Over the years we (the Caster's) have spent many of our 4th of July celebrations with Allsion. Most of which have occurred in the mountains just East of us at a family cabin, where we would roast marshmallows, delight in how amazing beer tastes while camping, and honestly not care that our children were covered in the black earth for the duration of the trip. Before the sun got too low in the sky, we would load both families up in the truck and trek down the hill to enjoy "the bombs bursting in air". We had the perfect perch on the hill just outside Collbran, all of us in awe of the spectacular show that always exceeded our expectations.
It's been a few years since we have celebrated our country's independence, so this year we planned a grand return to the once vibrant tradition. A multi-day camping trip just outside of Gunnison. As will all grandiose plans, the seem great at the time but when reality sets in, you begin to see the flaws: First- the fire ban across Colorado (this year nearly the entire state was burning up- from Ft. Collins to Colorado Springs and even in our own back yard of Debeque.) And what fun is camping with no camp fire to enchant the evenings and warm the mornings? Second: required portable toilette - no more outhouse on the property, instead the new covenants state we have to have a septic or transport our poo out. Third: the remembrance of Allsion and I attempting a week long camping trip with the kids that ended MUCH sooner than anticipated. We had expected a week of non-stop friend time knitting, relaxing, chatting, and perfectly behaved children. What we got was quite the opposite, and just remembering was enough to scare me out of committing to what possibly could be a repeat of that.
The Revised Plan: Collbran pancake breakfast, parade, and a trip up to a quiet little stream to splash the afternoon heat away. This was actually a perfect replacement. Besides the long line for the pancake breakfast, the whole days was a nice little escape. The parade is one of the best I have ever been to, not for the amazing creativity level of the floats, but for the uniqueness and plethora of treats that are thrown to the children lining the sidewalk- can you say OTTER POPS. Yes we were abundantly supplied with frozen otter pop popsicles and the kids loved it. After the parade we made our way up and around my favorite lake, Atkinson, to the inlet stream. The kids, even though it was cool and cloudy, spent the rest of the afternoon splashing in the creek and exploring, while we adults sat and enjoyed the scenery and company. Our afternoon came to a beautiful close when rain clouds rolled in and had mercy on our dry parched state.
I have never in my life been more happy for a downpour.