Notes from a High Country week | SummitDaily.com

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Notes from a High Country week

Keely Brown

Keely Brown

Is it just me, or are Summit County bikers just about some of the nicest people around these days?

Yes, I know ” some of you may accuse me of not yet being over my honeymoon period when it comes to all things Summit County. I still get dewy-eyed over the sight of Labradors and golden retrievers lolling around in coffee shops, and weep openly at the distant vista of snowcapped mountains in July. But this isn’t the emotionalism of a newcomer; I really mean it when I say that I am floored by the sheer niceness of the bikers I encounter along the bike paths up here.

Me, I’m a novice biker. I’m a big city girl who never had the opportunity to learn, so I’m learning now. But in the meantime, before I get good enough, I take my hikes along the local bike trails by foot.

Because of various reasons not entirely my fault, I’m a slow walker. And I mean slooooow. If I were going any slower, I’d be standing still. This is why I’m grateful to the bikers here. I do my part by staying on the extreme side of the path. Perhaps they’re merely being appreciative of this; but whatever the reason, they do their part by waving, saying hello, and occasionally ringing a bell or calling out to let me know they’re coming.

I’ve never had a biker cuss me out, or try to run me down, or flip me off. Which leads to the inevitable comparison ” can Colorado’s drivers learn something from this?

Probably not, but it was worth a sentence anyway.

I especially love seeing the families and their kids all together. The parents say hi, the kids say hi, the dogs running alongside say hi too. It makes me want to call after them, “Good job parenting, you guys!”

Last week, Tim and I inadvertently found ourselves hiking along one of the local bike paths during the tail end of a charity biking event. As we stood out of the way on the sidelines, most of the bikers said hi to us, and some even waved.

They were so nice, Tim was inspired to help them along a bit. We had reached a point along the trail where there was a rather large bump in the road. Tim stood there with me for several minutes and yelled out “Bump!” to the riders heading our way.

And do you know, every single one of them yelled “Thank you!” back at him? Friendly folks, bikers.

***

Speaking of golden retrievers, we made a discovery on our very first trek up to Rainbow Lake in Frisco last weekend

I’m one of those people who always stops to read plaques, whether they’re set in a wall on a street corner or a stone bench by a lake. This particular stone bench, sitting in front of Rainbow Lake, had a memorial of a different kind. Forgive me if I memorized the message wrong, but it read something like this:

“To Simon

Our loving Golden Retriever

He touched our lives

And the lives of so many others

He will be with us in our hearts

We will always miss him

1990-07/24/01″

This was followed by a bunch of initials, presumably of Simon’s family.

A lot of you out there probably know Simon’s story ” and I’d love to hear it. Every time I go to Rainbow Lake now, I’ll be expecting to see the ghost of a golden retriever, chasing down a tennis ball in the water. And I’ll know it’s Simon.

***

I achieved the pinnacle of “cool” last Friday night. I got mistaken for a character in a Harry Potter book.

Sometime before midnight, we walked into Border’s in Dillon for the sole purpose of seeing the kids in costume waiting for their first edition of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” hot off the presses.

I tend to view anything surrounded by worldwide hoopla with a healthy dose of skepticism, but I’m all for J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter books. I was first introduced to them not by a child, but by a 75-year-old Scottish lady who thinks that they make excellent reading for adults as well. I agree. I was entranced by the first three (alas, I stopped there and haven’t yet returned to the series, but I promise I will).

Somehow the Potter books evoke the most fantastical sagas out of our childhood and youth ” such as “Star Wars” and “The Wizard of Oz”” while still creating a credible world in which bullies and the inequities of everyday life have their place as well.

Within that fantasy world is sadness, loss, and the sometimes-inherent unfairness of life; all realities we have to learn to live with.

And most importantly, Harry Potter has gotten kids to read again.

In fact, the entire plot of Book Six was explained patiently to me by a 12-year-old Breckenridge girl last fall when she and I both got bored by the conversation of the grown-ups at our table. That’s how I was able to follow the plot of Book 7 when I looked it up on Wikipedia the other night.

Anyway, I wanted to see the kids in their costumes, so off to Borders we went. I happened to be wearing a shawl that night, and I was both mystified and gratified when a little girl, dressed like a prisoner of Azkaban, came up to me and said, “I know you! You’re Emmeline Vance!”

The witch with the green shawl, remember? Actually, I didn’t ” I had to go home and look her up. But for some reason, I was immeasurably flattered. Perhaps it’s a sign of age, being flattered by the unexpected ” but always sincere ” attention of children and dogs.

Let’s hear it for the bikers, the golden retrievers, and the Harry Potter fans!