I’ve been home a week now and I’m just putting in my last batch of laundry seven days later. As I emptied the pockets of my black and dark green Columbia rain jacket, I could still smell the bonfire and imagine the kids with marshmallows sitting around on logs and camp chairs. I recalled the laughter of one of the nights around the fire when we were all there reminiscing and ‘telling’ on each other about things we remembered growing up in this family.
So many times as I was out on the lake, over by the bridge, or walking around looking for license plates, I forced myself to more-fully absorb the experience so that I could easily recall and relive it later in the year — when there was snow on the ground or when I just need to breath in peace and calm. I consciously breathed more deeply, and I searched the surroundings and locked them into place in this old, aging brain of mine. Several times I thought of my sister, Louise, and realized with so much sadness for her because she hasn’t been camping for quite some time. It breaks my heart for her, and for me, really, because I know I’m heading in the same direction.
Everyday I looked for the sunrise. It was at 7:36 a.m. the first morning I was there and by the end of 18 mornings, it was coming up at 7:45 a.m. It’s perplexing to me that we are losing that many beautiful minutes of sunlight each day. Add to that the other end of the day when it goes down a minute earlier every other day. Several mornings I just held out my arms like a giant T and faced the sun and took it all in to my soul as deeply as I could. I remember my dad always checking for the sunrise all the years mom and dad were at the cabin. And maybe that’s why I do it, too.
I tried to walk each morning around the S of the campground. I’d head north from my spot up to number 37 where Scott and Steev were staying and then around to number 1 and the lower loop. Then I’d head from number 25 over to the trail-head parking to see if there were any new people over there, and then back through the group camping sites. Once in a while I’d walk down to the lake for my first grand view of a misty morning or a couple of times I saw the magnificent reflection off a ‘glass’ lake. Most mornings there were only a few people up at 6:30 and I loved having the whole place to myself. I inhaled the smell of fire, bacon, coffee, pine, and oh, yes, often the outhouses. Not a good smell!
By the time I’d get back to my camp there were usually a few kiddos waking up. Fisher was usually wandering around looking for something to do and I’d see a couple of Tami’s kids. Deer, rabbits, sand hill cranes, squirrels and chipmunks were aplenty, and birds were already singling out their hello’s at sunrise. I think back to the happy sounds and my heart fills right up. I love early mornings in the mountains. I loved waking up and seeing one or two stars still visible and checking over the western mountain to see what kind of day God was preparing for us.
The next hour or so I’d exercise, read, clean up my tent and make my bed [cot] and get ready for the day. I like to get everything put away just in case someone from the other camps came over to visit. I also needed to get everything put away in case one of the grands came. I have to hide some things! Next on my list each day was teeth and hair. Nothing like brushing your teeth with ice cold water out of a faucet that runs right out of the snow shed up on Big Sheep Mountain. And I usually tried to fix my hair with a flat iron plugged into my cigarette lighter. Looking back, I don’t know why I bothered because in a few hours my hair looked like I’d never fixed it at all. We’d either be in the water or in the rain, so it was usually pretty straight again.
I read five books in 18 days. They weren’t small books, either. Usually in the 4-5 hundred page range. What a luxury to read and read and read!
Days were filled with lots of kayaking . . . to the other end of the lake . . . I think I did that three times. Or across the lake, or over to the bridge [at least 6 times] or down the river to Roaring Fork [three times.] One day Scott and Cecilia and I paddled up the the beach and I hiked up to the bridge between the upper and lower lake. It took me a lot longer than I expected but I’m glad I went. I wish I had taken Scott’s advice and taken the kayak so that I could ride back down. They fished and had lunch while I was gone. One day, like 20 of us kayaked down-river five miles. We had, I think, about 15 kayaks. It was a long 4-hour process full of fun, relaxation, a few rapids and tip-overs and lots of sunshine. I loved every minute of it. The other two times we went it only took about two hours each. One day was ‘girls day’ and I loved all the visiting and bonding of those two hours. Nicole, Tracy, Mikelle, Tam and I kayaked to our heart’s content and I want to always remember that day.
Rook. Oh, my goodness. We had lots of Rook going on. Can I just say it’s my favorite game! I love the hours and hours and hours that I get to play while we camp. I don’t care if it rains all day long because I know we’ll find a table or a tote and four chairs to play. I’ve used the same notebook about four years in a row for scoring and it’s so fun to look back and see who played with who three or four years ago. One book is full of Andie’s fancy, scrolly handwriting and that must have been the year she learned how to play. I think we only played one other card game, and only once, . . Canasta . . but it was quite a process because two players had bad backs/knees/bums and had to get all situated in a comfy spot, and two little kiddos wanted to be in the middle of it. I think it lasted about 45 minutes a hand. Ugh! Still fun to me, though.
One night we decided to eat the ice cream that the girls bought in Pinedale that morning. We didn’t have enough dry seating area for all 25 of us, so four of our guys went to Tracy and Tami’s camp and ‘walked’ her 13 X 13 shelter down the road. Yep! They didn’t bother to fold it up or make is smaller, so it was this HUGE spectacle walking down the road. So, so fun! They were marching in unison and it, seriously, took up the whole width of the road. That will always be a great memory.
Hair was interesting. On the days Andie was there, there was much braiding ado. She did her own, Tracy’s, Keziah’s, and did she do Annesley’s and Blythe’s? I don’t remember. But those hairdos were much too fancy for camping out! I so with I had lots of pictures to add here. One day Blythe and Andie spent hours and hours reading and studying Preach My Gospel, readying for their missions. They are just funny, cute, adorable young ladies!
Almost every single night, rain or shine, Scott got a team of young and old to go down to the crossroads near the lower and upper loop to play baseball. Well, more like one person hitting the ball and all the rest catching. I got to hit one day and it was quite a site, I’m sure. this old grammar is in no shape to be hitting balls. But it has become such a tradition that I love being a part of it. There were a few minor injuries. Fisher got a huge shiner, Teryn got hit in the side of the head, and Oaklyn missed getting hit by about a foot as she was sleeping on a rock. I’m sure there are many more hurts and cuts and scrapes from our nightly ball games but I didn’t hear about them. We also played Frisbee several times and I can tell you I’m not too old for that. In fact, I’m pretty darn good at it!
It was wonderful having all my kids and grand-kids there! I was also wonderful to have Cecilia, Nicole and Santina. I think of Cecilia and Nicole as daughters-in-law. They enrich and fill Scott’s and Cam’s lives. I worry about our crazy, dysfunctional, weird, embarrassing family sometimes . . . but they fit in pretty well and they don’t hold it against me. They are wonderful girls, both of them. And so fun! It was great to have Carol’s family close by too. And, I always love seeing the Moon family down on the lower loop. Good times!
Now I have 50 weeks of work and craziness and I’m not looking forward to it. Every year I wish I could quit my job and just relax for a while. Seriously, I’ve been working for 50-some-odd years! But then I wonder what in the world I’d do with myself without a job. I do need a routine, a ritual, and an income, so there ya go. It’s pretty much decided for me. But every month when I see the full moon, I say to myself, wow, it was just one month ago I was at GRL. O,r it was just two months ago. You know how the time was marked at Christ’s birth to A.D.? Well, I mark time from Green River Lakes. [Only eleven more months until I get to go again!]