Eagle Nest Lake Vacation – 8 of 15

They went fishing three afternoons in a row. On the fourth day, Daniel rowed south, paralleling the shore, and then angled toward the grass. “I want to show you something,” he said.

Katie frowned. “I’d rather fish.”

“It won’t take long.”

He beached the boat and took her hand as they crossed the hillside toward the trees. When they reached the first bushes, he paused and turned. She thought he was going to kiss her. Instead, he gestured toward the valley below.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”

“Kind of lonely,” Katie said. “Not many people.”

“That’s why I like it.” He turned back toward the trees. “Come on.”

He led her up through the rocks and trees to the edge of a small meadow. “Quiet,” he warned, then, “See them?”

There were three elk in the meadow, two with babies. She nodded absently and looked back toward Eagle Nest Lake.

Copyright © 2014 Loretta Miles Tollefson

Eagle Nest Lake Vacation – 7 OF 15

There were ten fish in the bottom of the rowboat when they got back to Eagle Nest Lodge. They’d each caught five. Katie was sunburnt and tired, but happy. Daniel had pointed out two eagles and an osprey diving from the cliffs near the dam, but she was more interested in the thrill of fish tugging at her line.

“Would you like to go again tomorrow?” he asked, helping her from the boat.

“Sure,” she said. “Can we go farther out on the lake?”

“It’ll be windier out there.”

“We can see more.”

He smiled. “All right.”

They took the fish to the kitchen, where the cook promised to cook them for dinner, then Daniel went home.

As they were eating that night her mother said, “Well, I guess we don’t need to worry about Katie’s future. She can always catch fish.”

“Or boys.” Her father said, grinning. “Even here.”

Copyright © 2014 Loretta Miles Tollefson

Eagle Nest Lake Vacation – 6 of 15

Katie and Daniel exchanged basic information as he rowed the boat toward Eagle Nest Dam. He’d be a senior at the high school in Taos in the Fall, but lived on a ranch farther up the valley. He worked at Eagle Nest Lodge in the summer, when they needed extra help.

Katie explained that she was vacationing with her parents and would be a junior at the Oklahoma City High School. She studied Daniel’s shoulders as he worked the oars.

“Do you like to fish?” he asked.

“Don’t know.” She smiled at him. “I never have.”

He grinned. “Or we can just look at the scenery.”

She shook her head. “That’s too passive. I’d rather fish.”

“But you don’t know if you’ll like it.”

“Oh, I will.”

He grinned at her and paused the oars. “Sure of yourself, aren’t you?”

“I try to be,” she said.

Copyright © 2014 Loretta Miles Tollefson

Eagle Nest Lake Vacation – 5 of 15

How many hours can you look at a lake? Katie wondered, staring at the rippled surface, a movie star magazine in her lap. They’d been here three days. Some vacation. Her father worked most of every day. Her mother seemed content to lay in the sun or curl up next to Eagle Nest Lodge’s stone fireplace and read. She wasn’t even taking photographs. Apparently the lodge had a wonderful book selection.

Katie yawned. She picked up the magazine and put it down again. She’d already read it three times. She’d be glad to get back to Oklahoma City, she thought irritably, closing her eyes. Her father and his vacation ideas.

“Would you like to go fishing?” a male voice asked. She opened her eyes. The boy was standing at her feet, blocking the sun. It was the tall, dark haired one. She smiled. This was more like it.

Copyright © 2014 Loretta Miles Tollefson

Eagle Nest Lake Vacation – 4 of 15

While her parents signed in at Eagle Nest Lodge’s front desk, Katie examined her surroundings.

It was barbaric, with thin woven rugs on the floor and a fireplace of uncut stones jutting into the room, creating a kind of wall. She moved around it. There were three sides, each opening to the central fire. One faced another room with more chairs and Navajo rugs. The other faced a circular bar. A man was polishing glasses. He winked at her. She looked away and pulled back, into the Lounge.

She perched on a leather chair and looked around. There seemed to be carved and painted Native American objects on every surface. Some had feathers attached. An antelope head stared from the wall. The single light bulb overhead was encased in a frame of black metal bars. Everything looked homemade, she thought disdainfully.

“Isn’t it great?” her mother asked, coming toward her.

Copyright © 2014 Loretta Miles Tollefson

Eagle Nest Lake Vacation – 3 of 15

The road into the valley was twisted and steep. Katie closed her eyes against the nausea. The old Model T turned sharply left and she gulped back the bile.

“No more curves now, Katie,” her father said.

“Oh Phil! It’s wonderful!” her mother exclaimed.

Katie opened her eyes. The car faced the short end of a two-story white rectangular building with a flat roof. Large letters spelled out “Eagle Nest Lodge.” To their right was a green lawn and the lake. Three white rowboats lay on the shore.

“We’re staying here?” she asked.

“Yep,” her father said. “I do a little bookkeeping for the owner, you and your mother get to relax.”

“For the whole three weeks?”

“Absolutely,” he said. Her parents exchanged glances. “Maybe longer,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

But Katie didn’t hear this last part. A tall dark-haired boy was rowing a boat toward the lodge.

Copyright © 2014 Loretta Miles Tollefson

Eagle Nest Lake Vacation – 2 of 15

The second-hand Model T was parked beside the road at the top of a steep hill. From the backseat Katie could see a long green valley, a wide blue lake, and trees on the mountainsides. She could see no buildings. Was this going to be a camping vacation? she wondered suspiciously. It would be like her father to drag them into the wilderness without tent or cooking equipment.

Her mother was in the middle of the road, taking pictures. Wasting film, Katie thought sourly.

Her parents bounced back to the car.

“Oh Phil, it’s so beautiful!” her mother said.

“Wait’ll you see the rest of it,” he answered.

A few minutes later they were headed downhill, Eagle Nest Lake spreading out before them. There were fishermen along the shore and boats scattered across the water.

“Do you think we could sail?” Katie asked, in spite of herself.

Copyright © 2014 Loretta Miles Tollefson