What was once Tipton Flats, Idaho.


I stepped onto the once familiar campground. The air, filled with the scent of pine and the sound of the nearby rushing creek, now seemed quieter and smaller than it once was. The campground of my youth, a place that had been a canvas for countless adventures and the backdrop of my childhood’s happiest memories, lay before me, altered and empty.

It’s strange how places that once seemed eternal can change so drastically. The campground, which had stood as a testament to nature’s rugged enduring beauty, had fallen victim to a wildfire. Where there were once tents pitched under the stars and campfires crackling into the night, there was now only the charred skeleton of what used to be. Most of what was are no longer visible, but you can still see clues in the blackened fence posts left behind with no fence and the hollowed-out tree remains.

Walking through the remnants, I felt a mild tug of sorrow. The laughter of friends and family echoed in my mind. The trees that had once stood tall and proud were now mere stumps or gray sticks strewn across the mountainside. It was as if the very essence of the place had been drained, leaving behind a void where joy once flourished.

Yet, amidst the destruction, I found a deep sense of appreciation. The memories created here, though distant, were untouchable by the ravages that had claimed the trees. The lessons learned, the bonds formed, and the simple joy of being together with friends and family—these were gifts that no force could destroy. I found the reminder I needed. That the joy of my memories wasn’t about the location, but about the community.

As I stood there, in the quiet aftermath, I made a silent promise—to remember not just the place, but what it represented. It was a sanctuary of simplicity, a corner of the world where the complexities of life melted away, and the only thing that mattered was the present moment. Particularly moments where I could know and be known. Where the delight I found in the people and world around me was lifted in praise to The Creator.

The campground may be gone, but its legacy lives on through me and everyone whose life it touched. We carry forward the spirit of those days spent under the open sky, a reminder that while places may change, the experiences they foster remain with us forever.

In the end, it’s not the place itself that holds value, but the love and laughter it houses. And for that, I am eternally grateful.


…right after the fire…

…and now.

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