Do we have a treat for you! As Michael Jackson sang, "Thriller, Thriller, Tonight!"Join several special guests for an evening of thrilling ghost stories at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 28. Scary story tellers include yours truly; Judy Killion, Rifle Falls camp host; and Amy Wright, youth services librarian at the Rifle Branch Library.Bring your flashlights, lawn chairs and blankets to the Mountain Mist Amphitheatre at Rifle Falls State Park. If the fire ban is lifted for Garfield County, bring your roasting stick and ingredients to make s'mores. Meet Judy Killion, one of our story tellers. Judy and her husband, Allen, have been the Rifle Falls camp hosts for the past four summer seasons. You may have already met these incredible folks when you came up for a day hike at the park. Judy and Allen say they have "three" homes: Their fall home is in Plano, Texas (home of the Texas Longhorn and J.R. Ewing), their winter home is The Farm (outside of Ocala, Fla.), and their summer home is Rifle Falls. When they first came to Rifle Falls, it was just the luck of the draw. However, they fell in love with the falls and have chosen to come back each spring. Judy and Allen describe the best part of their volunteer position as just having the opportunity to live at the park for four months. They enjoy watching the arriving campers "decompress." It is heartwarming to see families spend time together, hiking, camping, picnicking and enjoying the falls. They also enjoy witnessing the cycles and systems in nature. By profession, Judy was a science teacher for many years. She says everything in the textbook is alive and dynamic at Rifle Falls. Judy shares a story about a family that comes to the park very year with their young children."After about four days of camping, I was teasing the mother that she might have to throw the kids in the creek to get some of the dirt off them. She looked at me quite serious and commented that she brings her kids up here for one week out of the year just so they can go 'feral'." Judy loved that philosophy and wished more kids had that opportunity. The falls is a wonderful place for children to connect with nature and explore. Judy always tells people that if they don't have time to hike up and over the falls, to be sure they take the short trail that goes behind the falls."I explain to them they can stand on the ledge and watch the water fall from behind it. That's something many people will never experience," Judy said. Our second special guest presenter is Amy Wright, youth services librarian for the Rifle Branch Library. Amy has held that position for five years and is a Colorado native who has called Rifle her home for the past 12 years. Amy loves working with the children of the community, reading stories and sharing the joy of reading with them. Amy is particularly proud the Rifle Branch Library received a grant to bring the Discover Earth traveling museum exhibit to the library through Aug. 17. The Rifle Library was one of just 10 libraries across the U.S. to be chosen to host the exhibit. Amy feels fortunate to live in Rifle, as the area itself is a "hidden gem." The community of Rifle is her back step and a gateway to all of the natural beauty of nature has to offer. She has a particular affinity for the Hubbard Mesa and Roan Cliff area, and can be found most weekends exploring their trails on her mountain bike.Come hear Amy and Judy and me Saturday night for an evening of ghost stories. It'll be scary stuff, I'm sure.Rifle Gap, Rifle Falls and Harvey Gap are managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, created with the merger of Colorado State Parks and Division of Wildlife. The agency manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado's wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs. For more, go online to www.parks.state.co.us and http://wildlife.state.co.us.Terry Wise is the summer season park naturalist and volunteer coordinator for the Rifle Gap State Park Complex. Reach her at 625-1607.
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