There’s Something in the Water

When I was 10, my family took one of our triannual trips to Mammoth Lakes, California, a mountain town about 300 miles from our home in Los Angeles. One day we went fishing for rainbow trout on Lake George, bluer than usual after a big winter snowfall. Fishing pole in hand, I suddenly felt a tug on my line. I frantically began reeling — at the time, the only thing I really knew how to do when it came to fishing — until my sister, Erin, screamed.

Something speckled and slippery emerged from the reflections of the brown peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Before I knew it, my grandma had pulled out her Kodak, and I was immortalized in a photograph with a 14-inch, 1-pound rainbow trout.

Until my three older sisters and I moved on to college, my family would vacation at our condo in Mammoth Lakes as a family three times a year — twice in the winter and once in the summer. My grandmother, who would always come along, passed away in 2006.

Mammoth has always offered an escape from the fast-paced, big-city lifestyle that I’ve been accustomed to my entire life. Spending a week in the fresh mountain air every few months cleans out the smog from my lungs.

I will always remember waking up to the smell of French toast, turkey bacon and eggs. After going upstairs to the middle floor of our condo, I’d find my grandma, spatula in hand, in the kitchen.

While she didn’t participate in all the outdoor activities, she always made sure we had a big meal to get us ready for the day. Once we were done eating, she’d take her spot on the couch and watch The Price Is Right.

Breakfast duty is now the property of my dad and Erin, who is a professional chef.

The day is spent mostly outside, starting with a morning game of tennis and ending with a late-night dip in the Jacuzzi and stargazing. Winter trips consist of dressing up like a marshmallow and hitting the slopes.

Stargazing used to be led by grandma, who would take us outside and point out the constellations, everything from Orion’s belt to the big dipper. Spending the first 18 years of my life in the second-most populated city in the country, seeing stars still doesn’t get old.

Just over a month ago, I was back at Lake George with my dad and Erin when I felt a familiar tug. I grabbed the pole and began to reel in. At the end of my hook was a recognizable sight. For the third time that day I handed Erin my Droid Razr and she took a picture.

We ended that day with a half-hour in the Jacuzzi. We were looking up at the stars on the 200-foot walk back to our condo when my sister Amanda said, “You know who I always think about when we’re here?” I did.

Note: This assignment was completed for my Journalism 572: Science Journalism class.