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A Fond Return

Linking up with Amanda today to do a little thinking out loud.

Thinking-Out-LoudEvery year when I was a little kid, my family and I would take a car trip to Rocky Mountain National Park at Spring Break. We’d stay at the YMCA near Estes Park and spend the week “hiking” (the short distance I was willing to hike on my little kid legs), roller skating, going on guided horseback rides, and my absolute very most favorite, climbing on rocks. I loved climbing on rocks. That and standing on bridges and watching the water in the stream.

It didn’t take a lot to make me happy when I was a kid. Rocks and streams. Sometimes I miss how easy it was to be happy.

Adulting is hard sometimes.

DSCN0151 (2)But anyway, my memories of our Colorado trips are, for the most part, happy. I remember we could check out games like Yahtzee and Battleship to play at our cabin, and the giant stuffed elk heads above the fireplaces at the lodge that kind of scared me. I remember one year when it snowed four feet, and I wasn’t much taller than four feet myself, and so the snow along the roadsides where they’d plowed was all the way above my head. And what I remember above all was the enormity of the mountains. For a little girl from Kansas, driving though the canyons toward the Continental Divide was otherworldly. (Absolutely no Oz jokes aloud, y’all hear?)

I also remember the time my dad broke his back in a skiing accident. So not all happy memories. But I remember the good ones better than the icky ones.

When I moved to Fort Collins, CO for grad school, I knew I was only about 40 miles from Estes (actually even shorter, as the crow flies, but you can’t go as the crow flies because there’s mountains in the way.) I never got up there, though, I suppose partly because it seemed a little odd to go by myself.

11709543_10153733982708149_341428349715653709_nDon’t get me wrong–it’s not that I’m unwilling to do things by myself–but sometimes I feel, when I visit a place on my ownsome, like it’s not real or it doesn’t count or something. There’s a line in a song I like by Jeff Black about needing “a witness to be happy,” and I think of that line often when I go adventuring by myself. It’s dumb of course, but sometimes if I’ve had a really cool experience but no one else has “witnessed it,” I feel as though it never really happened. Weird, huh?

That’s changing a little bit, especially now that I’m getting more and more used to living on my own. (Friday night at home alone with a book and chocolate? Bring it on!)

Still, I was pleased when the Mad Bad Mommy Bommy volunteered to come visit me in Fort Collins for a couple of days this weekend before classes started.

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We ate good food and went to the most dangerous kitchen supplies store I’ve ever been in (so many pretty things!), and then on Saturday, took a drive up to the YMCA camp of my childhood adventures.

It was cold!–thank goodness Mom packed a pair of Cuddlduds (moms are always prepared for these kinds of things)–but it was amazing how familiar the trail from the Y camp up to Moraine Park was. I haven’t been there in–I don’t know–12 to 15 years, and parts of it were like I’d never seen them before, but I still remember certain things, like how much I loved the texture of the winding trail.

DSCN0180 (2)As wonderful as it’s been to be in graduate school and have all kinds of new experiences, it’s nice now and again to return to the old.

Also, it’s nice to have someone around who gets the reference when you start singing bizarre songs from your childhood.

DSCN0144 (2)DSCN0181 (2)DSCN0192 (2)DSCN0155 (2)Do you like to travel and adventure on your own, or do you prefer to have company?

Is there a special place from your childhood you hope to return to someday?


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  1. I can definitely relate to wanting someone around to share happy memories with. I don’t -mind- doing things on my own, but most of my better memories involve having more people around. And it’s always so nice to return to those nostalgic childhood memories… especially when they involve such gorgeous scenery 😀

    1. Joyce says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting! Yeah–when you’re used to being on your own, it’s really a blessing to spend time with family.

  2. I used to live in Colorado. I loved it out there. I know what you mean exactly about adventuring alone. I moved to Scotland last year to live with my husband, and I go on day trips by myself to discover new things, but sometimes you do just want company. There are a few hiking trails back in New Hampshire that I used to climb with my dad when I was a kid that I have gone back to since he passed away. Even though it’s nature and almost 30 years later, so much of it has stayed the same! It’s comforting.

    1. Joyce says:

      Oh my goodness Scotland! Now that might be one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited. I would love to go back there as well.
      Sorry to hear about your dad–it’s nice that you have a way to remember him.

  3. Emily says:

    Colorado is my favorite. Of all the places I’ve been, I’m so blessed to live in Colorado. Traveling is fun, but it’s also so lovely and wonderful to come back home. I love that your mom came to be with you. I definitely like to travel with my family. We may not get along perfectly, but we do understand each other pretty well, and God has provided so much more peace in our relationships in the past few years. So blessed!

  4. That’s such a beautiful area of the country. I love traveling alone – it forces you to open up and meet new people… but then there are times you want to turn to a friend and say “OMG do you see this too???”

    1. Joyce says:

      There are definitely some wonderful advantages of traveling alone!

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