Never the Same

Claire Lawrence | Merced River

Every Summer for 11 years, I loaded my kids, picnic foods, towels, and water shoes into my car and off we drove from Merced California, up towards Yosemite.

The Merced River never disappointed us! Icey cold, clear, and shallow enough for knee deep wading, it was the perfect waterway for my family.

My kids learned about all the flowers blooming along the river, all the trees, all the butterflies, and even an occasional critter, naturally growing there.

The colorful, smooth river rocks were their treasures, and after splashing, wading, and choosing just the perfect rocks, they came running to the tiny, sandy areas and lime. They ate voraciously, and then began their searches for GOLD!

And the Merced River never disappointed them.

They always found teeny, tiny flecks off mainly “fool’s gold”, it every once in awhile, they struck it rich– with near microscopic flecks of gold.

After several hours, it was time to clean up, leave no trace, and head home.

They slept all the way back to Merced,  and had plenty of stories for their envious friends.

One by one, they grew older and left for college – except my youngest one – a golden haired, lover of Nature and the River, who begged from March (way too cold,deep and dangerous), through July, when we usually found the Merced, perfect for all his activities.

The last time we visited, he was 15 and the following year we moved away due to my husband’s work.

I haven’t been back – except in countless dreams and memories, in many, many years.

But my very youngest, is 17 and desiring to attend college and live in California. So, next Summer, after his high school graduation, we are heading “home” to Cali !

I so look forward to taking him to our river and watching him be completely amazed with it’s beauty and treasures. He will be an Eagle Scout by then, and I’m sure will be overcome with the River’s beauty and wildness.

And someday, I will take my grand babies to our River, and watch them happily splash and search for
just the right rocks, and enjoy the Merced’s sheer beauty.

Support the protection of 5,000 new miles of wild and scenic rivers