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Variety. They say it is the spice of life. Variety. Something a lot of us don’t get. Most of us wake up, head to work, work, head home, eat dinner, and do the same nightly routine before hitting the sack. Monotony. Having a toddler gives me a little more variety, but our days are still pretty much the same. It is our weekends that offer us variety. Every weekend, a new destination. While we have tried to follow the variety formula this summer, we’ve had some hiccups at our chosen locales. Due to this, we have had a little less variety and ended up at the same place three times this summer. On the surface, I hate that three precious summer weekends were spent in one place, but if I delve a little deeper into my thoughts, I have to marvel at the variety we have encountered at this “same place”.  After all, is a place ever really the same each time? Are we really the same each time we visit a place?

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The trail, well I can’t say it is much different from one time until the next. It is a jeep road, and it is heck to hike. All those big loose rocks make each step only count as a half of step. The hike down is always accompanied by a grimace. Occasionally, we have to step aside to let the various four wheelers, jeeps, and trucks pass by. The area is used heavily, and there are several dispersed camping sites all along the way to the lake. There is a parking lot before the tundra begins. All vehicles are supposed to park here, but many ignore the signs and take their four wheelers and rut up the tundra. Despite this, it is an absolutely breathtaking area; an area worthy of multiple visits.

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Each time we visited the weather was strikingly different. The first visit we encountered a partially ice covered lake, while the other lake was rife with white caps. The air was brisk, and not a blink of sun to be had.  The second trip started out cold, overcast, and damp, but soon the clouds parted and provided us with brilliant blue skies dotted with puffy stark white clouds. The last trip had us running for our lives as lightning struck less than fifty from us. Variety. Indeed. Not to be outdone by the weather, the fish provided variety too. The first visit, we only caught grayling. The cutthroat were in full-time spawn. The next visit, we caught only cutthroat. The last visit, only grayling. Each time a different fly and a different method produced fish. This means there were two visits where I didn’t catch anything because I wouldn’t abandon my dry flies. Variety, perhaps I need to sprinkle a little more in my fishing game. Variety. The short alpine season offers so much of it, and variety was on display with breathtaking arrays of wildflowers. Each visit we saw a new batch blooming. Variety in every color of the rainbow. Simply spectacular.

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As I look at the red leaves on the maple tree beside the deck, I am reminded that life offers me more variety than meets the eye. Variety is everywhere if I just think a bit differently and don’t get bogged down with the bland day to day. I ask myself if I can wait until next year to travel back to this little gem. There is so much about the place that I don’t like. There are always lots of people. There is a consistent hum of four-wheelers. There is trash. The tundra is rutted. The trees are a long way away. The trail is crappy, and so on. However, there is also so much about this place that is appealing, addictive almost. I’m tempted to give this place one more shot this summer, but I can’t convince myself to write it onto the calendar. That variety thing keeps me from doing so. Who knows, however, we might just have one more busted trip yet to come that forces us to The Fallback. The Fallback where we find variety in the place, and in ourselves.

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Until next time,

Stephanie

Written by Stephanie Mullins

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