I moved to Gold Hill in 1962. I was 8 years old. The town was pretty sparse, with maybe 5 or 6 families. The Finns, The Shepards (Don Shepard was the maintainer man,) The Pecks, The Farrs, The Gibsons, and in the summer there were still some very old Bluebirds (a lady's vacation club out of Chicago that ran from 1921 - 1959 at the hotel, but many ladies bought summer cabins that they'd return to every summer.) Us kids would explore the old minder's trails, ride horses, smoke in the old chicken coop behind the brown house, and lay in the tall grasses for hours watching the clouds go by.
At some point, Coach Walker told some of our parents that he was gong to open up the pool at Trojan Ranch fur us Gold Hill kids every Tuesday, so we could swim! This was a very big deal! I wasn't much of a swimmer back then, but it could get hot in the summer, and being in the cool water was an extravagant pleasure! Never mind the fact that most of us didn't really have running water, so I suspect the Coach invited us up to not only get cool, but also to get clean. (smile.) I also suspect he probably had to clean the pool once per week, and he figured, hey why not let these kid play in the water and get a weekly bath at the same time, then I'll clean the pool. It was a generous, magnanimous, and benevolent thing to do for us kids. And in fact, I always thought of the Coach as a jovial, kind man, although I only really saw him from afar - but I knew exactly who he was. I also remember Gale as the most beautiful woman in the world. Her only competition was Kari Gibson who was also stunningly beautiful. They were friends. I held these two on a pedestal, as a child.
Hi! My name is Lillian Payne (maiden name: Lillian Hogan), and I spent years at the Ranch as a camper and three years working as a CMR staff member during college. I wanted to share an excerpt I found from a journal entry during my time at the Ranch: July 15, 2005 Living at the Ranch makes me so happy. I've been bursting into song spontaneously. I feel more confident. One thing I have always come away with from my summers at camp is "take yourself less seriously." I've been trying to slow down and appreciate each passing second and each passing day, as opposed to eyeing the next phase. I'm having so much fun during this period in my life, why rush it? With each conversation I have with my fellow staff and campers, I feel a deep kindred connection. This is one of the many gifts the Ranch has given me patience and a centered body and mind. The ability to fully inhabit a moment. Thanks to my time here, I am beginning to observe without reacting; I am beginning to see the world more fully and clearly and with a whole lotta love. There is a bluebird singing at my window against an impossibly gorgeous mountainous backdrop. A chipmunk then hops and scurries down the beaten path to the Columbine South cabin. I am so cozy and content in this sweet blanket of nature. Sometimes you just have to look at yourself in the mirror and smile. This is me in 2005 with camper (now staff!) Rachel. Loved the burnt orange staff shirt color that year. Shout out to the 2005 CMR crew!