Once Upon a Time Ago, I planned a trip to Estes Park in Colorado and took my mom, son, and mom’s tiny one person bass boat. Plus a Shamu the Whale float.
I mapped out the trip from Dallas, but mom wanted to drive for a while and darned if she didn’t miss the cutoff. We drove clear past Oklahoma! We stopped for a meal and reconnaissance. Back on track, off toward Colorado again. I guess we laughed at mom for a half hour.
After living in the Dallas area for years, Estes Park was a glorious slice of heaven. We stayed in a campground and had a tent and sleeping bags. August in Dallas was over 100°F but Estes Park was cool and a million poplars were already vivid yellow and dropping leaves.
I set up a touristy horse ride for the second day and mom got on good terms with our guide (she got him laughing so hard over her horse antics he about fell off his own horse). Thanks to mom, he took the three of us on a separate trip off the main trail. Life was good! My son was a teenager already and he made quite the Dallas Cowboy, unlike his grandma, who kept us all laughing. Between the son’s showing off and the mom’s failure to control her horse, I maintained a low profile on my Thank You God Docile Horse that followed in line, no problem to me… or directions from me.
That was exciting and fun so off we went two days later for a rubber raft trip on the Colorado. Guided, of course, by a tall blond Amazon! Awesome. We shared our raft with three hulking German-Americans from the midwest. One look at those guys and we figured it would be an easy trip for the Leprechaun family on holiday. All that muscle in the front and all.
We were the laughingstock of all the rafters when those three lunkers refused to put any force into their paddles and our raft was out of control! No matter how our Amazon yelled, they just would not bend to their paddles. That was not sustainable behavior.
The water was moving fast and we went head on into a huge rock and Amazon could not get us pushed off. With the ton of weight up front and the Leprechauns in the back, sure enough the river pushed up from behind and flipped us arse end (the Leprechaun family) over teakettle (the lunker family and the Amazon). Lord have mercy, good thing the entire Leprechaun family landed in the water on the other side of that rock.
We grabbed onto the upside down raft and didn’t wash out downstream. Two other rafts… paddling in perfect unity… pulled over for a possible rescue operation. We got out of that mess on our own with no dignity and a lot of cussing. Again sitting behind the lunkers. The first time they did not dig in when Amazon yelled LEFT… my mama cracked papa lunker across his back with her paddle and told him to dig that paddle in!
Funny how all three of those lazy lunkers learned to use a paddle in that one instant. Hunh.
The rest of the trip down the rapids was exciting but not as dramatic as going arse over teakettle into the river. Never mind barely missing dueling paddles while zinging along at high speed around boulders.
We were so sore the next day that we chilled in front of the fire and ate goodies from home. My son laughed all day long at his grammy smacking that lunker and making his lunker family start paddling. It was a happy day full of comfort from the fire, great memories, good things to eat, and the best companions ever.
Everything passes… the next day had that bass boat out on a small lake. I stayed on shore and wandered through the plants to see what was there. My generations were hooting and hollering over taking turns on that mini boat and maybe even threw their fishing lines in the water. Couldn’t prove it by me, I did not eat fish for dinner! Surely ruining mom’s “world’s greatest fisherman” reputation by the way, but she had so much fun with the grandson that she thought it was a reputation well spent.
Our last full day was a mountain hike on a kiddy trail. Glorious views and laughter all along since the grandson had to help the grammy keep moving. I didn’t mind a bit, since our week of horseback riding and running the rapids were making themselves felt. I had to keep moving to keep from locking up.
So sad the next morning to leave one of the prettiest places on the planet. I suggested living in the tent but mom, ever practical, reminded me that 8 feet of snow on the tent would likely be an issue.
Drat! Home again, Kathleen.