My Summers with the Fish at Rainbow Falls

Rainbow FallsI spent two glorious summers working at a private fishing resort called Rainbow Falls in Woodland Park, CO. I was a teenager who had grown up on the beach in California and I found myself at age 13 transplanted into the middle of the woods in Colorado. This is the third post in a series titled 5 Random Things About Me. I hope you enjoy this one. It’s bringing back lots of great memories.

We moved to Colorado after my freshman year of high school. It was like moving to another country. I grew up in Southern California near the beach. From a very large high school, traffic, tract houses, plenty of restaurants and stores to a log house in the middle of the woods 10 miles outside of the nearest small town (1 stop light in town). It was wonderful. I made several new friends right away. I’m not an extrovert but this happened because they came and found me and I’m thankful for that. I had spent the last year in a big high school and suddenly I was surrounded by new friends.

Within a short time, my new friends introduced me to a wonderful place several miles down the highway called Rainbow Falls. It was a private fishing resort with trout ponds and several lakes where you could pay to fish. The lakes were all stocked and when you bought a pass to fish there you were guaranteed to get your limit. I fell in love with this place and the people who owned it. I can’t even remember how it happened but one of my new found friends and I got summer jobs there and worked there for two summers. They were some of the best times of my life.

My friend Todd and I worked for almost nothing. We worked for the pure joy of what we were doing. It felt like being paid to have fun. We cleaned fish for the guests, we sorted and fed trout, we stocked the ponds and lakes and we helped run the store. Every day seemed like a new adventure. Some days I would come home. stinking like fish and my mom would have a bath already drawn up for me. I’d collapse into the tub, exhausted and happy. I don’t eat fish (ironic, I know) but I would bring fresh fish home for my parents and sometimes I would bring a bag of fish guts home to feed a raccoon family that would come up onto our porch. Every day we had lunch cooked for us by a German lady who fed us huge amounts and insisted that we ate every bite.

Having this opportunity as a kid was a great experience. I was also able to volunteer at a Lion’s camp for handicapped children one summer. These early work experiences set the tone for my future career. I learned that you could be fulfilled by working in a job that you love. I learned that working hard was a reward in itself. I learned that I loved working with people. Even though these jobs were very different from my eventual career as a nurse, they built a solid foundation.

When I was getting ready to write this post I looked to see if Rainbow Falls had a website. I found that they are now called Rainbow Falls Mountain Trout, Inc. and they are now a limited membership resort.  You can find them at

Did you have summer jobs as a kid?

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