As I plan for a summer trip to the Rockies, I can’t help but take a ride down memory lane. Many years ago (way back in the 1980s), my college summer breaks were spent working at a lodge in the Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. It was summer camp on steroids. I worked six days a week and spent every moment I had off either hiking, biking or partying with friends. Friends who were from all different parts of the country. Many who I still keep in touch with (thanks to Facebook we’ve reconnected) but sadly I’ve lost touch with many. Roommates, work friends, people I can’t even remember their names but remember fond times together.
I loved living there ~ the mountains are stunningly beautiful, the air is clean, and the lifestyle was extremely addictive. Not much to worry about unless you were climbing a mountain or out in the back-country in the winter where there was a definite possibility of serious injury or death. I jumped at the chance when I was offered a winter position. I took a year off of school. Not a decision my parents were thrilled with and when the snow was piled high with -45 degree temperatures (yes, negative forty-five), I wondered myself about my decision. But looking back I don’t regret one moment. It was truly a great place to spend my late teens and early twenties.
When I left for the last time (in 1988), I made the conscious decision not to return, even for a visit. I was afraid I would want to move back. I even purposely missed the reunions. My memories were so wonderful that I preferred those to returning. I’m ready now though and plan to show my daughter all my old haunts ~ at least the ones still in existence.
I dug out vintage photos but will keep the “upside down margarita” party photos to myself. I’m so thankful there were no smartphones (instagram, snapchat, etc) during those days. Some things are better remembered in my mind and not on digits.
My exposure to life in the Rockies left a lasting impression on me: it made me a “powder snob” skier, a strong supporter of the National Parks and very respectful of all wildlife.