Scrapbook summer days | ParkRecord.com

Scrapbook summer days

By Teri Orr
Park Record columnist

You can try and design a trip with adventures for a teenager and think you know the outcomes but you can't design serendipity and spontaneity. If you are very, very lucky they might pay you a visit.

I had wanted to take my granddaughter on a "just us" trip when she graduated from 8th grade last year. And I always knew where. But I never made the time. This year I remembered my plan a few weeks ago. After a serious talk with myself about what matters I asked her parents if I could take her for a really long weekend. I needed enough days to travel, settle, experience and travel again.

We returned late last night. We had a blast. We both had a blast. And I saw a glimpse at a really kind human who is gonna be more than OK.

We started in Seattle. Arrived around noon, checked in and then walked down from our hotel straight to Pike's Market. The day did not disappoint, it was bright sea-sky blue and all the street people were out in spirited profusion. We saw the fishmongers throw fish and we were in awe at the colorful produce-and giant flowers. Then we started eating seafood-oysters and crab and something local she ordered deep fried. We saw the very first Starbucks that she found incredibly impressive and we listened to a street musicians. She noticed the green and brown van with the name, Canni-Bus, long before I did.

We walked up to the monorail station and zipped over to the Space Needle but the line was impossibly long so we made a reservation to return at night. In the Chihully Gardens was the mind-bending work of the native glass artist and she remembered an exhibit of his works I had taken her to see years and years ago. She took her time and took her shots carefully. I had given her a camera awhile back hoping to give her a different kind of voice for her creative heart. She took pictures the entire trip.

We spent the longest time in the Experience Music Project because Iz drums and plays guitar. Her band with Spy Hop this past year performed all over Salt Lake City and released their own CD at Red Butte just weeks ago. She understands rhythms and beats and where they take you. She appreciated all the exhibits of Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Hendrix and when she hit the floor with jam rooms- well she coulda stayed there all night. Then, since it was still hours before our Space Needle visit, we zipped back to the hotel and grab dinner.

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Earlier we had seen a wedding setting up in the garden space of the hotel and when we returned the reception was in full swing. We decided to eat appies in the lobby and listen to the music. And we watched the parade of elegant guests come in and out of the ballroom filled with beautiful flowers. We discussed the merits of crashing the wedding but we were dressed as tourists not wedding guests. Still, when the band broke into "Sweet Home Alabama," the music spilled out into the lobby and urged us to just take a peek. We didn't try to mingle or eat or drink anything but the music made us stand in the back and watch the party crowd the stage and we all sang along, just for a minute, because joy should always be shared. Then we grabbed a cab to the Space Needle and whooshed to the top for the dizzying perfect night, brilliant view.

In the morning the real adventure started. We boarded a six-passenger seaplane for San Juan Island. The pilot happened to be a woman. And since Iz — music aside –really wants to be a pilot that was pretty perfect. This part of the trip I knew by heart and hoped I wouldn't spoil the adventure by being too familiar. But the wonder of watching the first born of my first born immediately love the surroundings and then the tiny plane, made me happy in a way I hadn't expected. When we landed on the water at the harbor, a part of me was home-25 years ago I had spent a summer on one of those islands working on a book. I had hoped to one day bring my adult children up to see where I had been so blissfully happy. It never worked out. So this was a kind of restart button.

Our tiny historic cabin wasn't ready when we arrived but we didn't care-we had exploring to do. And events to sign up for: sea kayaking and whale watching. We had groceries to buy in the tiniest store ever. And even more seafood to consume. Roche Harbor is a magical historic place and except for some new condos tucked onto the side of the hill, unchanged in decades. The harbor is filled with large fancy boats and the old growth, forested hills are filled with eagles and ravens and deer. It is beautiful in a rugged way with ocean magic thrown in. And the blackberries bushes everywhere were ripe. Our day ended on our porch, in wicker chairs, looking out at the harbor and hills around it turning some kind of color you don't see in sky, an orangey pink-like salmon. And that color ringed the harbor until you didn't remember where it began or ended. When the baby deer appeared on the lawn next to our cabin to dine on the blackberry bushes and Iz was in awe and grabbed her camera, I felt a joy that had no words. It was a suspended Sunday (out of) the Park…

The adventure continues next week….

Teri Orr is a former editor of The Park Record. She is the director of the Park City Institute, which provides programming for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.