We were at Rock Creek Campground, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California - not nearly as isolated as Neil's site and our view was limited by dense trees. Although we were in the mountains, it was hot at camp and we took the '56 Ford pickup for a drive. We stopped for lunch where folks were talking about the landing coming up later. Many were making plans for "witnessing history" in a few hours, and I remember getting caught up in the excitement. Dad? Not so much :-). He had his own exploring to do.
Decades before satellite television and Internet and all the technology that we currently enjoy in the most remote places, there was only the radio in the old truck. Dad drove, and I listened to the static-filled coverage of one of the most phenomenal events of our time - certainly of my youth.
I remember we were driving up a long, curved road, and I was lying down in the bench seat with my ear pinned to the speaker in the door. "One small step for a man........" We all know the statement made with that historic step, one that truly spoke for an entire planet. An incredible "first" for our whole world - to have set foot on another.
Camping with my dad was fun, and every trip was different, even though we always camped at or near Rock Creek. He loved to fish in the morning and early evening, and fill the time in between exploring. We would set off after breakfast with a destination "in mind". Sometimes we actually made it there. But there were always side trips that just happened when a road appeared off the highway. Road was often an exaggeration, a track that had been made "some time" was enough to lure Dad to investigate.
As a result, we visited many places that felt like no human had been there before. Sometimes the isolation and "discovery" of unique and strange places had an emotional reaction. We would speak in quiet voices, watch critters foraging for food or making nests, and skip rocks on glassy ponds. When I stepped into an unspoiled meadow I cried.
When Neil Armstrong stepped off that ladder I cried. I so related to his being where no one else had ever been. Putting myself in his boots, imagining what he was seeing, feeling - it was overwhelming.
45 years later it's still a pretty big deal.
And 45 years later I also remember the fun and delight and emotion of making new "discoveries" by following that narrow path with my dad. It gets me excited all over again to get out there and see, touch, and feel new places. To be moved to tears by something new.
Remembering that day also makes me want to revisit Rock Creek and the Sierra Nevadas. I know it has changed as so many places have. Still, I have history there.
With Neil Armstrong and Dad.
|Rock Creek, CA|