Everybody has travel stories that evoke warm memories of loved ones, breathtaking images of nature, and a desire to dive head first back into the adventure. Here are some of our favorite travel memories. We hope you’ll share yours.
They say you really get to know someone when you travel together. As companions vicariously hitting the road together to produce C&I’s annual Summer Travel issue, the staff shared memories of our own family vacations, buddy trips, and solo excursions. Even just telling the tales was revealing: Beyond discovering inspiration for future outings of our own, we learned things about each other that we never knew — and grew closer. Travel can do that.
Bear Lake Trailhead, Estes Park, Peter Pryharski epicpeter
Profound, happy, freeing, educational, life-altering — travel can both take you out of yourself and direct you deep within. Our memories of it are often as much about the small personal moments as the grand destinations. Contributing editor Hunter Hauk remembers flashes of national parks and scenic vistas and Four-Corners photo ops, but he truly cherishes the moments in the car when his folks would keep him entertained with daily “surprise bags” full of puzzles and candies. He somewhat devilishly (and fondly) recalls his grandmother nearly having a conniption when she saw him take a sip of his mom’s daiquiri on a Tennessee steamboat cruise. And then there were all the fellow traveling kids he met at beaches and state parks and touristy rest stops — some became pen pals after the trips ended.
Associate editor Allie Greenfield shared a travel tale that is about her relationship with her mom. “We get into some entertaining situations,” Allie says. “Some 15 years ago, while on a road trip with my mom, we stopped to stay a few nights in Zion National Park. We decided to do one of the many hikes offered, which became a dramatic journey. We planned an easy-enough hike for two people who lived in Colorado. We walked along the West Rim Trail, then cursed everything as we made our way up the 21 steep and short switchbacks that make up Walter’s Wiggles. Making it to a crossroads, we could take the easy way or take a risk. We took the chance and decided to hike the Angel’s Landing trail, not knowing what we were getting into. This 1,488-foot-tall rock formation has a path that hikers can walk along. A sign cautions that people have died on this trail, and chains are bolted into the rock to keep hikers from falling off the side. As we held on and hiked, my mom and I kept asking each other if we wanted to keep going, silently hoping the other would say, ‘Let's turn back.’ Eventually, we reached the top, and the view was worth every death-defying moment. From the top of Angel’s Landing, with an elevation being 5,790 feet, you can see what seems to be the whole national park and then some. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay very long. The sun was getting low in the sky, so we turned around and scrambled down as carefully as possible.”
Sometimes the experiences are so vivid and so serendipitous, they lodge in the soul. That was the case for managing editor Elizabeth Souder. Quite apart from family fun and weddings and the mountaintop experience of Western travel, there was a time away from home that found her at her most honest and vulnerable. “During my second pregnancy I was invited on a weeklong fellowship in New Mexico for journalists covering the energy industry,” she says. “After visiting every type of energy operation imaginable, the group landed at the Jemez Pueblo for a feast day. Residents invited us into their homes, fed us, and allowed us to observe their ancient rituals and dances. The experience impacted me deeply, spiritually. That day I fell in love with New Mexico. Months later, the baby was born, but he was sick and didn’t survive. I think of the afternoon at the pueblo as our time together, when we connected with the Jemez people and their culture.”
For editorial director Dana Joseph, an image rose to the surface of her family’s old Chrysler pointed west with her father at the wheel. “My dad was always in a white cotton T-shirt leading us in song, with my mom riding shotgun and taking the harmony as we racked up miles with rounds of ‘You Are My Sunshine,’ ‘This Land Is Your Land,’ and ‘Oh, My Darling Clementine.’ The Tang was handy if we got parched. For breakfast in the motel room we’d have had those personal-size cereal where you’d peel back the perforated flap and pour the milk right in the waxed box. And then it was straight to the car because we’d be driving all day. One time our trip was to Colorado, where I mostly remember roadside watermelon slices, having some famous cherry pie in Estes Park, and my sister getting sick in a parking lot from the altitude. When I called her to ask if she remembered that, she just started singing ‘You Are My Sunshine.’ I was so overcome with joy and nostalgia, I started to cry.”
Travel can do that.
From our trips to yours ... May your journeys west be safe and life-affirming, meaningful and memorable.
[Left] Picturesque stone chapel near Estes Park Colorado (Courtesy of Denise Chambers/Miles, Courtesy of the Colorado Tourism Office)
[Right] A resident herd of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park (Courtesy of Matt Inden/Miles, Courtesy of the Colorado Tourism Office)
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