Vacations are a wonderful way to make lifelong memories. When I was a child our family took summer vacations visiting states throughout our country. I am awed I think how our forefathers headed west in covered wagons. Three-thousand miles is just a number until you consider it is nearly that far from New York City to San Francisco.
It took my family days to drive from San Antonio where I grew up to such destinations as Colorado, New Nevada or California. The first vacation I went on, one I barely remember, was to Colorado. I was six at the time. We packed up the Buick and off we went: the goal was to drive up Pike’s Peak — which we did. It was the first time I saw snow. I don’t remember if that was so or just something my folks talked about after the trip. I think it might have been the first time they saw snow too.
While we were in Colorado, we stopped overnight in Golden to visit friends of my parents. This I do remember – as if it were yesterday. I was outdoors with their son – who was my age – when suddenly he whispered, “STOP! Stand Still!”
I followed his eyes to the ground. There, coiled up, was a rattlesnake with its rattle rattling. After what seemed like hours, the snake uncoiled and slivered off.
We probably scared the snake as much as it scared me. My friend was unfazed. I don’t remember Pike’s Peak, but I remember standing there in my jeans and boots with a rattlesnake coiled at our feet.
On another vacation, I remember visiting Yosemite National Park where we saw the beautiful fire fall. It no longer takes place, but in the evening in the 1950s, a giant fireball was dropped down the side of Glazier Point.
The fireball drop began in mid-1800s and continued until it was stopped by the National Park Service in 1968. In the summer, as the sun set, the employees of the Glazier Point Hotel would build a huge fire atop Glacier Point. As the fire burned down to embers, someone yelled, “Let the fire fall!” Originally, that someone was the hotel’s owner. With long rakes, the hotel employees would push glowing coals over the 3,200-foot cliff.
I don’t remember anyone singing The Indian Love Song or someone yelling, “let the fire fall,” all part of the show, or so I have since read. But I vividly remember seeing that magnificent fireball heading down the mountain.
The Takeaway: Life is full of vivid memories, some good and some we’d rather forget. What memories do you have from childhood – especially ones from travel experiences – to share with us? Let’s remember together. Please include your name and email address or phone number so I may contact you for clarification or if I have a question. I will not publish your name. Contact me at [email protected]