On Friday the 13th of June, 2014, Lupe knew something big was in the works. SPHP got up while it was still dark and started packing the G6. SPHP built up the passenger side front seat so Lupe could ride in comfort up even with the dash on a pile of luggage, pillows and blankets, the now traditional trip arrangement. Shortly before 6:00 AM everything was ready to go. It was a cool morning, only 53 degrees, under mostly clear blue skies. It was going to be a great day! Lupe was bright-eyed and enthusiastic at the prospect of adventure.
Lupe had a long day’s ride across the prairies of South and North Dakota to the north woods in Minnesota. Lupe had a blast though, barking relentlessly at every cow, horse, haystack and suspicious-looking bush or outbuilding along the way. SPHP is always amazed that Lupe never tires of this game, but she doesn’t. Every now and then SPHP had to stop the G6 to give her some water though, because her barker gets dry.
Shortly before sunset, Lupe arrived at the cabin on the S shore of Kabekona Lake. Lupe was very interested in the smells and sounds of the north woods, but the mosquitoes were out, of course, so Lupe was promptly ushered inside the cabin. The cabin is now owned by Lupe’s great uncle John and great aunt Joyce (whom she had never met before), although it has been in the family since the 1940’s.
John & Joyce invited Lupe and SPHP to stay in the beautiful loft overlooking the living room, and Lupe was very much taken with it. She thought it was super cool and made herself right at home up there, first on King III’s dog bed, and then on the futon she and SPHP were going to snooze on. Lupe spent the evening getting settled in and getting to know John and Joyce. Lupe also met Laddie, their nice old kitty. Laddie was not very pleased to meet Lupe, but Lupe is a friend to all cats. It wasn’t long until Laddie was pretty much adjusted to Lupe being around.
Saturday the 14th was a cloudy cool day with some light rain. After some difficulty, John started a fire in the new fireplace with some rather wet birch wood. Despite the light rain, Lupe and SPHP walked out to the road and down to the dock on the lake a few times during the day. SPHP looked for perch or leeches in the water, but saw none. There was a crayfish though. Lupe had great fun sniffing around in the north woods. There were lots of ferns growing and everything was very green. John said Kabekona Lake was the highest he had ever seen it. Many people’s docks were under water. A recent storm had ripped some of the docks loose.
Lupe got to meet her uncle Mark from California, who arrived in the afternoon as anticipated. While it rained outside, Lupe made herself comfortable on the couch while Mark and SPHP played Rook, the only card game allowed by long tradition at the Kabekona Lake cabin. Sunday the 15th was another even rainier day. Mark and SPHP started another fire in the fireplace, because it was still quite cool out. Much of the early afternoon was spent with John, Joyce, Mark & SPHP playing Rook in front of the fire.
Later in the afternoon, when the rain had finally subsided somewhat, John suggested taking the boat out on the lake. Lupe joined Mark, John and SPHP in the boat, for only her 2nd boat ride ever. Lupe got another 4 or 5 boat rides on Kabekona Lake before her trip was over. She was a very good dingo on the boat, but seemed to not know what to do with herself sometimes. Sometimes she stayed down in the bottom of the boat, but mostly she liked to be sitting on the boat seat at least partially on SPHP’s lap where she could see.
John ran the mighty 6.5 HP motor and steered across Kabekona to the NE part of the lake where the channel to Bucket Lake is. The water was very high and it looked like it might be easy to go to Bucket, but there were clouds coming from the WSW that looked like they might start raining again, so John thought better of a trip to Bucket and stayed on Kabekona. Before long there was lightning off to the WSW, a clear sign it was time to turn around and get off the lake. When the weather was most threatening, John put in temporarily at a dock at Preacher’s Point. The surprised dock owner soon showed up for a chat, but had no real objections.
Sadly, on Monday morning the 16th, Mark already had to leave to head back to Minneapolis to catch his flight to California. This was a sunnier day. Lupe and SPHP saw some Canadian geese on one of the day’s trips down to the dock to see the lake. Lupe and SPHP spent this and the next day helping John with a few small chores or just loafing around. Starting on the 17th, there were boat rides with John and sometimes Joyce in the evenings until a little after sunset. This was a wonderful, relaxing way to end each day.
Lupe loved loft living and the cabin in general. Every morning when SPHP woke up, Lupe was already wide awake in her loft listening to the strange sounds of the birds and animals of the north woods. The loft windows were always cranked partly open, and Lupe really enjoyed looking out from her high perch sniffing, watching and listening to what was going on. When Lupe went out to “sniff the air” in the mornings she took off like a shot into the woods. SPHP would usually hear her barking at some annoyed squirrel before long.
