A few years ago, my family and I drove to Canyon Lake, Texas to visit my cousins for the Fourth of July. At the time, I was an impressionable preteen who was drawn to the intoxicating magnitude of being in an isolated forested area for a few days. I have been on many trips that involved the outdoors, but this trip I remember the most fondly.
The four hour drive was agonizing. Boredom seized me like a virus for the majority of the drive. I remember the feeling of an unquenchable restlessness that aggravated my need to always be moving. Finally the land around us was becoming “mountainous”. The few touches of humanity that speckled the landscape consisted of old cattle farming communities. I looked out the window engrossed by the sight of thousands of trees under a dim lit sky. My mom firmly announced, “Here we are kids!” Sure enough, I saw the lake that was the namesake for this small town in the hill country. Exhausted after a long drive, we kept the reception short and retired for the night.
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The next morning was the Fourth of July. Shortly after a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, pancakes, and bacon, my uncle announced that we would be spending the day on his new boat. We excitedly prepared all the provisions necessary for a fun day on the water.
The lake was beautiful under the morning sky. Birds blissfully flew overhead singing their individual songs. Our vessel glided through the water. I stood at the edge of the boat, mesmerized by the swift cascade of water against the bow. I had never before seen such a clear lake. Below us were unknown depths of completely pristine water. I could see multitudes of fish swimming beneath the boat. It was such an alien, but beautiful sight. I smiled as I realized how lucky I was to see such natural purity. I couldn’t wait to feel the water against my skin. My uncle did not stop the boat until we were in the very center of the lake. Within minutes, we took turns jumping off the side into the cool, blue waters. We merrily splashed about in our life jackets and bathing suits. The lake water was so incredibly refreshing that we swam for hours to our hearts’ content.
We stayed on the lake all day. After lunch, we decided to try a little fishing. By late evening, without so much as a nibble, we were getting very disappointed. To lighten our spirits, my uncle told us that there was a surprise for us when it got dark. All of our faces lit up with curious anticipation. Minute by minute the sun’s light diminished over the horizon. I was in awe. Seeing so many stars appear in the sky was enchanting. Every glittering gem in the heavens was perfectly reflected on the face of the lake like a crystal mirror. Suddenly the serene beauty was disturbed by flashes of exploding colors in the sky. We were overjoyed and laughed in excitement to see the fireworks. Our parents shouted in unison, “Happy Fourth of July!”
This trip is one of my favorite family vacations because of my experience at Canyon Lake. My love of nature deepened tremendously after the adventures I encountered there. Never had I seen such a clear and beautiful lake, nor have I since. Too often, the difficulty lies in finding such examples of natural beauty and taking the time to enjoy these treasures. Because unblemished nature is becoming so rare, I cherish this memory all the more.
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