THE BEST KIND OF NOSTALGIA THE PLACE THAT PAINTED THE PICTURE OF MY CHILDHOOD I woke up this morning with intense nostalgia for some late summer water skiing on a pristine lake out in the woods. But I wasn’t missing just any old lake; my mind was filled with images of Redfish Lake, a particularly breathtaking body of water situated in the Sawtooth Mountain Range in Stanley, Idaho. Around this time every year, I start missing Redfish, and, while I understand it might seem random, after having spent time there every August from age 4–16, I think part of me became accustomed to it. Some of my greatest memories stem from those backwoods Idaho summer trips. My parents would round up my two older brothers and me, and we’d hitch up the camper and head north. During those two weeks at the campsite near the lake, my brothers and I would have all sorts of adventures. We’d hike long trails up into the Sawtooths, go horseback riding, fish the river that flowed into the lake, ride bikes into town to get ice-cream cones at the lodge, and listen to Forest Service Rangers tell stories around the campfire. Most importantly, though, we’d go water skiing. If you’ve read past editions of this newsletter, you know water sports were my family’s favorite pastime.
My own personal love for water skiing started right there on Redfish Lake. I watched my parents and older brothers carve back and forth across the water during our first two trips, so, by the time I was 6, I decided I was ready to give water skiing a try. I’m not sure there are words to fully capture how much fun I had getting pulled behind that boat, but it was enough to keep me splashing around out there in that freezing water for hours. In the days and years following my first ride, my brothers, my dad, and I would wake up before the sun, put on these funky old wetsuits, and head out on the boat while the water was still glassy. It was during those mornings that I remember being constantly shocked at how clear the water was. Sometimes the blue-green translucence would make it seem like I was skiing right over the top of boulders when they were many feet below the surface. During this same time, my older brothers started competitive slalom skiing, so we endeavored to make our own slalom course using old
Purex bottles, some rope, and rocks for anchors. I have to say that even today, I’m pretty proud of our adolescent innovation! After water skiing, we’d drag our frozen, tired bodies off the boat and into the camper, where our mom was baking a Bisquick coffee cake. I know everything tastes better when you’re camping, but I’m still convinced there is nothing in the world more delicious and inviting than a warm slice of coffee cake after hours in the brisk, cold water. After many years of long road trips to Idaho, we started planning our camping trips a little closer to home at Trinity Lake, and, while we made some great memories there, I’m not sure any were able to top all those summers at Redfish. That cold, clear water; those jagged, snow-covered mountain peaks; the lush, green sea of trees; and the brisk summer nights around the campfire painted the picture of my childhood. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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