A Summer of Fun
Running up to catch a pop-up fly to center field Daniel threw the ball to the pitcher and hustled back to 3rd base only to find himself thinking about their last letter from Sanford.
“There’s a lot of fighting going on over here and I can’t go into much detail but I’m doing ok”, Sanford had said. He’d gone on to write that he didn’t know when he’d be coming home. One of his friends had been hurt and sent home last week. He was the first one in their unit to leave and they would miss him.
Having been gone for almost a year now and he went on to tell them about some of his other friends, the weather and a little more about the news but, as mom had continued to read it, all Daniel was thinking about was Sanford’s friend getting hurt.
What if something happened to Sanford? How would they even know? He was so far away that they might never hear anything! People had been lost in the desert and died buried under a pile of sand, what if that happened to Sanford? He couldn’t stand thinking about it any longer and Mom had assured Daniel that he would be “OK” so he let it go and went out into the afternoon air.
In only a few days they were going to go on a trip to Yosemite for a couple of weeks then over to Lake Havasu for another week. Mom and Dad really liked camping so they had gotten a place in Curry Village. It was kind of like a small one-room house made out of cloth. There was enough room to have your sleeping space and be able to get to your suitcase and that was about it.
Mom had arranged to have one of her friends pick up their mail and let them know if anything came in from Sanford. She had also arranged for Russel to go with them so they would be picking him up on their way out to Yosemite.
The day finally arrived to leave and, with a fair amount of scurrying to make sure they had everything, they were on the road.
On the drive, Daniel and Russell sat playing Crimson Gem Saga in the back seat while mom and dad talked about the scenery, what they had planned and general parent talk. They did however; expect the boys to comment on the scenery when they pointed something out to them. It didn’t take long to figure out that the faster they responded the faster they could get back to the game. They were playing as part of a team and it didn’t go over too well to be looking at some trees and have your character die.
It was a great way to pass the time as they drove the long stretch of highway and then the winding roads as they got close to the southern entrance… It was probably a good thing that they signed off on the game for the evening as connecting was getting harder and harder the closer they got and the scenery was more and more interesting. Colors of the trees and rock formations, imagining what it would be like to have the car go careening off the side of the road into the valley below, wondering if anyone would survive the crash, all sorts of interesting ideas kept popping up before they actually drove through the entrance.
The air was cooling so they had rolled the windows down and the boys were making faces as the wind blew against their mouths and whipped their hair around stinging their skin, as it would flick like a tiny whip.
It wasn’t long before they got to the registration area and the boys got out to stretch their legs while mom and dad checked in and got directions to their specific campsite. There were still a few people out walking around and they saw a bus go by. It looked exactly like the public transportation they had back home. Daniel wondered if you had to pay every time you rode any place here in the park.
About that time mom and dad returned so they all got as much as they could carry out of the car and then took off to put it in their cabin.
It was pretty cool being able to roll up the cover for the window screen and yet having a wood door with steps leading up to the entrance.
“Hey dad,” Daniel asked, “Can we sleep outside tonight?” Dad pointed to a sign and said: “would you please read that out loud?” Daniel proceeded to read the sign that began “no food in this tent cabin!” When he finished he looked at his dad and said, “bears huh? I guess sleeping out in the field in our sleeping bags probably isn’t the best idea” When dad simply raised his eyebrows as if to say “you think?” Daniel grabbed Russell’s arm and said they were off to find the bathroom.
Later that evening after everything was quiet, the four of them were sitting in portable chairs they had brought from home when a furry flash of brown went flying by within 15 feet. It stopped the next aisle over and they saw that the furry shape was a bobcat and it hovered for a moment and then took off giving chase to some unknown smaller creature.
Dad smiled and said, still want to sleep outside tonight? Daniel and Russell looked at each other and said in unison – nope, we’re fine in here!
Then everyone laughed and continued to talk softly late into the night about what it was like to be out here, drinking in the fresh air, the smells of nature and being away from all the noise of the city.
Summer at Yosemite passed with warm afternoons and cool nights under the stars. The air was great and you could run to your heart’s content. There was plenty of opportunities to explore climbing Half Dome and hiking up to Bridal Falls. Although mom and dad to a bit of extra time to make it up Half Dome it made for a great outing.
The day they had hiked to the falls it was particularly hot and for some reason, mom and dad were not nearly as upset as Daniel thought they would be when he and Russell got a little too close to the water and slipped in completely soaking themselves and splashing mom and dad in the process.
One evening, they went to see some guy in a play about John Muir and it was interesting to hear how he fought so hard to have the land saved as a National Park. He had even gotten President Roosevelt to come and visit. Together they helped shape Yosemite into the national park that it is today.
Meals and bike rides, hikes and stargazing, mom with her camera along with information about the land and animals filled the long summer days. Both Daniel and Russell were glad to find that they didn’t have to pay to ride the bus each time. Simply being at the bus stop was all it took to get from one place to another.
However, it seemed that all too soon the time came to pack up and leave and he knew he was going to miss it here.
Still, he loved being in the water and he was really looking forward to spending time at the lake.
However, after a few weeks in Yosemite, arriving in Havasu and stepping out of the car into 120-degree weather simply astounded him. Moreover, not the “wow this is amazing” kind of way. More like, “wow, we are going to die right here” kind of way. It was HOT!
Checking into the hotel they all breathed a sigh of relief the minute they stepped into the air-conditioned lobby. Fortunately, the bellman collected their luggage and the valet parked the car, so they didn’t have to go back outside right away. Once they settled into their connecting rooms, they arranged to meet for dinner and Daniel and Russell headed off to cool off in the pool.
That was the beginning of one of a great time. He’d never had Russell along, or any of his other friends so this was a very different experience for him.
There were days of water skiing and boating on Havasu. That was the most fun, being out on the water, even when the weather would turn stormy. Most of the time they would ride it out below in the cabin but a few times mom insisted that they come in and stay on dry land. That was funny, pouring down rain and she would call it “dry” land.
On top of everything else, there was the idea that this city had actually paid to have an old bridge brought over. Lake Havasu had the London Bridge brought all the way from England in little pieces then, like one of the family jigsaw puzzles, put it all back together again here across the river downtown. It didn’t look like anything special but mom and dad had seemed impressed. They spent forever one afternoon buying souvenirs and taking all kinds of pictures.
Either in the pool or at the lake, the days were filled with time in the water so all the extra clothes they had brought served little purpose other than taking up space in their closet.
Any time they did something like go for a walk along the river, both Daniel and Russell would have rather been out in the water, but they still had plenty to talk about when they came home.
The trip ended all too soon and the excitement of both Yosemite and Lake Havasu helped to dull the absence of Sanford but on the way home, it really felt like the car was one person short. Fortunately, everyone seemed tired so dad and mom had the radio playing and Daniel and Russell had their games helping the time pass. After helping bring everything into the house, the boys headed over to Russell’s to tell his parents all about their trip and show them all of the pictures. Regardless of how many they had already seen via text or email, it was a great way to pass their first evening back home, recounting the memories of the last three weeks.