Dad had another brilliant idea. Since everyone else in the family was busy on the Fourth of July, why not take the dogs for a hike up to Lake Margaret. It seemed like a perfect plan. It was a chance to get out of the city, and enjoy the fresh air in the mountains, and when they reached the alpine lake, the dogs could take a swim. And Dad would only have to carry enough dog water to reach the top, since he could refill his water jugs at the lake. It was a perfect plan.
Dad and Mongo and Spork set off for the mountain after Dad finished the last of his chores around the house. Unfortunately, that got them started a little late on the trail head. And to add to the lateness, the construction crews on I-90 had replaced the signs on that stretch of the highway with new text, which Dad didn’t recognize, so he passed the exit for Gold Creek. (Which isn’t listed on the signs anymore.) He had to go up to the next exit and then drive all the way back to where he wanted to go, which added another 30 minutes to their lateness.
By the time they started up the trail, it was mid-afternoon, and the temperature was in the mid-90’s. To add to the misery, the sun was so bright, ants were bursting into flame without the aid of a magnifying glass. It was into this inferno that Dad and the two dogs plunged. They made it about 10 minutes up the trail, when Mongo found a stream and departed the trail in search of some cool water in which to bathe.
About another ten minutes on the trail, Mongo and Spork looked so hot, Dad stopped for a water break for the dogs.
Ten minutes later, the dogs stopped on the trail again. The huddled in the shade under some trees, and sat down. Dad gave the rest of the three litres of water he was carrying to the dogs. He looked around. He had traveled a quarter of the way to the lake and the dogs had already drank all their water. He asked them, “What do you guys want to do?”
Mongo and Spork were splayed out on the ground panting furiously. “Does anyone else want to keep going?” He took a few tentative steps uphill. No one else moved. He took a few steps downhill. Both dogs took off past him and kept running down the trail. Dad recognized what this meant; it was a mutiny. But in the best traditions of failed leadership, he decided to call it a democracy, and follow the dogs back to the truck.
They never did get to see the lake. On the plus side, they did get to see a para-sailor land on the Gold Creek Forest Road right in front of them.