Thomas Doty – Storyteller

Siskiyou Pass

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Biting Down Place

At Lake of the Woods, the mountain lake the Klamaths call Gwelgdsi, "Biting Down Place," I float the marshy north end on an air mattress, startling mallards and great blue herons into short, lazy flights, gazing into the mountain-clear water.

There is a tradition for this kind of boating. Klamaths paddled the marsh in reed boats until they were waterlogged. Then an hour in the baking sun and back in the water. The reed boat was a mirror of the marsh, moving silently after fat ducks just right for dinner.

I paddle. The air mattress holds its air. The sun floats low. Trout ripple the water, biting the biting mosquitoes. Lake of the Woods ... the "Biting Down Place."