Before discovering punk rock, girls, and other forms of mischief, heading-up to Dillon Lake during the summer was the whole enchilada. This would mean hanging out with cousins and friends. The grown-ups had their own adventures, which included all-day fishing excursions that turned into late night card games accompanied by cigarettes and beer.
Us kids would squander away the day hiking, fishing, and general exploring. We had secret missions such as taking swings of Peppermint Schnapps and going though our mom’s purse for hard candies and the occasional dare to steal a cigarette. Once in awhile some of us would attempt stupid human tricks. We roamed around to other campsites looking to make new friends to play baseball in which we used cow pies for bases. Sometimes we’d pick fights with other kids, especially if they were Texans. All in all, the great outdoors was our ticket to unsupervised freedom.
My camping experience was not quite Club Med, but we did hit the Rockies in a Thunderbird camper that often towed a boat. 3 pm Friday afternoon was the magical number. Dad skipped out of work a couple of hours early to beat the impending weekend traffic. Mom had everything packed and in order including my brother George and I. By 3:30, we were westbound on I-70.
The Thunderbird had a loft over the driver and passenger seats. It was where George and I slept. It also had the best view of the journey. Spotting the Red Seal Potato Chip factory immediately wet our appetite for something salty and crunchy and would prematurely be hijacked by the sight and the inevitable passing of the Purina Dog Food Factory. The dog food smell of whatever god-awful thing they were cooking inside that building got the gag reflex going. The cloud of odor had magic powers that seeped and penetrated through our shell of glass and steel. There were points to be earned for spotting the occasional rafter along the creek near Idaho Springs. Then there was the egg-shaped oval "Sleeper House" aka Sculptured House that was in a Woody Allen movie. Once we approached Eisenhower Tunnel, we knew that the campsite was minutes away.
Sadly those days like many of the characters from them are only here in spirit. Spending a couple days in Dillon this summer was like choking on the past. I felt haunted and trapped by my memories. My dad had considered joining Ana and I, but changed his mind last-minute due to concerns about his health, but I had a suspicion he didn’t want to be a burden. It would have been his last time up there and probably the last time casting his pole into the water hoping to reel in a big one. I’m pretty sure his spirit is up there in the high country where it belongs.
In loving memory of: Mom, Dad, Uncle Cheech, and Corky.
Below is documentation, past and present.
|My buddy Andrew took me out on his boat on Gramby lake.|
|Dillon in the morning.|
|Took a bike ride to Frisco.|
|Green Mountain Reservoir|
|Dillon lake in the afternoon.|
|Riding along the bike path.|
|Roaming around Keystone|
|Glad I didn't run into a bear.|
|Ana on top of Loveland Pass.|
|There are people on top.|
|Mid-1970's with Veronica.|
|I didn't really catch the trout, There are several pictures in the family photo album of everyone taking turns holding the fish.|
|A riffle and a fishing pole, that is how my dad rolled.|
|Taken when my parents were stationed in South America. I would say Bolivia.|