Blue Lakes




A few weeks ago my friend and fishing buddy Ken Mattison sent a song to me recorded by well known local Nevada cowboy singers and poets, Texas Tom Weatherby and Dennis Golden. The song is called “Memories in the Trees”.

In my mind the song is about, how the Basque in Nevada, who endured loneliness and solitude as if it was a badge of honor; but like most men, the honor was only a facade. The Basque I believe found an escape from their solitude by carving their names and art into the Aspen trees and by doing so felt they would find some sort of immortality.

Listening to the song brought back some memories of my own, the kind of memories that are a great reminder of good things, but also a sad reality of loss that many families endure.

My family has been a visitor of the Pine Forest area, close to the Denio area since the early 70’s.

Once or twice a year my family visits and explores the area to the point I guess we feel it’s not only a special place for us, but as if it belongs to us.

Going back to Knott Creek and Onion reservoir is always a treat, but the hike to Blue Lakes is always a kind spiritual, rite of passage sort of experience I believe in my heart and soul that Blue Lakes is one of the most beautiful places that God as ever created.

About five years ago, the family made our yearly trek to the area, but this year my Dad wasn’t able to make the hike to Blue Lakes. Dad stayed at the trail head and occupied himself by taking some pictures and reading, while we made our pilgrimage to Blue Lakes for a day of fishing and hiking.

Once at the lakes, my family did what we always do, enjoy the lakes in our own way; some by hiking, some by fishing, some by taking photos and some just enjoying the solitude.

I decided that my day was going to be, a day I would carve my family’s names in the Aspens. I had never even thought of doing this before, but somehow felt compelled. It took me four hours, but I carved every person’s name in our family that had hiked into this beautiful place, we always called our own.

Although I like the idea that our names will be there forever, my wife feels 
as some of my friends do, that I was defacing the trees. They’re right of course, but seemed to be the right thing to do at the time. Some think I should have respected it by not doing the carvings, some think we earned the right and the carvings will be a sort of Shrine for our family for generations to come.

My Dad died not long after that camping trip.

I’m not saying what I did was wrong or right, but when I heard the song Ken sent I felt that I should write about it.


Listen to the song below:


“Memories in the Trees”



Unfortunately, this song is not recorded on any of their recorded CD’s, but there are two great CD’s available for sale from Texas Tom Weatherby and Dennis Golden, who kindly let me share this song with you. Their CD’s, which I highly recommend are available at Sundance Book Store or at The Flag Store in Sparks. My two favorite songs are “The Girl I Should of Married and the song about Captain Jack”.

written by: Martin T. Smith

All rights reserved. The use of this story or any part of it is prohibited by law without written permission by The Flag Store of Nevada, Inc.

About the Author: Martin T. Smith

Besides being an authority on the Nevada state flag, Martin is the creator of 'The Nevada Trivia Game', author of "The Battle Born Nevada Trivia Book”, “The Nevada Battle Born Cookbook” and longtime owner of 'The Flag Store Sign & Banner' in Sparks, Nevada.