It isn’t in Pippin’s nature to howl at the moon, though I cannot understand why. I have been known to belt out a few yowling hollers myself on more than one occasion. (Note: if you have a mind to try it, it’s best done amongst a plucky group, well outside the confines of civilization.) I tried to teach Pip to howl once, but he lowered his ears and ran off to chase a bug.

The full moon, rather, beckons Pippin and me to the water. And Pip does like to go canoeing, as all good waterdogs do. He nestles himself on a blanket in the front of the boat and rests his chin on its lip, watching the lake go by underneath him. I like to think he dreams of mermaids, but maybe it’s birds and bunnies he’s pining for.

Elk Lake – a sparkling, high mountain jewel in the Cascades – is startlingly calm when the moon comes up; quiet, still, and totally abandoned except for the reflection of the night sky, and we intrepid revelers.

Tonight, we travel across the lake with some other friends and Scout, the fastest Dachshund on the block. The moon rises over Mt. Bachelor on the eastern horizon as we make our way out of the marina and into the center of the lake. Here we rest, letting the kayaks drift lazily on their own, while we break out the midnight snacks.

We’ve packed picnics of bread and cheese, apple slices, raw almonds, and dark chocolate. Our conversation is light and subdued, tending to the ethereal. After all, we are keeping company with Pippin’s mermaids and magical water sprites, as befits this mystical adventure. I brought along a fun little pack of Sophia champagne to share, which comes in hot pink cans; straws included. The perfect bit of fun for such an intriguing evening.

A slight breeze passes through, kissing our faces before it continues across the lake. We can follow it with our eyes; small ripples glitter in ever-changing patterns until, as suddenly as it came up, the wind is gone.

We take our cue from this element of air, conclude our moonlight rendezvous with a toast to all things magical, and head back to shore in silence. The quiet of the night has sunk into our bones and will ride home with us. We just know that speaking will break the spell and make us mere mortals again.

Elk Lake Resources
Summer Activities: Fishing, biking, hiking, picnicking, camping and all kinds of boating: kayaking, canoeing, sailing, pontoon boating, row boating. Motorboats are allowed on Elk Lake, but boats cannot create wakes. The area is excellent for exploring and backpacking also, for its proximity to the Pacific Crest Trail.

Nearby Campgrounds: Little Fawn Campground, Point Campground, and Elk Lake Campground.

Elk Lake Resort: Elk Lake Resort is located 10 miles from Mt. Bachelor in the Cascade mountains, making it one of the most beautiful and underrated vacation destinations in Oregon.

Elk Lake Resort Restaurant: The highly acclaimed lakeside restaurant at Elk Lake is committed to serving only high quality, locally grown foods. They also serve Oregon craft microbeer and wine selections.

Elk Lake Resort Cabins: Cabins range from the luxurious to the rustic; $58 to $399 per night. All have full kitchens, bathrooms with showers and towels, linens, microwave, coffee maker, silverware and dishes.

Elk Lake Resort Marina: Rent the follow watercraft at the marina by the day or half day: row boats, fishing boats with motors, single and double kayaks, canoes and paddle boards. You can also rent a 21-foot pontoon boat or “party barge,” which holds up to 13 passengers (no dogs allowed).

Music and Entertainment: Enjoy the Dinner and Music Series on the lakeside stage at Elk Lake Resort, from 5-8pm most Saturdays this summer.

Elk Lake Resort Pet Policy: Pet fee is $25 per cabin. Pets are not allowed in cabins 21, 22, 23, & 26. A maximum of two pets are allowed in all the other cabins. A refundable cleaning/damage deposit of $150 per pet is due at check-in.

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