Kraken Cove and a Fine Whine

Michaele AlexanderThe Open Range

Kraken Cove.  At the far side and far end of the lake a particular spot hosts the remains of two ancient trees which had been hewn down perhaps a century ago, obviously before the dam that holds this body of water had been erected.  Weather worn to a sooty white grey, their roots reach with an almost menacing beauty from the dramatically sloping shore into the lake like strange mythical sea creatures.

A couple of years before our kids had dubbed it “Kraken Cove” and yesterday that was our intended destination.  So off we went to launch our bright yellow sit in and red sit on top big box store kayaks, perky dogs in tow for a lovely bit of paddling.  At the water’s edge the canine contingency could barely contain themselves.

Our fuzzier dog, Wookie a hairy mid sized mix of truly nebulous origin enthusiastically waded in to go fishing (never catches anything) and Cinnamon, our Jack Russell – Dachshund, ears pricked to the sights and sounds in the tall grass and reeds went “bugging” along the shore (does at times catch something and eats it with great relish, eew).  As they did we assembled paddles, arranged our watercraft to best launch effect and stuck the kids in life vests in preparation for the journey ahead.  After a brief discussion, it was determined that my husband, being taller and stronger with a bigger boat would take Wookie and Cinnamon would travel with me.

Always ready to go boating, Cinnamon came enthusiastically when I called her.  Not right away though.  She had to go bugging through every tuft of grass along the way.  It was a perpetual conflict.  “Boating yay!  Bugging yay!”  Every single step of the way.  I would have gone to retrieve her with the lead if it wasn’t so cute.  Suffice it to say when she finally arrived at the kayaks I was blue in the face.  As she reared up on her stout hind legs ready to make the jump to board my kayak I couldn’t help but notice her underside which was lavishly covered in sticky lakeside mud.  Instinctively I made an on the spot executive decision.

Snatching her delicately around the middle before she launched onto the freshly washed towel I had taken pains to line the aft storage compartment with, I dangled her muddy feet and belly in the water waving her back and forth like some chubby infant before placing her gently into her snuggly nest.  With great contentment she viewed her special place in the world looking as smug and pleased as a dog can look.  She was ready for whatever excitement her humans had cooked up for her.  But until it occurred, she could wait in this happy place.

Wookie on the other hand (generally known to be the better listener of the two) was still following the tiny fish back and forth, occasionally leaping high into the air and pouncing with great focus.  Reluctantly she tore herself away from this most beloved pastime and came to the boats when I called.  Ever eager to please, since it was me who had called her, she hopped right into my boat soaking the interior with mud and water, stood for a count of two, hopping obediently right out again when I screamed “Nooooo!”  Thinking she had fulfilled my request she went back to fishing.

Then began the struggle between her distracting desire to remain fishing and her secondary desire to be in my kayak where she thought she now belonged vs on top of my husband’s where we wanted her.  He would call her and she would jump into my boat.  I would reprimand her and tell her to “get in Daddy’s boat” to whit she would, but only briefly.  It was a comedy of errors that was soon enough solved, but resulted in wet, muddy boats.  Cinnamon resting comfortably in the aft of my kayak was completely unperturbed through it all.

With our friends atop (for most of the way) their SUPs (stand up paddle boards), and their son (of course) on a matching yellow mini kayak to our daughter’s we set off for Kraken Cove.  The wind, a slight breeze moments before, decided at the time of departure to fly briskly from the west as if consciously toying with our efforts.  But did that thwart us?  Nay.  Brave and intrepid souls that we be, we dug ever deeper into the surface of the lake with great determination, our paddles attempting to pull the scenery past us.  We were headed towards adventure after all.

We had gained perhaps a mere six or seven yards before it started.  The horrendous teeth distressing, high pitched whine.  And it was emanating from our dog.  Wookie was turning right and left beseeching us to rectify lord knows what and achieving a pitch every bit as annoying as the chipmunk alarm, but with less rhythm.

“Wookie!  No!”  She stopped.  We paddled on.  “Oooohweee!”  “Wookie, stop it!”  Silence.  Then, “Ooooooh Weeeeee!”  This ritual was to repeat itself all the way across the lake.  We checked to make sure that she was comfortable.  She was obviously not scared.  Everyone tried a hand in getting her to stop.  We cajoled, consoled, pleaded, reprimanded.  Nothing worked until we stopped at Kraken Cove and let her out on the shoreline.  She stopped immediately and began to fish pleasurably as if nothing had transpired.

Everyone puddled about and enjoyed, slowly exploring the shoreline until it was time to return.  Cinnamon happily bounded into her place on my craft, Wookie, head hanging low boarded my husband’s after a feeble attempt to board mine and, although we even pulled over to try letting her ride with me thinking we had solved the dilemma it was a no go.  As soon as we set off the sounds only a dog lover could endure began to ring from her once more.  While we paddled the long stretch back we tried desperately to focus on the beauty that surrounded us, our cozy campsite destination and a fine wine.

Anything, anything but the fine WHINE.