My Dad used to take us to De Luz and I loved it. We would go in the winter after a big rain and see if the bridge was washed out. We would go for hikes along one of the many streams and climb giant boulders. On hot days, we would go splash in the river. Even in summer there was still a lot of water. For southern California standards anyway. It isn't the Mississippi. Sometimes we would go for bike rides on the back roads whizzing up and down hills on our ten speeds. Whenever we were there, I felt like I was getting to experience a little bit of wilderness. I guess that has appealed to me for a long time.
My sister and I used to take our dogs, Bunnie and Micah, to play in the river. Now we take our sons. Actually, this is the first time I've taken the boys. Kristen, being the boys' mom that she is, takes her boys often.
It took James and William a while to warm up to the idea of swimming in the river. These beach boys are comfortable with the ocean, but this was a whole different experience. I remember feeling the same way the first time I swam in a lake. I wasn't scared of waves, but the lake was somehow terrifying. At first they just had fun throwing rocks, but after awhile, they joined their cousins and made the plunge. They even crossed the river to climb a very tall rock cliff, wearing wet and slippery Crocs, while a nervous Mommy climbed behind them in a sundress and tried not to spoil the fun. You have to be tough when you are in the wilderness.
After they tired of swimming in the river, James discovered another fun thing to do. He gathered some sticks and began building a fort. I think he would have stayed there for hours constructing it, but soon it was time to head for home. As we hiked along the trail back to the car, I asked the boys what they thought of De Luz.
"Mommy," James said, "wouldn't it be fun to have our very own river? Then we could play in it whenever we want. Someday I want to have a house by a river."
Me too, James. Me too.