There is a place called Inglenook up in the Rockies a few hours outside of Boulder, Colorado. This land had been in my family for four generations – my great grandfather and grandmother discovered 27 acres of remote land in the Rocky Mountain National Park between Mount Meeker and Twin Sisters and endeavored to build a cabin on that land.
“Inglenook” is of course, a play on my name, Inglis. But it’s also a traditional Scottish/English architectural detail near a hearth, an intimate place by the fire where people gather for warmth. That’s what our Inglenook is too. Family and friends gather here to celebrate weddings, commemorate lives, reunion, hike, camp, cook, work, play, and share stories.
My grandfather and his four siblings spent every summer of their teen years working on Inglenook. What began with Ervine’s cabin has grown into two cabins, an addition, a energy-generating creek with a waterfall, a zip line, a railroad that carries both people an supplies, a teepee, Sunday school rock, hidden trails to secret forts, and memorials for our beloved family members.
Until a few years ago I’d never shown Inglenook to anyone outside my family–keeping it secret felt like keeping it safe. But as the elders grow older and things begin to fall into disrepair, I’m finding that the more it’s at the forefront of my mind, the more I can visit, the more I can do to preserve it with my generation and those to come.
In the afternoon the main room in Laura’s Cabin begins to heat up and smell like pine, and we play game after game of Clue and Monopoly. Before dinner I perform my customary search of the secret nooks and crannies, looking for my favorite hidden treasures – MRE sets from the war, catalogues advertising the regions of Colorado from 1953, books of my great grandfather Ervine’s sermons, hand-drawn maps and drawings by my cousins and I, Readers Digests, sewing kits, incomplete card decks amended with our own Queen of Hearts, and lots of pinecones.
Until my cousin Leah’s wedding this summer there was never alcohol at Inglenook, but when a keg of New Belgium arrived we all knew it was time to turn over a new leaf.
We discovered the perfect campsite in the meadow below the cabins, and cleared away the invading wild roses to make a special spot for our tent. Four nights of camping here under the big Ponderosas and bigger sky was the best sleep I’ve had camping. I washed my face in the creek at sunrise and sunset and Ryan hung the hammock by the waterfall.
For the first time I climbed Cabin Rock, the nearest, tallest mountain to Inglenook, in preparation for Long’s. Every time I explore the land I see something new here, and learn something about myself. This is a place of unmeasurable value in my life, and a place I don’t visit as often as I like, but I’ll be back in October, sharing this special place with friends. I can’t wait.