Memorial Day Weekend at Crawford Lake

Every year, Jake’s family goes to Crawford Lake for Memorial Day weekend. Every May, without fail, his parents, brother and family including the in-laws, and even family friends come out for a three-day weekend campout along the lake. Having never had roots or many lasting traditions, the idea of retreating to the same place each year was foreign to me. But after actually spending a long weekend camping along Crawford Lake, I understand why they return to this beautiful scene year after year.

 

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The lush greenery of Crawford Lake is picturesque, the blue skies, ideal for cloud gazing, and photo opportunities, abundant!

Anyone who has explored even a fraction of the breathtaking western slope knows how addicting the views are. So while Crawford Lake is located an easy hour-and-a-half drive west from Gunnison, Colorado, the number of scenic stops along the route easily raised that travel time into nearly three hours. And I regret nothing.

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Shadows dancing across the canyon mid-day.
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Too magnificent for words.

After a long drive, we were all eager to start our relaxing weekend. So while Jake went fishing with his dad and brother, I took my camera out for a long walk and Ronnie took to chasing field mice in the tall grass every time I stopped for a photo. An around-the-fire cook-out closed out the day with more than enough smoked meat and beer to go around. We tried to get some long exposure photos of the stars after sunset, but the relentless wind rushed us to our tent earlier than expected.

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Ronnie standing right at waters edge.
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Ronnie waiting for me to catch up.

We woke up with the sun. And while I love reconnecting with nature in the form of sleeping on the ground, I do not love waking up the puke at my feet. Needless to say, tent life was not for Ronnie.

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Morning mountain views.
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Crawford Lake, Crawford, Colorado.

After a brutal early morning of cleaning out the tent, we took Ronnie for a long walk around the lake, Jake holding his mug of coffee and me snapping away with my camera. We walked over the bridge so I could capture that play of the shadows. We strung up the hammock between two trees in shallow water. We watched the birds fly over the water. We read quietly under the shade.

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Ronnie—the leader of our group—led the way.
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Jake found the perfect spot to string up a hammock and lounge.
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A family of geese enjoying the lake.
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Ripples along the shallow water of Crawford Lake.

But my favorite part was taking my yoga practice some place new: on a paddle board out on the water. I had to quickly get used to the fact that I very well may fall off and into the still-freezing water. I paddled my way out as far as I could and got myself into some basic poses, feeling rooted and unbalanced at the same time.

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Drifting toward the trees on a paddleboard.
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Downward facing dog pose on a paddleboard.

Another afternoon walk, evening photo shoot and night around the fire ensued and along with all of that, more photos.

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The sun peeking through the branches as it descends on another beautiful day on the lake.

A long drive home forced us to leave pretty early the next morning—Memorial Day 2017. And while I won’t make it to Crawford Lake this year for the traditional Ost family and friends Memorial Day campout, I am happy I went and got to experience it last year.

I guess I will never be one of those people that holds steadfast to traditions. Maybe because I am too eager to see new places, too eager to travel some place I have never been before and do something for the first time. I am always looking for that next adventure.

This Memorial Day, I am sitting at home, lounging with my boys, because you don’t always have to go on an adventure to experience new things. Sometimes it’s just the simple time at home, laughing at the TV and remembering the great times that makes me smile the brightest.

Until next time,

Leah Pinkus

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