As is the case for many families, the global COVID-19 pandemic has wrought havoc on our lives and this includes traditional summer-vacation plans. In the case of my family, when we sat down (virtually) back in early May, we established three priorities for our summer vacation:
- Do fun things as a family,
- Visit some of our favorite mountain ranges, and
- Spend as much time as possible outside.
Knowing that airline travel and motel/hotel stays were out of the question, we decided we would embark on a road trip. Along the way we would visit our son Carson and his girlfriend in Durango, Colorado, send sons Logan and Tully out on a 260-mile gravel bikepacking trip in our former home state of Idaho, visit Grand Teton National Park, see Tully off on his 30-day National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) course, and finish up with a weekend of running high on the Continental Divide Trail between Idaho and Montana.
As I sit here with just a few days left in our road trip, I am happy to say we achieved all three goals. As a family, we’ve hiked, biked, climbed, and floated through the last two weeks. We’ve camped and hiked in the San Juans, the Tetons, the Sawtooths, the Pioneers, and the Beaverheads. And, at last count, we have spent the last 15 days playing and nights sleeping outside.
It is this third goal that we all have found so enriching and rewarding. Certainly, we are aware that spending time recreating in the outdoors is one of the healthiest and safest things we could do. And, while it is something that has always been an important part of our summer vacations, for some reason it seemed more special this year. Not only did it seem like something we wanted to do but it felt like it was something we were supposed to do.
These uncertain times may continue for quite some time and while it is easy to find frustration and anger in these current circumstances, there is no doubt that this uncertainty also provides opportunity; opportunity to become closer to our families, closer to nature, and closer to the simple things in life that can, and should, mean the most to us.
This week’s Beer of the Week comes from Alpine Beer Company in San Diego, California. Alpine’s Truck Trail is a classic American Pale Ale with a post-modern twist. Brewed with cascade and centennial hops, it is at once piney and citrusy. Perfect for a summer road trip!
Call for Comments
- Are you spending more time outside this summer courtesy of COVID-19-based lifestyle changes?
- How else have your summer-vacation plans evolved?