Summer Kick-Off

We just returned from our absolute favorite Gardner family vacation—our annual Lake Powell trip—which always officially marks the beginning of summer for our family.

I’ve blogged about it before. We’ve got it down to a science. . . the same menu, the same basic agenda (water play during the day, movie after dinner, etc.) And despite the fact that we do the same thing every year, it never gets old. In fact, it seems to get better every year! 


This year several things stood out. First of all, we all went on and came off the lake together. I don’t think that’s ever happened! So there was a lot less coming and going, and a lot more just hanging out together. My favorite part of Powell! Cell coverage was sketchy, so most of us didn’t even bother. A few of us went out a couple of times with limited success, and a couple of the kids went to the marina once to check e-mail and do a little work, but other than that, we were probably less distracted than we’ve been in years!

I don’t think we’ve ever had such perfect weather; every day was gorgeous. We were about two hours up the lake, on a private beach that was surrounded by cliffs. That meant that we didn’t get sun until late morning, then the sun disappeared earlier in the evening. The temperatures were in the high 90s, but because our fun-in-the-sun time was limited, it was never unbearable.

And we did have fun in the sun and water. The water level rose every day . . . probably at least half a foot or so. So our beach was continually changing. More kids were able to get up on the water skis and wakeboards than ever before, and we spent hours in and on the water. The kids climbed rocks every day and helped Sean create a great walking path between the two boats.  

One of the boats had a great deck on it that had room for all of us to gather together. In fact, one night we even had a talent show—the kids set up chairs, welcomed us, and ushered the grown-ups to their seats! It was great—I love seeing what kids can come up with when they have lots of time to create and imagine.

We played more cards this year than we ever have before, with Speed and War being the games of choice. Both are games that kids of all ages can enjoy, and there always seemed to be a game or two going on. We also did some fishing, which isn’t a normal Powell activity. But the Browns brought a few of poles, and when Jason went to the marina, he bought a couple more. Most of the kids took a turn, and most of the kids caught something—and they caught several different kinds of fish as well (catfish, bass, etc.).

The vacation was fairly unadventurous—the only uncomfortable moment was on our way to the beach. As we were driving the boat up the lake, it suddenly stopped. When Sterling raised the cover of the engine compartment, it was halfway full of water. Since we were uncertain what was going on—and had seen boats sink before—I rushed to get the kids off the boat and Sterling, Sage, and Shalae started bailing water. Thankfully, we discovered pretty soon that the water intake hose on the cooling system had split, so once the engines shut off, we stopped taking on water. We called the boat mechanics, and they sent out some repair personnel. We were able to get to the beach OK, and the next day they came and took care of the problem, and we were home free!

The only downer of the whole week (and it was a downer!) was missing the Bridegans! I did go out a couple of times to try to get reception, and the most important call I made was always to Shanna. We miss them. But we are so grateful that Liam is doing well! I guess it’s a small price to pay in order to make sure he is receiving the medical attention and care he needs to continue to improve!

As an aside, I know there are a lot of photos. I thought about not posting them all, but I wanted to share them all. You don’t have to look at them all if you don’t want to. (smile)