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A Jewish proverb states that “No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell.” In my experience, this is true in every way. A perfect example is one of my family’s most memorable vacations. During mid-winter break last February, my father thought it would be the perfect time to take a trip to a resort called Hocking Hills. He felt we would all benefit from the rest and relaxation afforded there, along with the picturesque hiking trails. So we loaded up our car and headed to Ohio. It looked to be a crisp, cool week and we were looking forward to sledding on the nearby hills.
Our troubles began before we even arrived at our cottage. Driving down the freeway at 70 miles per hour, the worst possible thing happened. A huge chunk of ice flew off the top of the semi-truck in front of us and slammed into our front windshield. I clearly remember peering from behind my dad’s seat to find our windshield with thousands of tiny cracks arching from one end to the other. We were terrified as we sped along the highway, not knowing when the glass would fly back at our faces. Thankfully, we soon found a car dealership and after about two hours, we finally got a little Ford Fusion that we used while our Freestyle was being repaired.
At this point, we were exhausted. But our trials were far from over. As we began climbing the hills to our cottage, a fog suddenly surrounded us. My dad slowed our speed to about fifteen miles an hour as our rental hugged the side of the mountain and wove through the fog. My brother and I clung to the backseat, our eyes glued to the road. When we finally arrived at our cottage, about three hours later than we expected, we all just collapsed into our beds.
The next morning we decided to hike. We were still going to have fun no matter what! The trails were beautiful and the waterfalls were frozen solid from the mouth to the ground. One of the trails was especially icy and dangerous, but we thought we were able to handle it. We quickly realized that we had misjudged this specific trail as everything that could have gone wrong, did. Before we even entered that trail, my brother lost his glove in the toilet. Then my dad got stuck at the bottom of some steps. But we were determined to finish the trail before heading back. As we were climbing back down, my mom started sliding right toward the edge of the cliff and as my dad went to help, both of them flew from their feet. My brother and I looked at each other and just started cracking up. Then my parents started laughing as well. We must have been a goofy picture, my parents sprawled across the ground and my brother and I doubled over in laughter.
A good night’s rest improved our spirits. We guessed at what our next experience would be. My brother thought we may be eaten by a mountain lion. I suspected a bear. The day after that, we left. It was a short trip, but we had more mishaps those few days than any trip we took. Sadly, all of our pictures were lost when our computer crashed shortly after. But just in case we ever forget our trip, we bought a souvenir on the way home. It’s on our fridge and on the back we have written “Hocking Hills: We Survived!”. Every time I look at it, I smile.