It was easily ten degrees warmer than normal due to the surrounding forest fires. The smoke was reeking havoc on my sister-in-law and her asthma, as well as the little ones lungs. Regardless though, we wander around Apgar village for a place to rent some paddle boards for an afternoon on Lake McDonald.

The surrounding mountain views may have been blocked, but the Lake itself was just as clear and pristine as I remember. The rocks along the shore are as smooth and colorful as valuable gemstones.

I take my nieces and nephews out for a ride one by one, and we chat away while paddle boarding around. The feeling of connecting to each other by just talking and listening is so much more powerful without an electronic device around you.

Flooey can’t stop commenting on the beauty of the lake, and how she can see the bottom. We build cairns and talk about their importance on the trail, we see scat and try to determine what animal may have been the one that left it. We splash our oars at each other, and laugh a bit too loudly, laughter that echoes across the lake and against the mountains in the distance.

Cbug and Flooey skip rocks into the lake, trying to see who can go the farthest. I teach Flooey how to skip to get maximum distance. We then head back to the lodge to get Junior Ranger badges, per their request.

It’s the simplest of activities that I never take for granted.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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