Sunset from our camping trailer at Fun Valley…

“Did i contradict myself?” Mark Twain once rhetorically asked, “Very well, then, I contradicted myself.” As you may have gathered from my Facebook page – which has now bec(om)e the official, sacred electronic site documenting our absolute infatuation with our daughter’s Light – i’ve returned from a week of sleeping with, mingling among, and totally loving the enemy.  The ‘enemy’ being of course, my life-long friendly rivalry with…Texans.

Y’all heard me right…Texans.  Lots and lots of them.  Everywhere.  No, i didn’t whisk my family down to the Lone Star State…didn’t have to.   For, come Memorial Day through mid-September, a good percentage of Texans trek toward the headwaters of the Rio Grande River, just west of Southfork, Colorado, and repopulate their own summer snuggle city; Fun Valley.

Dewa and Skeeball…the ear-to-ear perma-grin didn’t leave her face, or her mothers for two hours after this ride!  just looking at this pic, and the perma-grin returns to my own face and melts into my heart…

I used to make public fun of Fun Valley, pointing it out as the epitome of everything that is wrong with outdoor America.   Today, my inner fussing baby boy has shut up courtesy of witnessing and participating in the nature-based awe and fun that Fun Valley has provided my daughter the past two summers.   Yesterday I badly wanted to scoop up a Fun Valley logo cap to outwardly display my newfound embrace of this kid-palace among the 17 lake-studded pine and aspen riparian paradise.  Despite the fact that the entire place is run like some sort of aging Texan mafia, and that nearly every staff member is a walking heart attack just waiting to happen, they are also all deeply adoring of kids, family, and really, really good southern-style food.  And, of course, all things Texan.

Last summer we rented a tent site.  We were the only ones in a tent among an ocean of RV’s, rental trailers, and quaint cabins.   This summer, for Dewa’s graduation from pre-school, i chose a rental trailer so basically, Joy could actually sleep.  The whole tent thing has become very difficult for her since having Dewa…so, we moved into a trailer set between an aspen-laced mountain and the “Auming” of the South Fork of the Rio Grande.  Having spent several of the happiest years of my life living in trailers,  ilg was as happy as a Lark Bunting at a double-header.   Dewa immediately took off on her two-wheeler around the paved paths and roads endearing friends like a cycling Pied Piper of kids.  Meanwhile, Ananda busied herself setting up our temporary h(om)e as if  someone plopped her down into a mansion…which our 30′ trailer felt like compared to our 3-person tent.

Gold panning outside Creede, Colorado after going inside a mining tunnel museum…there was plenty of gold dust shimmering within Willow Creek.  The white tent, photo left, was the Extra and Wardrobe tent for The Lone Ranger movie set, which was filming here.

Inevitably, our lifestyle pace slackened to be inspired by the luxury of following our own desires into the beautiful backdrop and nearby adventures such as rock climbing at Penitente Canyon, sand play at the Great Sand Dunes National Monument, hangin’ in Creede, and most of all, just cuddling my girls non-stop in physical and emotional ways.

Fun Valley allows Conscious Parents to deeply intensity the cherishing of chi-ldhood;  both theirs and their sibling(s).    Immediate friendships are struck by the kids with kids of other visiting clans…and the Teaching of Impermanence never so sentimental as tears roll down cheeks as it c(om)es time to leave…

“Om Mani Padme Hung…” imparting to my daughter the Highest Teachings of Yoga…the Sacredness of the food we eat and the understanding that one day, who knows when, we too shall be eaten by the UniVerse…Dewa baited her own hook, casted, practiced patience, set the hook, and reeled in her own Trout Beings;  all to the tune and understanding of the Sacred Mantra.  Her Granddad Puggy could be felt smiling from Above during our fishing adventures and Teachings.

“Daddy?” Dewa ventured as we walked away from the Fishing Pond for the last time before driving home…

“Yes, Daughter,” i replied squeezing her close to my hip as my other hand held our freshly caught trout, poles, and tackle…

“Why does the Fun have to be over, now?”

“Oh Sweetheart,” i replied,  dropping down in a yogi squat to get eye-level to her and setting down the external gear so i could take both her precious hands into my own, “We never REALLY have to leave Fun Valley or the fun,  you know why?”

Without missing a beat, she answered while gently pressing a finger into my heart area, “Because the real Fun Valley is in Here, right?”

“You got It, girlie, girl…dat’s exactly right;  our Real Fun Valley is all-ways inside us!”

“C’mon,” she said, “Let’s go show Amma our fish!”

“Great idea, let’s go…” i agreed as we clambered onto our sunlit bicycles…

“I’ll RACE you!” Dewa shouted as she blasted off toward our Trailer Mansion one final time…Tears danced the corners of my eyes and a voice in my heart said: “Worship this, worship this, worship her chi-ldhood.”

Feeding Amma some ‘seaweed’ from the South Fork of the Rio Grande…

School is out and today is Dewa’s first day at summer camp which is held on Mondays and Fridays and is basically nothing but field trips to the great local areas of Durango.   This short and magical time that’s like a dog-ear page keeper in my chi-ld’s life…pages of memories among river play, camping, zen marveling over flowers, ladybugs, and a carefreeness that chi-ldren abide within like a second skin.

May all Beings Everywhere worship this day, this opportunity to worship our own inner and/or outer chi-ldhoods…and may we all be brave enough to turn off our judgments and sleep with our enemies…Thank God for Texans…

Reach Steve Ilg at steve@wholisticfitness.com.  Blessings from 6,512 feet…

5 Responses to “Sleeping With The Enemy…finding my inner “Fun Valley””

  1. Leslie Hutchinson says:

    Hey friends,

    Oh my gosh – having grown up in Salida – I laughed till I cried remembering trips to Fun Valley….delighted that the Fun is still happening there and inside the heart of us all. LH

  2. coach says:

    Precious Yogini LH!
    just wait till you see the video! working on it now! viva la Fun Valley!

    head bowed,

  3. padma says:

    Ilg Clan,
    Ryan and I stopped by your Fun Valley hOMe looking for you–you must have been out panning for gold!
    Seeing the bicycles, fishing gear, and all kinds of other toys and all the FUN going on made us smile.
    We also had a good laugh about being stopped by the Sheriff and then later chased down by his Deputy to check for our guest pass!
    I bow in wow of your adaptability and depth of lOve.
    May RV’s be mansions to us all, miraculous in the mundane–here’s to the Chi-ldren :)

  4. Kevin Burnett says:

    As I told my son (who is graduating high school this week and has mixed emotions about leaving friends and fun behind), “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” quote unkown.

    Love your “worship this” statement Coach. I’ve been telling myself that same thing all during this week of big changes for my Son and our family.

    I have a whole new respect for my Mom who quietly let me leave Michigan 31 years ago on a bus headded for the PCT. At the time I did not give it a second thought (being 19 and all), but today I see just how hard it must have been for her as I prepare for my own Son to leave home.

    You’re doing it right by remembering to be present and worship it all Coach.

  5. coach says:

    Most Treasured Padma and KB!

    inspiring input…may we smile upon our own Bardo Entry…for no other reason than, “Because it (our life) happened…”

    thank you,

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