Monday, June 2, 2008

Favorite Summer Vacation =)

As we head into the summer months, it's natural to reflect on past summers, and past vacations. Today I've been thinking about one of those favorite moments, the last time our family went on a camping adventure in the Grand Teton National Park. It was just before our oldest son was to head off on his mission, and before our second son went off to college. Things were changing in our family and we tried to make the most of this treasured time together.

We went on picnics, saw a lot of cool stuff, and enjoyed a boat ride across Jenny's Lake. While there, we hiked up to see the Hidden Falls. The picture above is of our entire family at the time, posing by the falls.

On our way back down the trail, we discovered a natural treasure: huckleberries. Wonderful, tasty, ripe huckleberries. My sons and husband picked and ate to their hearts' delight. The bushes surrounding us were loaded with the juicy berries. Then someone had an idea: "Let's pick a bunch and make huckleberry pancakes in the morning for breakfast!" I can't remember who said that, okay fine, it was probably me, regardless everyone was a sport. ;) Only one slight problem, we had come unprepared. We didn't have any berry buckets with us. So we improvised. We used my water bottle and filled it as full as it could get.

As we were picking, a group of Japanese tourists came up the trail and wanted to know what we were doing. My husband served a mission to Japan and he was able to communicate quite well with this tour group. When he explained that these were non-poisonous, delicious berries, they were thrilled. They abandoned their tour guide and the trail and joined us in the berry patch. The tour guide grumbled a bit and complained that his group would probably stop and pick every berry that they found along the way thanks to us. So we educated them about the difference. Red berries: yucky, they'll make you sick. Purple berries with the belly button: those are huckleberries and they're the best berries in the world. =)

We camped in various locations that week. I suspect our favorite campsite was in the nearby Granite Campground, near Hoback, southeast of Jackson, Wyoming. Not only is the campground beautiful, but it's within walking distance of a natural hot spring that has been turned into a swimming pool.

This is the same hot spring that my mother used to enjoy as a teenager---years ago it was undeveloped. Her girls' camp adventures included coming to the Granite Campground and swimming for free in the hot springs. Today, you will pay a fee for this privilege, but it's still a lot of fun. You're surrounded by forest and you can watch the spring as it bubbles down the mountain side into the pool. And if you swim to the other side, you can watch as the water tumbles down into the river below.

After enjoying a relaxing swim, we usually walk down to see the river, and the beautiful waterfall you can see below.

When we think about that particular trip, we'll fondly remember the "boat races" in the river (pieces of driftwood we shaped into our boats); the night Derek was stung by a wasp and half of his face swelled shut; not to mention the delicious Dutch Oven meals we enjoyed, and the huckleberry pancakes. It is a moment forever frozen in time, a vacation we enjoyed thoroughly in an area not too far from our home. (It only takes us about 2 1/2 hours to travel to this location)

I guess my point is, it doesn't take a lot of money or planning to make treasured memories. It can be as simple as a backyard picnic, a camping adventure in a nearby campground, or a small trip like the one I just described. Make the most of these summer months and enjoy this time with your family. I promise you'll never regret it. ;)

What are some of your favorite summer memories? [Feel free to share . . . this is a hint] ;)

Return to the neighborhood


Passey Family said...

Just had to take a peek at our blog. You always have such clever comments. Your blog brought back lots of memories of our family vacations up that way. We love granite hot springs and have camped up there several times. It is one place all our kids remember and want to go back to. Hope you are all doing good! We think of you often. Thanks for bringing some memories back! Donna

Shellie said...

No matter where I am, it's the feeling of the warm sun on my skin.

Cheri J. Crane said...

Donna, so good to hear from you. And awesomely cool that you not only know where Granite Hot Springs is located, but you've been there. =)Truly a beautiful place, eh?

Shellie, I agree. We've endured a week of rain here, which is good for the soil, the crops, etc. It would be good to experience a day or two of sun inbetween storms. ;)

Candace E. Salima said...

That sounds like an amazing trip. You really made it come alive. I wonder where I can get me some huckleberries? I'm feeling the call for pancakes.

Cheri J. Crane said...

It is an amazing area, Candace. And we're all keeping our fingers crossed that there will be huckleberries galore this year. Last year the blossoms froze. Not cool. Normally you can find these delicious berries in the mountains of Idaho, Wyoming, etc. They make wonderful pie, cheesecake, ice cream, jam, not to mention pancakes.

Anne Bradshaw said...

Summer trips? Oh, how lovely to think of them. Splashing in the Welsh sea comes to mind. As does body surfing in Cornish waters. Holidays in England were often damp, but glorious.

By the way, there's a contest running on my blog over the weekend. A free copy of J. Scott Savage's new book is the prize--YA fantasy at it's best :-)

Cheri J. Crane said...

Wow, body surfing in Cornish waters. How cool is that?! =)Perhaps someday . . .

I'll be sure to check out the contest, Anne. Thanks for stopping by. =)

C.L. Beck said...

Reading your blog was like returning to the Tetons! I've seen many mountain lakes, but I don't think any are quite as pretty as Jenny Lake.

Thanks for a descriptive and lovely blog.

Cheri J. Crane said...

Thanks for the kind words, C.L.=)And you're right, the Jenny's Lake area is gorgeous.

Lucy said...

I'm passing through and found pictures on your blog. I truly .. truly miss huckleberries from my southeast Idaho early days. The last huckleberry pie I ate was probably 30 years ago. Mmmmmmm. So good. With REAL whip cream of course. Thanks.