Monday, July 7, 2014

Why do we love MarVal so? My favorite moments...

Hello!  I'm participating in Teacher's Write, a virtual summer camp for teachers.  I've decided to incorporate today's lesson into my camping blog.  We visited MarVal Family Campground near Gore, Oklahoma, over the July 4th weekend, and I'm so glad we did! Read below for a short description of my favorite moment of our trip.

Short description:  It was the hottest part of the day, and I was sitting in my camp chair, dangling my water shoe-clad feet into the icy water of the trout stream.  My eyes were on my husband as he was swinging a flourescent yellow line into the water across the stream.  At the same time, I watched my daughters, one tall and skinny, the other shorter and plumper with her puddle-jumper fastened around her middle.  As they splashed in the river, their gleeful squeals filled the afternoon.  Out of the corner of my eye, I watched my own mother as she slowly ventured deeper into the water, a smiling memory in her eyes.

Sounds:  Water.  People.  Insects.  Nature.  The loudest, most constant sound is the water rushing by.  I'm sitting right by an area where the water rapidly crosses some rocks.  Water is often personified as laughing or giggling, but this sound was not human.  The constance of the sound quickly relegated it into the background, but I think it helped cool the hot day.  The sound of my children's voices was welcome, as my mother instinct constantly monitored their safety in the water.

Touch:  The water is icy cold.  Yes, it's July.  MarVal is located near the dam of Lake Tenkiller, and the water that's released into the stream is from the bottom of this large lake.  The temperature is so cold that one can't swim in it for long without teeth starting to chatter.  Cold, icy, freezing.  The cold makes my daughters squeal and laugh as they step in.  My mother smiles through the pain as she gradually steps deeper and deeper.  It idly occurs to me that there's no need for a cooler; I could just dunk my drinks into the water and keep them there.  My favorite part of this spot is actually the leaving.  The stream is in a slight valley lined with trees, so the icy water cools the air and the shade helps create a spot of natural air conditioning.  When I walked up the hill and back into the real world, the hot summer sun slammed me with the reality of July.

Short description revised, adding sound and touch:  As I climbed the small hill, I left the shade and the natural air-conditioning of the icy river.  I glanced back over my shoulder, and in my memory I could still see my husband hopefully casting this flourescent line as my gleeful daughters splashed nearby.  The background noise of the rushing water only added to the refreshingly cool feeling of this secret summer spot.  Once more, I watched as my mother ventured in, smiling through the pain of the cool water, so recently trapped at the bottom of a deep lake.  In her eyes are memories of the man she loved, wading into this same water in search of succulent trout.  Her slow, steady journey shoulder-deep into the water reflected her painful journey after my stepfather's death.  I watched her determination and then her newfound joy as the cold river caught her and she rode the gurgling current downstream, a purposeful rider finding joy through the pain.

Well, that turned into a mini story about my mom!  It's so interesting where writing takes you.

A bit about MarVal:  It's a family campground, complete with a pool, craft center, and other fun activities.  Since it's gated, the campground is safe enough to give older children a bit of freedom.  We always camp with friends, and we try to find spaces near the playground, so the children can run back and forth from the campers to the playground.  There's also an arcade, so the kids are often begging for quarters to play games.  Of course, the stream is cold and stocked with trout, so there's great fishing!  In the hot summer months, it's fun to grab a raft and float down the river.  If you have children, you should camp any weekend in October to enjoy their Halloween festivities.  MarVal is a must for families who love camping!

My stepdad, several years ago, fishing at MarVal:

These were taken just the other day at the same spot: