We moved up the road from Buena Vista to USFS Camp Dick, 25 miles south of Estes Park. It is a jewel of a campground built by the CCC in a glacial valley alongside the Middle St. Vrain Creek. We lucked onto Site 13 about 50’ from the vault toilets and 60’ from the icy clear creek, now running at near capacity on snow melt plus its mountain spring source. We were here across the street two summers ago and hated to leave. The creek muffles all other sounds, and its general absence of cell or WiFi service makes for some old style relaxation. The weather has been perfect with highs around 80 and lows of 50. There is a drinking water spigot, dumpster service, and if you bring a generator, 20 amp service. I am coming to consider Camp Dick my Colorado home. Bears and moose are said to sometimes wander through camp, but the bigger danger to your picnic are the ravens and Steller’s jays. They employ lightning raid attacks on unattended tables, and nothing ruins your bologna and cheese sammidge like a bird’s pecker.
After dinner our first night here we sat at Lucky 13’s picnic table facing out toward the water, sipping Pinot Grigio and listening to that musical creek. As silent as ghosts, two youngish, possibly college age guys resembling characters from Night of the Living Dead (glassy eyed, pale, but not yet decomposing) took seats at our table unseen. One announced their presence with these words: “We need help.” Kat thought they wanted money, and quickly told them “Go away.” But the story continued. These boys claimed to be dope virgins, and somebody unknown had fed them a cereal concoction of Cheerios and Rice Krispies laced with synthetic THC. They ate too much, and were badly stoned. I had an idea. “Do you have anything to play your favorite recorded music? Go listen to it. If you hear background instruments like never before, or you suddenly understand the meaning of the lyrics, man, you’re having a Good Trip. If you find your pet sounds frightening, that’s a Bad Trip, and you need medical attention.” The camp host came over and asked if they needed a ride to the Emergency Room, but they didn’t know. She baby-sat them a while, concluding all was well, as it proved to be.
Last night around dusk en route to the vaults a young fellow emerged dressed in a plaid shirt and camouflage pajama pants. I couldn’t help myself as these words leapt from my lips: “Eew, dude! Plaid with camo? People gonna think you Mr. Busy-ness Man!” Like him, I dress for comfort. Still, I’d wounded him. He shot me a glance that asked “Did you come here thinking this place is some kind of Boys Town?”
He was unarmed, and I lived to write this story. Pray for those killed and wounded in Orlando. Pray that our crazy country can find a better way. Let’s give peace a chance.