By Anthony Ripley
Special to The New York Times
GRANDBY, Colo., July 1-After months of turmoil and attempts to block them, young people by the thousands were quietly gathering today near Strawberry Lake in a mountain west of here for what they termed "a religious festival".
Early this morning there were about 7,000 people at the remote mountain site. Many of them carried their bedding and provisions on their back for as far as 16 miles. Another 750 persons were on the tortuous 1.5-mile mountain trail that rises a thousand feet up from a county road on the edge of Grand Lake into the Arapaho National Forest.
Still another 3,00 festival-goers were making the long walk up the dusty road seven and a half miles from the paved highway, U.S. 34, to the base of the mountain trail
By mid afternoon outlaw motorcycle gang members, many with their club colors on their backs and wearing German-type helmets, were roaring through Granby on their chopper-style machines, also headed for the mountain gathering.
The gathering was not a music festival but instead a "gathering of the tribes," or communes, from across the nation and was arranged by the Rainbow Family of Living Light, from Eugene, Ore.
They came to meditate in the forest, to chant prayers together, talk over things and play flutes and guitars and drums under the spruce and aspen trees.
Gov. John A. Love said 11 days ago that it was the state's aim to prevent the gathering, not just discourage the long-haired young people. He handed over the job to Lieut. Gov. John Vanderhoof.
But the state's plans collapsed under the weight of the thousands who came to Granby. When the state barred all access to the campground, the young people hiked across the mountains to get there.
For a time, the state attempted to bar all food from the lake, but gave up after three days.
Instead, the state officials settled on a plan to bar the main roads to the site.
There were warnings of health epidemics by physicians at the lake said that things seemed to be under control. At the site there was little evidence of poor health conditions.
Slit trenches for garbage and human waste were dug and promptly covered over when full.
Dr. Kenneth C. Osgood, one of four physicians at the lake, said that one young man had fallen from a tree and apparently broke a wrist and his back, and another apparently suffered an acute attack of appendicitis. Both were removed by Colorado National Guard helicopters.
"We've got enough penicillin so we could treat half of New York City," said Dr. Osgood, who is on leave from the Denver Department of Health and Hospitals.
Mrs. Dorothy E. Davidson, executive director of the Colorado chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, called the state's efforts to block the event "a tragicomedy" "It was comical because it had no tragic consequences," she said after climbing to the site and touring it today.
"At the same time, we should compliment state and local officials for their wisdom in not forcing the issue and precipitating a violent confrontation".
The A.C.L.U. went fruitlessly to both state and Federal offices to force an end to the state's roadblock.
Finally, however, it was the young people who decided the issue. About 3,000 marched out of Granby at 3 P.M. yesterday heading for the lake and the outnumbered police decided to let them through.
The young people had been gathering in Granby for seven days and townspeople said they were glad to see them go.
"I'll be glad when this is over." Ken Vinsonhaler said at his motel west of Granby. "I've been losing $100 to $200 a day. The tourists aren't coming and this is Fourth of July weekend."
Hikers arriving at the mountain site were greeted by a sign that read "Welcome Home," and they camped in a circle that extended about five miles around a marshy meadow.
Smoke from many fires filtered through the trees and some of the young people strolled about naked.
An occasional marijuana cigarette was passed aroundby some, but members of the Rainbow Family said they would oust anyone caught selling drugs. Little other drug use was evident.
One young man, viewing the mountain scene said: "This was written by the finger of the Lord."