Any day that Kare and Aase make lunch for me is a good day, whether it's after a ski race or after the annual sno-park clean-up, so even though this morning was gray and drippy, there was no way I was going to miss out on their legendary chicken, grilled outside over a big bed of carefully tended, perfectly glowing coals! And anyway, in typical Snoqualmie Pass fashion, the heavy rain in Bellevue and North Bend lightened up as I crested the summit and turned into a friendly little mist at Cabin Creek, and even that drifted off very quickly.
The rain might have kept a few people at home, because our turn-out was smaller than usual, but that's okay; those of us who were there pulled on mud boots and grimy work gloves and tackled the sometimes incredible mounds of ... stuff ... that people throw out their car windows as they drive by. We found tons of beer bottles and cans, fast food wrappers, used condoms (because nothing says romance like a quicky on the off-ramp), full diapers (seriously, people?), blown-out tires, pieces of car engine that looked fairly critical to smooth operation, a desk (a desk???), socks, mittens, toys, t-shirts, boots, and all kinds of miscellaneous bits of garbage. All of it was picked up and packed into construction-grade plastic bags and piled by the side of the road for the Forest Service to pick up.
|Jim, blending into the swamp|
|Rune, El Presidente|
|Anna Louise catches a whale|
|Some chick, looking for a party.|
|Only a few of the bags we filled|
|Ozzie, King of the Forest|
|Kare, turning 40 pounds of chicken and ten pounds of grill with a flick of the wrist|
|Paul, with no regular-people bottle opener, opening a beer the Viking way|
|Aase adding the finishing touches to the perfect chicken|
I drove back over the pass, back into the rainstorm, with a bag full of muddy clothes, muscles full of tired, belly full of chicken, and heart full of happy for the chance to spend the day with some of my favorite people. A mighty fine day, indeed.