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Thursday, July 17, 2003

8:55 am. Because we moved the houseboat yesterday, the sun was in a different position in the sky this morning. The result was that it started beating on my face much earlier than it did yesterday morning. Since that's my signal to get up (and curse the sun), here I am, already showered and shaved before nine o'clock.

The night sky was spectacular last night. It made it worth going to bed before ten, just so I could watch the meteors streaking through the constellations. They were bigger and brighter than any I've seen in a long time, and the field of stars above us seemed to have added depth. All that changed when the moon made its appearance, of course. If I'd taken a book with me to the top deck, I could have read it by moonlight alone.

Out here on Shasta Lake there are many places to see the mountain. "The mountain" refers to Mount Shasta, the snow-capped peak that gives the area its name and dominates the landscape. It's far enough from the lake that you can't see it all the time, but there are places, well-known to veterans, where it rises majestically white above the lower points of the green and brown hills and mountains surrounding this huge expanse of water.

I saw the mountain four times on our brief cruise yesterday, and each time I felt the same sense of awe. Maybe that's because I'm not one of those veterans who knows where to look for it. It's always a happy accident when I see the mountain.

8:15 pm. This was the hottest day since I've been here, but good news! It's not as hot as it's supposed to be tomorrow. After we moved the houseboat this afternoon, I stayed in the water a long time. We're in a fairly large cove, and I swam all the way to the end of it and hung out in the water there, looking for wildlife. Birds and bugs were all I saw then, but just a little while ago two deer came to visit. They stayed for half an hour or so, waiting to see what we would do. Then they got bored and moseyed up the bank to munch on the low-hanging branches.

It was so hot that we took off at six for a two-hour cruise. You can cruise this lake for many more hours than that and never see all of it (and never get bored). We got back not long ago and we're still half an hour away from our enchilada dinner. But at least we have shade now, and we're all much more comfortable than we were two hours ago (or all day, for that matter).

Shasta Lake 2003

From the end of our cove, looking out toward the lake.

There are still six of us on the houseboat, but nine will sleep here tonight. Tammy and David are on their way up, and they're bringing Shirley with them. Then tomorrow we'll meet up with the other houseboat and get started on our weekend partying. We've had some relaxing down times this week, but I don't expect that to hold true for even one more day. That's okay. Bring it on!

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