My visits to Colorado mainly revolved around two Boy Scout camping trips to Camp Alexander. Camp Alexander sits in Eleven Mile Canyon, west of Colorado Springs. The only nearby towns were a little hamlet called Lake George, and a slightly larger village, Woodland Park, consisting of little more than trailer homes for migrant workers, and one main business street.
Camp Alexander contained canvas tents, a mess hall, lake, shooting range, and plenty of steep trails. I never accomplished anything terrific at Camp Alexander, other than the arts of canoeing, rowing, and ascending “Cardiac Trail” without actually keeling over and entering cardiac arrest. The immediate wildlife is mostly small woodland creatures like chipmunks, and ants looking for snacks. In two years, we saw one bear.
A grumpy, extremely elderly man with bow-shaped legs operated the rifle range. Everyone called him “The Warden,” though I never asked why. Prone position rifle shooting didn’t suit me too well. The kick from the rifle jolted my meager body more than I realized. During the first session, I nicked the target paper twice with my ten shots. I didn’t actually hit the target, just the paper. My dad attended the first trip, and he shot so well he received a marksmanship award.
Another, more horrifying series of events, culminated in this small, circular, walled staging area that also doubled as a chapel. To me, it felt like a sacred site where savage civilizations sacrificed goats and virgins. Although the superiors of the camp tried to improve our spirituality with events in this miniature arena, they also tried to have fun. The camp held a talent contest for each of the troops attending that week. I didn’t care, and I ignored it, but in 1990 (the second of the two trips I attended), no one thought of anything to perform. So one of the other troop members sidled up to me, and asked if I would perform a Jeopardy impersonation I apparently performed in front of a campfire at some other outing. I didn’t want to do it. The skit had no humor, and no resolution. I couldn’t possibly think of a way to end it. My character, Alex Perplex, had to deal with three contestants who just couldn’t handle the intellect of the game show. Like I said, the skit had no resolution, and no running joke, except that anyone who watched Jeopardy on television might chuckle slightly. It was brutal; I’m just glad I stood in the dark, and the “contestants” had the lighted area. The next day, someone from another troop asked me about the sketch. He thought the contestant (James), who worshipped the buzzer (a rock), was actually masturbating. He did feel sorry for me.
Apart from the scout trips, In 1988, on the first vacation to Idaho, my family crossed Colorado on I-70. From Denver, we drove all the way to Grand Junction in time for lunch. Grand Junction is among the least-likely places to suffer a natural disaster. It is on a high plain, with a mesa in the distance. The sun shines most of the time. Rain rarely falls, so the river is always low. There is no seismic activity. Grand Junction isn't even that prone to blizzards. Absolutely nothing happens in Grand Junction. I have no idea how the town exists, other than its position on the interstate.