Christopher Creek saw a busy holiday weekend. Cabin rentals were at capacity. Parking lots were full. Hosted campsites were full. Camping at the end of SR 284 and along Colcord Road was crowded. There were some small gatherings at Creekside RV and the artists were busy creating another masterpiece on a second dumpster. Friday evening saw a good gathering of locals on the newly-expanded patio and the Creekside restaurant was open for dining. The Greg Paul Band entertained a nice crowd Saturday evening at the Landmark and Darren, the Guitar Guy, played for a large number of diners on Sunday afternoon. Beau and Elsa hosted a barbecue on Memorial afternoon with a limited number of folks.
Yes, there was ample traffic on our dusty, dirt roads. Yet it did not seem to be a crazy, crazy four days here in the Creek.
Tuesday morning, Chief Lockhart asked Engineer Mark Hanson to pull up the call sheet for the weekend, which showed two Emergency Medical Service assignments, one mutual aid assist for the Ellison Fire along Control Road, and another mutual aid assist in Payson as battalion commander. Mark served as the Payson, Hellsgate, and Christopher/Kohls battalion commander for the day shift on this long holiday weekend. He reported the four-hour attack on the Ellison Fire held it to one-quarter acre. He went on to say the strategy for new fire starts was to throw everything they had at the fires early on. All in all it was a fairly quiet weekend for the department. That is not to say it was all rosy, as reports from atop the Rim told of wall-to-wall campers, elbow to elbow anglers, along with mountains of refuse dropped off at unauthorized locations. Also, there were several illegal campfires. Too Tall Bill and Lisa toured the See Canyon camping area on Monday and told of some trash bags left behind, but described it as “not terrible” and there was no sign of campfires. Late on Memorial Day, my old friend Mike Tidwell took it upon himself to cleanup after some campers on Colcord Road. Well played, Mike. This problem is growing without any resolve, it seems. In my time in the Creek, the slow death of Common Courtesy came without an obituary. At one time Common Courtesy dictated civilized behavior. It was a whole bunch of little things you did or didn’t do and, for the most part, it didn’t cost you anything. Close all the gates you open. Hold the door open for a senior or a lady. Talk less, listen more, and try not to interrupt. Keep your noise down at night. Drive slowly on a dusty road. Be polite to your storekeeper or food server. Don’t shoot your gun near a residence. Tip your wait staff well. Don’t race to get ahead of someone where the four-lane highway reduces to two lanes. Don’t hoard toilet paper — what the heck was that all about! Always clean up your campsite and take your trash home. Observe the campfire regulations. Don’t shoot wild horses! There are many more and a couple of these may seem a bit ridiculous. No one around here shoots horses or hoards toilet paper. Can there not be a way to return to the days of Common Courtesy or are we reduced to being invaded each weekend by those who ride roughshod over our beautiful Rim Country? Let me know of your Common Courtesy reminder.
On a pleasant note, Memorial Day afternoon we sat down at a shady picnic table in the common area at the old Grey Hackle Lodge. We met with the new owners, Adam, Kayla, and Elizabeth Cole. Four-year-old Lizzie was a bit shy at first, but she came around. Soon she was holding a fuzzy dandelion in my face, telling me about the fairies dancing on the top. It was their first weekend and they had full occupancy. Lizzie assumed the role of official greeter as she met the check-ins with, “Welcome to our cabins.” Mark and Kayla are both natives from Mesa. Kayla is an EMT and meets the emergency vehicles as they come into Banner Baywood hospital in Mesa. Adam says while they are learning the ropes, he is assessing their requirements for employees. They anticipate being open year-round again. Currently, they are operating under the new name, but are leaning toward bringing back the historic name, Grey Hackle Lodge. This young, ambitious family will be a welcome addition to the Creek.
Please note that we are not saying that Mike Tidwell is old. It’s just that when we first knew him, nigh onto 50 years ago, he was about 7. We are anxious to see my new, personalized front license plate, currently being designed and crafted by our own Bud Light John. You ask what does it say? Wait for it ... and that’s another week in the Creek.