Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bear Lake

Continuing in the tradition of week-late summer blog postings. The family and I descended upon Garden City for our annual Bear Lake adventure week. For the last decade or so we've been spending one week every summer at the Sweetwater/Ideal Beach resort at Bear Lake doing our best to avoid actually entering Bear Lake's waters.

The first couple of years we would rent wave runners for a romp in the chop but as our clan has gotten older (read: younger due to insurgence of spawn) such high-octane thrills have given way to a week of poolside relaxation and a LOT of Tennis.

Of note this year is that my immediate family has begun the process of transitioning into a self-sustaining extended family. In years prior a trip with "the cousins" meant a vacation with my parents siblings and their children. As of this year however the voyage included the children of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wood only (and distinguished guests) making "the cousins" My sibling's children, and my siblings and I - in turn - the generation of "Aunts" and "Uncles."

I can not tell you how weird this is for me.

Being the youngest, I am the only Wood child without a spouse and spawn. So while it's all fine and dandy to call me Uncle Ben it makes for an interesting trip when you are caught in an age-chasm between those changing the diapers and those whose diapers are being changed.

The best way to deal with this, repeatedly spanking my brother Jake on the tennis court - which I did, with the help of my double's mate/Australian brother-in-law Varian a.k.a Big V. This victory comes with an asterisk, however, in that none of us are particularly good at playing doubles, especially my father, Jake's teammate.

The other way to deal ageism is that if you can't beat them, join them. I somehow conned Catherine into being my plus one for Thursday night and took full advantage of the opportunity, packing as much activity into the relatively short time she was there with us. We swam in the pool, biked into town for a shake and had a moonlit kayak ride before playing a board game with the bunch and calling it a night.

In closing, here's some pictures I took. As usual, they offer no catalog of Wood family fun. Instead they're the usual amateur landscapes that I pretend anyone gives a hoot about.

The water at Bear is at a great level right now. It got hit, like all of Utah, with the drought 8 or so years ago and has never gotten back up to where it used to be but this year was the highest it's been in a long time. All around the edge of the lake we had these great sandbar islands with water behind them. The pools where about 10 degrees warmer than the lake and I saw a few groups set there stuff up to play in them, instead of the lake 40 yards away.

I'm starting to develop a certain taste for shots of benches (as seen here). There's something poetic about them for me. More often than not you get these city benches that are just dropped on the side of the road because someone might want to sit down. Then there's the other kind of bench, those benches that are placed intentionally at a location because people WILL sit there, because they overlook some mammoth spectacle of nature or awesome vantage point. To take two steps closer and get a shot of the lake, you end up with another little pic of water and horizon. With the bench in the foreground (at least for me) it makes me think of how often you can't see the forest for the trees.

As it turns out, I wanted a different angle for that shot but some lake-strolling punk decided to set up camp right in my frame. Oh well, it still turned out ok.

As I said before, Bear Lake's water level has been crazy low for the better part of 10 years. That armada of wave runners parked on the sandbar used to be rented out of this cove but were uprooted by the drought. We've been going to Sweetwater for 10 years and every year I gauge the water level by how close it comes to filling this cove back up. You can see the old docks slumped on the side of the hill on the right side of this shot; and the whole interior is a stagnant pool of moss and weeds. Just beyond the cove, in the center, you can see the glistening turquoise water, just out of reach.

And, notice how the two benches are facing the OTHER way.

If I were some snobby bigshot photographer I would think up some great metaphorical name for this picture. Something about yearning for the past, or maybe some allegory for heaven and hell.

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