There were a couple of side trips during Lupe’s time in Minnesota. John took Lupe and SPHP to The Gullies in the Paul Bunyan State Forest. SPHP claims to have seen a small black bear run across the road there. Lupe also got to visit the house in Alexandria, MN where SPHP’s grandparents once lived. She spent the night there on the 18th and 19th. The evening of the 19th was stormy with tornado warnings in the area.
On the 20th, Lupe returned to the cabin at Kabekona Lake. The next day, John & Joyce bought fishing licenses. Lupe, John, Joyce and SPHP took a boat ride across Kabekona Lake. There was a huge white cumulus cloud over the E part of the lake. The water in Kabekona was still very high. John had no trouble taking the boat down the channel to Bucket and Little Bucket Lakes, where John and Joyce fished. A bald eagle was flew across the channel and perched high up on a huge White Pine on the N shore of Little Bucket. (Earlier in the week while at the cabin’s dock, Lupe and SPHP had seen a bald eagle swoop down just 30 or 40 feet away and scoop up a fish from Kabekona Lake – very cool!)
SPHP always brings fish good luck. John and Joyce caught an assortment of weeds, but no fish. On the way back, Joyce saw a big turtle on the bank of the channel between Bucket and Kabekona. SPHP saw a large snapping turtle swimming down in the clear stream. Lupe was very excited by the voyage both down and back up the channel. She was somewhat alarmed when the stream passed under the highway bridge, which was a bit like a tunnel. She liked it, but was a bit scared at the same time.
Lupe sniffed around in the forest whenever she could the next couple of days. SPHP was kept busy picking ticks off her. There were beautiful boat rides each evening on Kabekona. Once, Lupe and SPHP got to hear a song at sunset sung every evening on the lake by several women in kayaks who are friends.
John and Joyce had been telling SPHP that there was a walking group that walks along the road S of Kabekona Lake each morning. On the morning of the 23rd, Lupe’s last morning at Kabekona, Lupe, John, Joyce & SPHP joined the walking group. It was just a short stroll, but there were 4 other dogs for Lupe to sniff with. She had a good time trotting along the road as part of this big pack of friendly dogs and people.
Around 3 PM on the 23rd, Lupe thanked her great uncle John and great aunt Joyce for the lovely time at the cabin. It was time to head back to the Black Hills. The trip was broken up by a stop at great uncle Andy’s and great aunt Connie’s home in Bismarck, ND. Lupe spent the 24th at Andy & Connie’s.
Lupe and SPHP found a big still undeveloped field near Andy & Connie’s home where there proved to be jackrabbits and pheasants to chase. Lupe jumped sideways practically out of her fur in shock and alarm the first time a pheasant flew up unexpectedly right next to her. Lupe and SPHP also walked Andy & Connie’s yellow lab, King III. King III was 13 years old though and has a hard time getting around, so it was a disappointingly brief and slow walk for Lupe.
Lupe and SPHP headed W on I-90 again on the 25th. By the time Lupe was in Dickinson, it was raining hard. Instead of turning S at Dickinson, SPHP continued W and didn’t turn S until reaching Hwy 85.
SPHP had seen on the highway map that the highest point in North Dakota, White Butte (3,506 ft.), was just E of the highway S of the little town of Amidon, which claims to be the nation’s smallest county seat. SPHP was hoping to climb White Butte with Lupe for her peakbagging, and was encouraged when the rain stopped. Unfortunately, SPHP should have done some research beforehand. The area is all private ranch land. Despite making several inquiries, SPHP was not able to locate the landowner. After wasting more than an hour, SPHP gave up on White Butte for this trip. Lupe did see White Butte, but that’s not the same as climbing it!
In NW South Dakota was some very pretty and desolate looking territory in the Cave Hills area with some interesting high points and ridges, especially to the W of the highway. As Lupe got closer to her beloved Black Hills, there was a huge thundercloud off to the W too. The rain and lightning started before Lupe reached Newell, SD. A few miles S of Newell was an absolute cloudburst, with ferocious wind and lightning. When the hail started in, SPHP turned the G6 around and retreated back to Newell. There Lupe waited out the storm in the G6 parked beneath the canopy at the Conoco Station. Lots of other people were taking refuge there too.
The storm passed and Lupe moved on. When she got home, she ran next door to Dog Heaven to claim her treat and feel the love. Lupe’s 2014 Kabekona Lake adventure was over.