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Estes Park: The First Time

As you know by now, on Thursday I’m heading to Colorado for Estes Wool Market. Well, Estes Wool Market via Salt Lake City and Margene. I’m so excited I can hardly stand it! New sites! New bloggers! New vendors! But you know what’s not new to me? Estes Park itself. I’ve been there before. Yes, indeed, world traveler that I am, I’m going back to one of the few places out west that I’ve already visited. There will be a few differences on this trip, though. Please indulge me as I share a photographic essay of my trip to Estes Park in 1980.

Back in 1980 I went with my church youth group to join up with other church youth groups from around the country to attend a camp called CHIC or Covenant High Congress. There were 2500 campers in Estes Park that week! And, this is an event held only every four years and you have to be a high school student to go – hence, you only get to experience this once. There were huge get togethers with singing and praying and mattress races. I kind of doubt we’ll have mattress races this time but that’s me up there, riding the mattress with a mountain backdrop.

My hair was a LOT longer then than it is now.

In 1980, I wore a pink cowboy hat. Sad, but true. I promise to leave the pink cowboy hat safely in Massachusetts this time. I think I’ll bring a finished Everyday Cardigan instead.

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In 1980 I also wore yellow pants. Thankfully, I don’t have any yellow pants to wear on this trip. You want to know the saddest part about this picture? Everyone else is wearing jeans, right? My mother wouldn’t let me wear jeans on the plane. She told me I had to be dressed appropriately and jeans were inappropriate. Hence, yellow pants. It’s a good thing these were church kids or I would have been eaten alive.

Honestly, though, the best part about my previous visit to Estes was hanging out with my girlfriends. One of my roommates at this camp was my best friend from first grade until sixth grade, when she moved to Alaska. Seeing her at Estes Park was the highlight of my week. I made new friends, too. I left thinking that Estes Park is a magical place where friendships blossom.

Somehow, I think, I’m going to believe that after this visit, too.

This Post Has 47 Comments

  1. Little did you realize what “Mattress Riding” really meant. lol
    Those are some great photos. I can see you as being the girl in the yellow pants. It’s just that little something that makes you stand out.

  2. The yellow pants thing? character-building. hee. I like how they artfully put you in the center of the photograph. Have a great time!!!

  3. My mother always did the same thing to me too, except she was always making me wear a skirt to inappropriate places. Like gym class.

    Have a wonderful time in Estes Park, I’ve been there once too and loved it.

  4. Looks like that first trip will be hard to top! Have a wonderful time, Carole. We’ll all be waiting to hear about it!

  5. Mothers! Mine usually had great fashion sense but there was this one orange trench tent – er, coat. But you look great in both the yellow pants and the pink cowboy hat. I admit though, throughout my entire 2 years in Wyoming, I never once saw a pink cowboy hat.

    Have a great time in Colorado!!

  6. I went to Estes Park the year before last for an Episcopal youth gathering. It’s so gorgeous there!

    I’m jealous that you get to go to a fiber festival, I’ve never been to one…

  7. I think you should bring the pink hat ;o)

    You must be so excited! I can’t wait to hear all about it! :o)

  8. Don’t need to remind you about having a good time….that’s a given…esp when it involves fiber and blogger friends 🙂

  9. Estes Park is wonderful. I’ve not been since I moved south but I have lots of great memories from there. Sadly none of my memories involve yellow pants. Though I do seem to remember a velour tank top thingy (I was in 3rd grade, it was 1980 and my mother prevailed).

  10. Ah yes, back in the days when riding airplanes was a “formal occaision” (grins! My Mom would make me ‘dress up’ too. Was it just a New England thing? (I grew up in Mass. also)
    I hope you have a ball at the fiber fair !

  11. Oh you bring back memories. In 1980, I had to wear uniforms to school, but oh man my absolute favorite pair of pants was bright screaming yellow.

