THE ROOT ISSUE
970-515-6332 | GREELEYENDO.COM
PLAYING IN THE DIRT, FISHIN’ FOR ROCKS, & EATING S’MORES What Better Way to Spend Your Last Summer Days?
These final days of summer, with their brisk night air and their proclivity for carpe diem sentiments, always remind me of the annual camping trips my family and I used to take. To soak up the last bit of summer vacation before the first day of school, my parents would pack up our 26-foot motor home with all the necessities for a weekend getaway in nature, and we’d head to Estes Park, CO. Situated in the foothills outside the city of Lyons, Estes Park is known as a base for the Rocky Mountain National Park, a home to wildlife including elk and bears, and its miles of trails that loop past mountain peaks, forests, and tundra. My siblings and I grew up approximately 45 minutes away from Estes Park, but every year, the sheer anticipation of camping made it seem like we were on the road for at least three hours. I remember I’d pass the time building models in the sleeper area situated above the driver’s and passenger’s seat. This was before the age of seatbelts, mind you, so I would climb up there armed with my modeling set and glue and get to work. Since I was doing precise gluing work in this small enclosed space, I remember always feeling a little too excited while putting those models together. After 45 minutes of inhaling fumes, I’d emerge with wide, red eyes, looking a little too happy about finishing the model. Probably explains why I am the way I am now, huh?
to the site’s swimming pool. But going down the rickety fiberglass slide, which never had enough water to keep your skin from coming to a screeching stop halfway down, a couple of times taught me to steer clear of that pool for good. Once we arrived at our campsite, my dad would complete all the hook-ups and get the motorhome balanced. But the second he was done, we’d unload my dirt bike, and I’d disappear into the woods for hours. The campground ran right next to the Big Thompson River, and the unfathomably long trails that ran along the riverside were a dream for a rambunctious preteen boy. I’d hang out with other kids at the campground where we’d spend most afternoons building jumps and challenging each other to see who could have the best wipeout which, again, might explain why I am the way I am today! Once the sun fully set, I’d pedal my way back to the motorhome for dinner. Our camper was a few editions too old to have side extenders, so my dad and I had to put together the dinner table before meals. But, no matter how many times we built and disassembled that table, it always wobbled a little. When I wasn’t pedaling through the seas of trees, you could find me perched next to the Big Thompson River trying my best to catch an actual fish instead of just rocks — which didn’t happen all too often. I’d also hop in the car with my family to head into town and
check out the cool local shops. My favorite stop was a sugary one named Laura’s, and it was filled wall-to-wall with mountain fudge, caramel apples, and basically anything else a kid could possibly dream of. We’d then venture back to the campsite, so my mom could cook some real food to soak up all the sugar, and we’d top the evening off with some perfectly roasted campfire s’mores. There are few childhood memories that stand out more in my mind than the ones I forged at Estes Park. While I haven’t actually been to that same campground in many years, I’m hoping to journey back there for another adventure someday soon. Maybe I’ll even catch a few more fish this time.
– Dr. Scott Lowry
My dad would check in to Big Thompson RV and Campground while I would sprint over
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