Family Vacation Looked a Little Different This Year

Boy has it been an interesting summer. So many things have been cancelled or put on hold and almost everyone I know is still grappling with the changes this pandemic has forced on us all.

I had concerts rescheduled for next year, work trips put on hold and plans for the summer completely changed but the one thing that I am most upset about is my family vacation which would have looked a lot different than what it ended up being.

About a year ago my family decided to celebrate several things with a 7-Day Hawaiian Cruise which was scheduled for this last week. Two birthdays, an anniversary and a late graduation gift all wrapped up in beaches, sun and quality relaxation time. Not only was this vacation going to be the first big vacation my family has had in several years, I was also going to be able to see my college best friend and spend time with her.

To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. On top of everything else that’s going on in the world, I’m devastated that my family couldn’t get the much needed, highly anticipated break from everyday life that we have all been waiting for. Now is not the time to be travelling and we as a family are trying to do our best not to put ourselves (and others) in unsafe situations. So, we decided to still enjoy a week away from work but in a socially distance way.

Though I would have preferred to be sharing sandy beach photos and snaps of delicious food (and drink), I’m happy to share a few fall pictures and some tidbits about our staycation camping trip.

Instead of hopping on a plane, we hopped in the truck, camper in tow and headed into Routt National Forest near Buffalo Pass to a small area next to Teal Lake.

Relaxing was the number one priority for this vacation. Things have been far from normal this year and mentally, it’s been challenging. Having the chance to unplug and just be away from work, bills and day-to-day to-do lists was extremely therapeutic.

For me, relaxation comes in several different forms. When it comes to camping relaxation, I like to bring a book (or two) and my hammock. It also looks like hiking, kayaking and taking lots of pictures. And thankfully, it was peak fall colors in the area so many photos were taken.

I love taking pictures and this summer I wasn’t able to get out as much to use my Nikon, so this camping trip was a great time for me to get back into it. I’m hoping to go through more of the photos and post them to my photography page here.

We were able to hike on three different trails that were within ten minutes from our camp and each trail was a bit different.
– The Newcomb Creek Trail was flat and offered several groves of aspen trees and open fields. We followed the trail in about two miles and turned around making the most of the views and enjoying the perfect fall weather.
– The Grizzly Trail was more difficult because of the change in elevation but it allowed for amazing views even with the smoky haze. We intended on splitting of the Grizzly Trail to go up to Aqua Fria Lake, but with damn construction we weren’t able to, so instead we continued on the Grizzly Trail. Even though it was a long day my mom and I enjoyed the seven and a half mile hike.
– The third trail we went on isn’t named as far as I could find, but we called it Tree Stand which lead us along a valley and up along a ridge with several beautiful aspens and the occasional cow. We kept this hike a bit shorter and kept the there-and-back mileage around four miles.

In addition to the three hikes, we were also able to get out in the kayaks on Teal Lake which is just a small little lake, but still fun to paddle around. Outside of the outdoor activities we spent a lot of quality time together. We always bring a deck of cards and a few games just for the evenings and if weather prevents us from being able to go outside. My mom and I played many games of gin rummy which is one of our favorites. We also simply enjoyed the peace and quiet.

We like being close to several activities like hiking and kayaking without being around a ton of people as well. We are able to disperse camp since we have a small camper equipped with a bathroom and kitchen which makes staying outside of a designated campground possible. We have the freedom to go to many more places throughout Colorado and stay away from the crowds.

Overall, we had a great week staycation even though we weren’t soaking up the Hawaiian sun. Relaxation was had by all and memories made and we look forward to our next family vacation.

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