A semi-Thursday Theme
Growing up in Salt Lake City didn’t provide the opportunity to visit the ocean very often. The first time I saw the Pacific Ocean I was 16 and on a family vacation. My first impression was, that’s it? I had pictured pale sandy beaches, fresh blue water and sunbathers. Instead there was a littered beach, strewn with driftwood tangled in netting, garbage up and down the beach, gray, cold water and a misty, foggy day. I think I had watched too many movies because I was sorely disappointed.
Growing up we didn’t visit pools very often. My maternal grandma had a pool in her backyard, but before I was born a neighbor’s dog somehow jumped the fence and drowned in the pool. It was more of an empty tiled pit in the backyard than a fun, cool respite from the hot dry summer. My mom would take us to the community center pool sometimes. It was an indoor pool that would make your eyes sting from the chlorine fumes, even before you got in the water.
My paternal grandparents traveled a lot. They never flew because my grandma was terrified of planes. For 15 years they traveled the the states and Canada in their motorhome, that they’d upgrade every few years. After a few years of participating in Winnebago caravans, they volunteered to be guides. Before their traveling career my grandparents would take long weekends and a few weeks out of the summer to go camping. A favorite spot was in Star Valley, Wyoming. I was always with my grandma when I was little. She took care of my sister and I while my mom worked and we even lived with her a few times after my parents divorced. My sister was attached to my mom’s hip so I’d spend weeks with my grandparents in their motorhome camping. We would leave at 5am to leave for Wyoming. Once we hit the twists and turns of the Wasatch Range we’d have to stop often because I’d get sick. Every stop had a creek or river or small pond. No matter how bad I felt I had to put my toes in. Something about the cool water calmed me down. My grandma said it was because she always dipped my feet in the water when I was a baby. There are dozens of photos of me sitting by water, reaching in to pick up a rock, mid-laugh while trying to stand in some freezing stream and a few candid shots of my grandma holding tight to my small hand.
I grew up in the sprays of Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon. We’d hike up the trails and stand under the rocks letting the mist blow on our hot faces in the summer. Emigration Canyon was a beautiful back drop in the fall to our midday picnics. Every spring we’d drive up up to Wyoming, stop for a bison burger and fresh cheese curds before we’d get to our camp site.
You can keep your oceans and pools. I’ll take rivers and streams and lakes any day.