Phase Two: Mammoth Lakes Kids Fishing Festival

to read Phase One: The Drive click here
For the third year in a row we went to the Fishing Festival, a magical place where the ponds overflow with trout and other people will clean your fish for you. It was a glorious morning, and we had Papa to help us with the hooks, bait, and the child wrangling. 
We hadn’t slept much the night before, with the 2 year old calling in the hours like a reliable church bell with surround sound, but we carried a song in our heart and McDonald’s in our bellies. I pushed the stroller and smiled to myself as I thought about my boys, with their father and grandfather, unplugged and in nature, living real life. It seemed worth the lack of sleep. We were adventuring.

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.  ~Doug Larson

The morning was successful, except for the part where I got stuck carrying a plastic bag with two dead fish in it. That part was lame.

There were various booths along the pond, and Shel was fascinated by the mountain goat display. There was a woman manning it (womanning it?) who was wearing a headband with horns attached. Shel wanted to know where she got them and he’s TOTALLY going to ask for goat horns for Christmas.

She began to show us some mountain goat skulls. Shel interrupted her speech on horns to ask, “How did these get killed?” My 4 year old, first in line for the gory details.

She told him that one of the goats had died from a lion attack. Thrilling. I stood there wondering how a seemingly sedentary educational booth could turn into a story of blood and primitive violence. I didn’t learn anything new about mountain goats, and for that I blame Shel.

As if carrying dead fish around wasn’t bad enough, there was a fly exhibit. With flies. And larvae. And exoskeletons. 
We were there for a long, long, time.

At one point Shel fell off of the step ladder and almost knocked the entire table over. We spent a lot of time discussing the microscope light. I tried to navigate the conversation back to dragonfly larvae, the most aggressive predator of all insects, but the boys just wanted to know how the fish eggs got into the display case. Shel wanted to know how the fish eggs died. Murder and mayhem again at Booth #2!

I consoled myself with thoughts of, “Real life! Education! Adventure!” and prayed fervently that Shel would stop touching his EYES because he had just finished fondling pond water full of bugs.

We were fading fast so my dad bought the boys snow cones. They were red. Shel’s tipped over. He cried. Shel had to go to the bathroom, and while he was gone I cracked his plastic cup. My enthusiasm was starting to crack as well. I had reached the part of the morning when I could sense the quiet, terrible desperation of Motherhood on Vacation sneaking up on me. I had dead fish, I had a toddler who kept running away in a place webbed with fishing line and HOOKS. I had two boys with red cups full of snow cone syrup threatening to stain us all. There was only one thing to do.

We went back to the condo. We had planned on attending the Fireman Canoe Race, but instead we all fell asleep. It was 11 a.m.

We started moving around again at 3, still exhausted but less likely to commit crimes. The air smelled like wet pine trees because it was raining, a glorious summer thunderstorm. It was decision time: did we rally the troops and go for a hike to a real volcano IN THE RAIN or did we sit inside eating chips for the rest of the day?

We chose volcano. We will always choose volcano. It’s our family motto.

Choose Volcano!

Ostrich Tips For Fishing With Small Children:
1. Drink a lot of coffee
2. If you forget to pack hand sanitizer, bring your prayer beads
3. If your child stands on a rickety wooden stepladder, put a helmet on him. If you forgot to bring a helmet, pull out your prayer beads.
4. Bring one adult for each child. Because, hooks.

Click here for the last time I posted about our fishing adventure

6 thoughts on “Phase Two: Mammoth Lakes Kids Fishing Festival

  1. This brought back memories of fishing as a kid. There was a trout thing: a competition. I had forgotten. Too, we lived next door to my grandad, who had a pond full of sunnies and blue gill and bass. Good times. VOLCANO! Woo hoo!


  2. This is what I wrote earlier, before blogger ate it (at least as close as I can remember.)

    I love you. (That always bears repeating.) Thank you for writing part two! You make me smile. Also, I am wondering if “lions” will now be replacing “bears” in Shel's list of creatures-most-likely-to-eat-you.

    Oh, and I'm glad you chose the volcano 🙂


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