wilderness, mountains, and entertainment in the rocky mountain valhalla of Aspen, CO


Forever In Our Hearts

Memorial bench for my friend Chuck "Montana" Carlson

With everything happening here in the community, following Bryan Sax’s tragic death, I can’t help but remember my friend and fraternity brother Chuck “Montana” Carlson as well… Chuck also died tragically young, from cancer at 36, almost the same age as Bryan. Chuck was a long-time Aspen resident, ski instructor, and hockey coach. He also left hundreds of friends here wondering how something like this could happen to such a great guy.

One day a few months ago, I was out riding my bike around town, taking pictures of the amazing fall foliage, after a great hike up the Ute Trail to the top of Aspen Mtn with some friends (see my 2nd ever photo on this site “Fall In Full Color“). After riding a fair bit up toward Independence Pass, and taking some pics at the North Star Nature Preserve (pdf), I came back into town and found that the East of Aspen Trail ran into a small winding trail leading to the new Snyder Park, which I’d never seen before…

As I was admiring the park and water feature there, I saw this bench! I didn’t even know there was a memorial bench for Chuck, and here, at the end of a perfect fall day, the setting sun shone right on it. It brought me a sense of peace, and really just made me feel so at home here, like I really do belong in Aspen.

Taken 9/28/2008.