Hot summer days and water go together like warm cookies and milk, but unlike the cookies and milk that are quickly eaten, our memories of shared family adventures live on.
In the spring of 1970, my husband, Grit, and I traveled with Charlie Peterson and his then wife Carolyn to Lake Powell, pulling a ski boat behind their car. Glen Canyon Dam was completed in late 1963, allowing the Colorado River to fill the crevices and canyons that would become a playground of spectacular scenery, warm water and perfect weather for millions of people.
We boated out of Bullfrog Marina, which basically was a gas pump with nothing commercial. The lake was just past mid-fill, so there were still Indian ruins to explore. The history being lost underwater was sad to think about, but the other side was the availability to see the stunning beauties of the canyons. It was an easy boat ride to hike up to Rainbow Bridge. We were young and it was lots of fun water skiing and sightseeing.
After we moved from Utah to Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1970, there were many summer pleasures available. Situated on Long Island Sound, it made summer fun for our kids to grow up sailing and swimming. Later it was idyllic for our visiting grandchildren.
At Todd’s Point there was a museum filled with creatures from the beach and the beach itself with waves rolling in that the kids could run and play in. There was a dock to swim out to and jump off. We cooked breakfast out on the grass-covered side of the beach.
Island Beach could only be reached on ferryboat that left on a regular schedule. We would be loaded up with a picnic basket, beach chairs and towels, and lathered with sunscreen The 20-minute ride was as much fun as playing on the beach and picnicking once we got there.
A picnic dinner at Rocky Point Club or cooking snappers on a grill the kids had caught off the dock bring happy memories. There was a floating dock to swim out to and dive off. For a time we had an old boat that could pull a water-skier which, to our sadness, sank one rainy day. We abandoned it, and rode out on our tippy Sunfish boat hoping for wind to drive the sails.
Our older grandchildren who shared those beach experiences with each other treasure those times walking through the museum or sailing on the Sunfish. They remember how both young and old played together, learning what being a family means. The younger ones hear the stories and see the pictures and feel part of those memories.
When we moved back to Utah 35 years later, we went waterless except for the occasional swimming pool. Family adventures don’t always need water, however it does make for cooling down fun, even if it’s a "slip-and-slide" on the back lawn.
The last two summers, our son Steve and his wife, Barbara, organized gatherings at Lake Powell. These trips have been beyond our wildest dreams, especially when compared to the ski boat trip with the Petersons.
Nowadays there are houseboats available with kitchens to cook in outfitted with TVs, air conditioning and tight but comfy bedrooms with showers. One of our boats had a deck all the kids liked to sleep on. The only problem was sunrise at 5:30 a.m.Comment on this story
The houseboat was nice and certainly easier, but not likely more fun than Grit’s brother Russell and his family who drive small boats and camp. Bonding can be accomplished sitting under a beach umbrella counting collected seashells or watching the family swim at our son Mike’s pool during a family barbecue.
It’s the enjoyment of nature and the gathering, whether it is winter or summer, that now, as great-grandparents, is rewarding to see. The old adage, “A family who plays together stays together” makes us happy we worked at gathering, and grateful that now our children are willing to continue including extended family in their lives.