    If you come to Texas, you can still wear a pink cowboy hat and no one will look at you sideways unless you decide to match it to pink boots. Then, you’re a dork. Pink hats should only be worn with brown or black cowboy boots. Pink cowboy boots should never be accompanied by headgear, unless you can get away with a tiara.

  12. My mom did the exact same thing to me growing up… and I went to a similar church event (mine was in Missula, MT though) and I had a blast.

    My last name used to be Buchanan (before marriage) and we had our own plaid. It was mostly red and yellow, with a bit of orange and green mixed in. My mom made me PANTS out of it. And I had to wear them. Often.


  13. Mattress races look like fun. If you can swing it, I think you should do it again.

    Your pink hat reminded me of all the crazy fashion junk floating around in the 80s, some of it I wore. Age has it’s advantages….like recognizing fashion sillies when we see them.

    I hope you have a wonderful time!

  14. I’m sure you will have a wonderful time, and make lots of wonderful friends (little bit envious here, I admit).

    Too bad about the mattress races though!

  15. What a fun look back. I love the picture of you matress surfing. You are going to have So. Much. Fun. I’m envious!

  16. And you’ll be with great friends again! I know I don’t need to tell you to have fun. Did Dale write you another note for this trip?

  17. Have a safe and fun trip Carole! I think you should bring the pink cowboy hat…you could share it with Margene.

  18. My mom was just the opposite–I wanted to wear skirts and she wouldn’t let me. Partly it was because pants made more sense (I rode horses after school) and partly I think it was her–she never got to wear pants growing up and thought I should be grateful to have the option. She didn’t consider herself a women’s libber but by God I was wearing pants, like it or not.

    I bet pink is a very flattering color on Margene. You know, if you were so inclined to take the pink cowboy hat. After all, you would want to take your hostess a gift 😉

    Have a great time!!!

  19. 1980. The dawn of the Reagan Era, and the rise of the pink cowboy hat. That’s a moment in history, right there.


  20. It sounds like a lot to live up to, but I think the knitting community is up to the challenge! You’re going to have a great time.

  21. Carole – those pictures are just precious! I love the pink cowboy hat and the yellow pants……….

    You’d better take pictures, too! Have the most wonderful time! maybe next year?

  22. Hey, the yellow pants look great! The whole trip does, in fact. I think you’re right about the friendships too. Have a blast!

  23. What a fabulous post! That whole yellow pants incident is so familar – sounds exactly like something my mother would have done! Great photos! Like your own personal archive 😉

  24. You know what? All those colorful clothes just mean that you have never been afraid of color which is a trait every knitter should have 🙂 You rocked the pink cowboy hat too 😉

  25. “Singing and Praying and Mattress Racing.” Now THAT is one funny way to describe a church camp!!!

    Have a great weekend!!

  26. I’m rubbing my hands together in anticipation. I’m not so sure about Snow’s suggestion. As a former rodeo queen, I had a real pink cowboy hat and I’m not sure I’m up for a repeat at this point in my life.

  27. Love the “L is for Librarian” and the Estes Park memories. In 1978, I went to a YMCA conference at Snow Mountain, not too far from there, and have great memories of the times and scenery as well. Have a great time at the wool festival! I can’t wait to read about it!

  28. The mattress race looks like a lot of fun, but I didn’t think they allowed that sort of thing at church events??? 😉

    Oh wait, that’s my high school church experience. I won’t even tell you what we got up to at the camping trips for our local Catholic youth group….


  29. What a great story – I love that the good connections you have with Estes can only get better!

    But really, every time I don’t take a hat with me out west, I end up buying a new one…

  30. Enjoy your trip and come back with lots of stuff for us to see and hear about…we all love stuff! I love the photos!

  31. You’re from Brockton?!? My Mom’s from Brockton! She’s probably got 15 years on you, so she’d probably left around the time you started to talk, but wow! Small world! (No wonder her father talked like you…)

    Great to meet you!

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