I’m standing at the edge of a lake. To my left is a hill side coated in deep green and auburn trees with mounds of snow intermixed; ahead of me is a snow capped mountain reflected in a vibrant blue lake; and to my right is a knurly tree that root’s wind through the rocky floor and my family underneath it, my mom trying to take pictures with our new digital camera and my two sisters digging into their sandwiches they packed for lunch. That’s what our family does, we take a week-long vacation to a national park and hike and enjoy the wilderness for a change.
Recently we have found ourselves taken by the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park. It meshed into our family dynamic and we couldn’t tear ourselves away to go anywhere else but to our same cabin with the river, a roaring fire and smores, and warm potato soup; that has become our tradition. Tradition, that’s what the trip meant to me; tradition with my family. Even though we fought and the car ride was two days of nothing but dirt and underbrush, the connection that the one pastime we all could agree on in a place that had no distractions but us, made our family stronger.
One event that happened, even though it was unpleasant, brought us closer together. My mom had hiked all the way up a mountain side with an elevation gain that was more than she liked, we had reached Cub Lake and ate our lunch among a family of ducks, and on our way back down we were so in the moment that we were not being completely careful and my mom fell. Now this is on the way down a mountain so she started to slide down the trail. She managed to regain stillness, but the spot on her leg where she hit the ground was a rectangular mound. We almost had to go to the hospital in the middle of the Rocky Mountains but she stuck it out. In a team effort we carried on our hiking and our family became close just having to sort out the situation.
Other moments like: when we took a hike that was only supposed to take an hour long, took us four hours because we stopped at every river outlet to explore it; when I tried to take a picture of an elk and didn’t realize I was too close for my mom and she was pulling on the back of my clothes while I was still snapping pictures, seeing a baby moose and a baby marmot seek out their mother for safety and nurture, watching a coyote chase down a stubborn badger in the middle of a field and being completely unsuccessful, pushing my mom up a hill because she was wearing down but wanted to make it to the end with us, sitting on a boulder at the end of a hike overlooking a lake and eating the traditional sub sandwich with my family while enjoying the view, and sitting in our cabin that we booked every time we went and playing Mexican Train with my family and watching a roaring fire; reminded me who my family was and why we love each other. I had become disconnected with my family throughout the year with all of our different interests, but going away to the Rocky Mountains brought us together under a common interest and I relearned who my sisters were and what my mom thought of us. It was the most memorable vacation I had ever been on.
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