Before I moved back to the Great State of Texas, I lived in Colorado for just about 18 years. Jonny was born there, and I essentially grew up there.
When people hear this, they always ask about the snow and the skiing. I am sorry to disappoint you all, but I have never been skiing. I went on a skiing trip once, but stayed in the condo the whole time while others flung themselves down the icy mountain with two thin little boards strapped to their feet. So, no...no great skiing adventures to regale you with. Hot chocolate and warm socks are about all I concern myself with once winter sets in up north...but you already knew that about me, didn't you?
Now summers in Colorado are hardly ever asked about, but summer is when magic takes hold of Colorado. The rivers in the mountains rush cold with melted snow; the days are perfection for hiking the thousands of mountain trails while the sun warms your skin back to life; the cool nights just beg for campfires, cookouts, and someone to sit close to; the mountains thrust up past the city lights and atmosphere of lower elevations so that it seems that you can almost reach out and touch the glimmering stars; the air is crisp and clean, and the smell of the green pine trees, the rustling of the aspen leaves, the crunching of the trails beneath your feet, all remind you that you are alive and connected to everything around you.
In order to celebrate the best parts of the great outdoors (summer-style), Whitehall Shop has three new prints. There is a bit of a story behind each one...and because I know you love stories as much as I do...
I remember going fishing with my grandparents in Gunnison and Steamboat Springs. Taylor Reservoir in Gunnison was were I caught my first fish (and second and third). I had busied myself with banging two rocks together on the banks of the reservoir (despite my grandpa's instructions to stop lest we scare away the fish) when my line tugged. Mind you, Grandpa baited the hook, cast the line, anchored the pole, etc., all while I was walking around looking for rocks to bang together, but he still gave me all the credit for the catch. I had reeled in a 13" Rainbow Trout. It was the only catch of the day.
We stayed the night in a cabin owned by one of Grandpa's best friends. We had to turn on the electricity and water when we got there. Needless to say, no tv. Grandma taught me about how it takes forever to bake anything at altitude, and Grandpa took me out to log a few trees on the property that we would take home to use in the wood stove (remember that meticulous wood pile from this post?). Everything felt completely organic, though we wouldn't have ever used such a ridiculous word to describe it all back then.
The next day, we went out on a small boat to try our luck in the center of Taylor Reservoir (the shoreline having only been good for rock banging and one paltry fish the day before). We were only out long enough to get to the middle of the lake when the engine died out on the rented boat, and Grandpa had to paddle us around the water for what seemed like hours. I was afraid that we were goners, adrift on a freezing cold reservoir, never to be found again. I should have known better with Grandpa at the helm (and by helm, I mean the next hard metal slat over on the teeny-tiny dingy with no working engine).
Grandpa thought a little motor problem shouldn't spoil our day so we kept fishing (yes, he continued to bait and cast for me, in addition to his new found oarsman duties). I caught two more fish on the boat that day: one 11" Rainbow Trout, one 11.5" Brown Trout. Grandpa didn't catch anything the entire trip, but he gave me all the credit for my three. I can say that in my defense, I didn't like to eat fish back then, so Grandpa did get to enjoy the fruits of all "my" labor from that trip. I can't tell you how much I lucked out in the Grandpa department.
There is so much more that I could tell you about my grandpa...but instead I will leave you with the rainbow trout, found, of course, in the Great Outdoors section of the shop.