From the time I was about 14 on, Lake Nacimento would be the highlight of my summer vacation. Every year as soon as school was through my best friend and I would pack up and head out, trying to squeeze in as much time as possible up north, holed up in her family's cabin, splayed out on the wood deck that sits frightfully high above that big shining lake or sleeping below, on rusted old iron framed beds lining the length of the lower deck, settled, typically, beneath a blanket of wildly scattered stars.
It was here, during these dreadfully hot (and seemingly endless) summers, that I learned about farm raised/local produce, tried polenta stew, snuck cheap beer from well guarded "adult" coolers, fished, drove aimlessly around the wheat fields looking for a sporadic party in the hills, boated, flirted, and everything else glorified in those dreamy visions of what all teenage summers should entail. It was here that we got hopelessly bored and longed for home, but once we got home, only talked about when (and how) we were going to get back. It was here we laughed so hard we cried, walked so long our bones ached, and fell asleep in the sun, tucked in oversized plastic tubes tied to the dock when every one else had retired to the deck, to make lunch or tidy up the place. It was pure and simple bliss.
Taking my family there for the first time this summer was a delight in itself. Seeing the lake through the eyes of the boys was possibly the best part of my summer so far. Arlo played catch with dad for hours (till he got hit in the eye, as the picture below shows) baby Rex fed a family of deer and Leon charmed everyone he came in contact with him when he wasn't standing hypnotized at the railing, watching the water ripples from the ski boats roll below his feet. On the way home, Arlo, exhausted from 5 days off our regular "rountine" sat up from a restless road slumber and asked "So when can we go back there, Mom? I like that place, a lot."
"Next Summer. Hopefully, Arlo"