When I was a kid, our family took a yearly vacation to Estes Park, Colorado every June. Those are some of my best memories. Oh sure, it wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops. There was the time my dad backed the car into a huge 10 foot diameter tree. Or the time my youngest sister didn’t pack any shoes except snow boots that were too small because she couldn’t find her shoes before we left home so my mom hollered at her. And who could forget all those picnics in the rain and subzero temperatures? Okay, to be fair, none of those are bad memories. They all make me smile and sometimes I even guffaw out loud (gol, if you will).
One picnic in particular stands out. We went on a hike as a family up to Gem Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. The plan was to eat lunch at the top. When we got to Gem Lake, it was breathtakingly beautiful. But man was it ever cold! It seems like the wind was blowing 30 miles an hour. Keep in mind, it was early June in the Rocky Mountains. Not being one to deviate from the plan, my dad set up his camp stove and broke out the dehydrated backpacker’s rice (that stuff is actually pretty good). We all stood around and shivered while Dad cooked it up. Then we each found a crack in the surrounding rocks to break the wind and stood up to eat our rice. After we snarfed down our food, we started the descent. A hundred yards down the trail, the wind was blocked, the sun was shining, and it was a nice 75 degrees. Good times.
These are the things we remember. I could go on all night about my memories of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, but I won’t bore you. Just suffice it to say that I hope my daughter has such great memories of our family vacations.
I have to leave you with one last story though. My dad emailed me this picture of one of the cabins we stayed in at the YMCA out there. The cabins all have mountain-y names, and this particular year we stayed in PInecone. My youngest sister was a ham and every time the phone rang, she picked it up and said, “Pinecone! How may I help you?” For some reason that cracks me up to this day.
This post is a thank you to my parents for all those good times and warm memories. Thank you, Mom and Dad.