When I discovered that an entire week of my summer break would have to be spent in an almost isolated campground in Colorado, I was angry. As a 9th grader, I would much rather be watching TV, or texting my friends, or surfing the internet. The possibility of me actually having to spend time in a cabin with my family was just too terrifying to bear.
As we took the 12-hour car trip to the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado, I was quite irritable. My little brother was annoying me, and my parents playing their awful 70’s road trip music did not make the situation any better. We drove until evening and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, in Grand Island, Nebraska. It was a great amenity-packed hotel to swim, eat, and rest for another day ahead of us.
When we got to Colorado, the episode that really got me excited was driving around the adorable downtown Estes Park. The Main Street look gave me the feeling of home. Overall about 5 blocks of shops, restaurants, and courtyards were filled with pedestrians shopping, dining, and exploring.
After we had driven through Estes Park, miles of winding roads leading the way to the YMCA of the Rockies gave us “up-close-and-personal” gazes at the tall cliffs and the rolling hills. I hung my head out the window, my mouth gaping. We were definitely not in the Iowa farmlands anymore.
IN THE MORNING, the breathtaking, wrap-around views outside our cabin kept me in high spirits. My brother discovered an enormous rock a ways out from our cabin on the YMCA of the Rockies grounds. From the top, we could see hints of snow-capped mountains, and forests that blanketed the foothills.
The next few days we drove through the surrounding towns and the very commercial outer city of Loveland, Colorado. Our outings included trips to my brother’s big rock, horseback-riding provided by the YMCA of the Rockies, and my favorite: white water rafting! I really appreciated the team aspect it. It was exciting when we all came together to get across the tricky spots.
One afternoon, towards the end of the trip, while we were exploring the Rocky Mountain National Park, we pulled off Bear Creek Road to hike down to a river. My brother and I ran down the hill to see it. A couple of tall trees had fallen across the water, and it was really fun to make our way across them without falling into the rushing water. We posed for a photo and then made our way up to our car. One thing I realized really makes a vacation worthwhile is the simple fact that you really can just pull off the road and explore the great wide open. Time doesn’t matter. There is nowhere that you need to be. Only the right state of mind.
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