It’s another fifth Friday, and since I will be on vacation the day this blog post is published, it only seems appropriate to share five of my favorite vacation memories. So here we go.
The Longest Hike Ever
When I was about 14, my family and I decided to go on a hike to “Blue Lake.” We imagined it would be a relatively easy hike that would take us to the lake by lunchtime, allowing us to hike back in the afternoon. Four hours after we left and eight creek crossings later, we still hadn’t reached the lake. “One mile to your destination,” my dad’s GPS told us. (Little did we know that was one mile as the crow flies.) Soon, I was singing the old “Step by Step” song by Rich Mullins, just to keep myself going.
As it turned out, our journey to the lake and back was a full 11 miles, which considering a Kansan’s response to Rocky Mountains’ altitudes, was quite strenuous. The best part of the day, however, was when we got back to our cabin, and my great aunt and uncle who lived in the area and were in their 70s asked about our day. “Oh, Blue Lake?” they questioned. “We do that one all the time. That’s a pretty easy hike, isn’t it?”
Locked in a Hostel
This isn’t technically a vacation story, but it’s still a story about a trip I went on, so I’m counting it. When I was a freshman in college, I went on a three-week study abroad trip to Israel, and on our first night in one of the hostels we stopped at, my roommate went into the hall to see if our lock worked, while I stayed in the room. The lock did indeed work . . . so well that I couldn’t get the door opened again to let her back in. As we discovered later, the door had a double lock, and I had accidentally twisted the lock twice, enabling the double lock.
Pretty soon, half of our team was in the hallway trying to figure out how to get me out of my unintentionally self-inflicted prison. I grew very creative in my possible solutions, checking the window to see whether I could climb down to the floor below and the vents in the bathroom to see if there was a way into the next room. In the end, we solved the problem by the much less interesting but also more practical solution of getting a spare key from the front desk.
A few years ago, my family took a trip to Colorado, and as we were unpacking, we realized my younger sister, who was about seven at the time, was no longer in the cabin. My parents hurried frantically past the other cabins around us, calling her name. When they found her, she was sitting a few cabins away, crying because she couldn’t find her way back to our cabin.
When the whole story came out, we learned that she had asked my mom if she could go to the playground near the cabin we were staying in. What my mom said was, “Yes, but you need to wait until someone else can go with you.”
What my sister (somehow) heard was, “Yes, but you’ll need to go by yourself.” So she did.
An Angel in Disguise
On a different family trip to Colorado, when one of my brothers and I were still toddlers, my parents had to take a different route up the mountain than normal because of construction. Partway there, however, we discovered that this road was blocked off also.
An elderly man with a walking stick was making his way down the road and came to our car. “You can’t go this way, because it’s blocked by snow,” he told my parents. He then directed them toward a different and much better road.
My parents marveled at the luck of that man just happening to be there at the right time and wondered whether he could have been an angel in disguise. Something about the musing made a great impression on my four-year-old mind, and I wondered about that man for a long time afterward.
“Can we sue them?”
The summer between my sophomore and junior years of college, we took a trip to Oregon to see some old friends of my parents. Our flight was scheduled to leave the airport at 6:30 a.m., requiring us to get up around 4:30 to drive to the airport. After waiting longer than we planned for the shuttle to take us from the parking lot to the terminal, we arrived at check-in at 6:02 and were informed we couldn’t check in because we had to be there 30 minutes before our flight. This required a rescheduled flight that took us to Oregon via a ten-hour layover in Minneapolis.
My youngest brother, about ten years old, tired and grumpy from getting up early, asked me: “Can we sue [the airline]?”
Deciding to play the responsible, older sister, teaching role, I said, “Well, we’re supposed to forgive them, you know.”
He thought about that for a moment and then said, “Can we sue them and then forgive them?”
Those are my top five vacation stories – what’s your favorite family vacation story?