up.
My people went climbing without me!!
Not gonna lie, Ranger has some pretty solid beach-log-climbing skills himself. When he climbs along with us, he can easily scale a tree of this size.
But to turn around and suddenly see his girl up so far away from him - well, that was just too much for the Irish gentleman to bear.
He begged and pleaded.
He really wanted to be up with my fourth-born in that tree.
We tried to coax him into jumping.
I struggled to lead him around to the back of the tree where he could more easily climb up.
Failing those strategies, I attempted to distract him with a different adventure.
But Ranger was simply not willing to give up.
My daughter soon took pity on him - or maybe she got tired of her ears bleeding - and decided to climb down.
Which calmed Ranger considerably.
And I should have left well enough alone.
But I kept thinking that it looked so fun to be inside of that upturned tree. I just had to try it for myself.
He wasn't even mad this time.
He didn't bark or yip or jump around with excited agitation.
He just stood there, ankle deep in the chilly water, staring despondently at first my daughter...
And then up at me.
I can handle Ranger when he is naughty or hyper, full of sass or misbehaving.
But I can't resist him when he is sad.
So I climbed out of that tree, jumped back down on the beach, ran over to my poor sad dog, and gave him a great big hug.
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Three stories about this year's camping trip to the Pacific coast:
And here are some stories about my 2012 trip to the Kalaloch coast: