Sunday, January 26, 2020
The Big Hole
When I came into Bob's life I was new to Colorado...well, not totally new. Back in 1955, just a couple of years after Doyle Russell moved his family from hail alley in Weld County over to his new farm in Larimer County, my dad moved our family from a trailer court in Tuscola, Illinois, to an Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington, and we drove through Colorado enroute. Dad was a miner.
Just like my father, I pulled up stakes in Illinois and headed west. I was married and had a two-year-old son when I arrived in Colorado the summer of 1970. An attempt to resuscitate our failing marriage is what brought us to Colorado but six months later it was over. Our son, Patrick, and I stayed in Fort Collins while my husband returned to Illinois. Bob Russell and I met at our place of employment, Union Manufacturing and Supply Company. After we started dating he introduced me to his friends, and he had a lot of friends. Among them was Bill Hartwig, which brings us back to The Big Hole.
I was having some trouble with my feet at that time, nothing major, painful areas between toes, mostly. I should have bought myself a good pair of hiking boots and thick socks but instead I chose cheap sneakers a couple of sizes too big, thinking the extra space in the shoes would be more comfortable for me. Oh, my, what a mistake! So, off we went, five adventurers and a guide, headed for the parking area at the trailhead, wearing layers, carrying bottled water, and me with my sloppy shoes.
I cherish the memory of this hike with Bill and Linda. Like so many experiences with friends, most only happen once, especially in our later years. Bill passed away in May of 2015. I can no longer hike and climb. But I am holding out hope that if an entrance to the Big Hole is created on the northern border I might still get into that magical place, pushing a walker or using two walking sticks, anything that works. But if not me, then maybe you. You won't be disappointed...and wear good shoes.