Making Great Memories the Hard Way
Updated: Jun 26
Belated Happy New Year! As we begin to plan our 2022 travel, I realize I never finished sharing our 2021 travel experiences. Our trip last summer and fall was probably our favorite so far, even with the challenges we faced, or maybe in part because of them.
If you’ll remember, in Dallas our air conditioning failed us about a week into the trip during a Texas heat wave. Due to supply chain issues (I know, we’re all sick of hearing that phrase), we couldn’t get the unit repaired or replaced. Continue or head home? That was the question. Heading home would have seemed like failure to us, so we modified our plans and decided to head to higher elevations and cooler weather. On the way to Colorado, in Palo Duro State Park, we endured temperatures in the RV of over 100 degrees. Even so, we made a last minute decision to stay for the Texas Musical, performed in a beautiful location with the canyon wall as a backdrop. It wasn’t a logical decision, but we read fabulous reviews, and knew it was probably a once, in our remaining, lifetime opportunity. Consequently, at 8:00 PM we sat, in an open air amphitheater with 98+ degree temperatures, sweltering while watching an outstanding presentation of history telling, music, singing, dancing and a stunning grand finale. It was highly memorable, and what seemed like a ridiculous plan became a trip highlight.
We spent a month, instead of a week as initially planned, in southwest Colorado becoming familiar with a region we came to love. We were still fighting 80+ degree temperatures in the early evening, but it was worth it, because we made countless new memories, from tracking down “True Grit” filming locations, to taking the Jeep up Ophir Pass and to Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride, riding the Durango to Silverton train, and visiting the newest National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Memories we wouldn’t have made with our original plan. We were determined to follow our motto, “make the best of everyday”, and indeed we did!
From there we travelled to Idaho Falls, Craters of the Moon, Yellowstone NP, Grand Teton NP, and in Utah, Deadhorse Point SP, Canyonlands NP, and Arches NP. Our Utah video won’t be published until next month, but you can view the others on the YouTube Videos tab at the top of the page.
On this trip, not only did we live the lesson of making the best of everyday, we also learned how important it is to challenge yourself and push through what you may perceive as your limit. Some of our favorite memories, those that will be everlasting, are from activities we questioned if we should do or not. In the Tetons video you’ll see us hike up to Inspiration Point. It was an extension of the Hidden Falls hike we took after crossing Jenny Lake on the park's ferry. The hike to Hidden Falls was one we did with our family in 1987, and we were very comfortable doing it. From a viewpoint just past the falls however, we could see a zigzag trail, along a rock wall, going straight up the side of the cliff. We stood at the bottom of it watching hikers ascend the trail while listening to others, much younger than us, say they were sitting it out, waiting for family members to return. We lingered awhile and then decided we had to give it a try, one step at a time, stopping along the way as necessary. The sense of accomplishment when we rounded the peak to see the expansive view was fabulous. It was another highlight of the trip.
We had similar experiences in Utah, which you’ll see in the upcoming video. As we passed the Shafer Trail in Canyonlands Larry said it was one of the Jeep trails he read about and was interested in taking. Looking down the canyon, from a nearby overlook, at the narrow road switching back and forth down 1500 feet along the canyon wall, I thought he was kidding. I agreed, however, to start down a bit, just to check it out. Well, the views as you dropped (not literally, thank goodness) into the canyon were incredible and unlike anything you could see from up above, along the park road. It was quite the adventure, one I’ll treasure and never forget.
After several days of taking easy to moderate hikes in Canyonlands and Arches, and loving the jaw-dropping scenery, we initially decided to spend our final day in Moab relaxing, before the long drive home to NE Florida. We had been to the Delicate Arch Overlook, but after the short climb upwards it was still off in the distance and was not a very satisfying view. Overnight, I felt if we didn’t see the iconic arch, up close and personal, the one on the Utah license plate, our Arches visit would not be complete. So the morning of our last full day I suggested to Larry that we make the hike to Delicate Arch, even though it was described in the park literature as difficult. Once again we changed our plans and went for something out of our comfort zone, only to make one of the best memories of the trip, along with another huge sense of accomplishment. I don't know, maybe we’re becoming adrenaline junkies, haha!
To sum it up, one of the take aways from this trip was pushing yourself a little beyond what you think is your capability gives you the biggest reward and the most lasting memory. Needless to say this was a memorable trip, one we’ll forever treasure!