Another Plan Bites the Dust

view of rock formations
Photo by Pixabay on

I received an email today from the Zion National Park Lodge that the lodge would remain closed at this time through June 14. We had a trip planned for early June, which meant our trip was cancelled.

Xanterra Travel Collection, the company that operates the lodge, sent me an email this afternoon, stating the our reservation would automatically be cancelled and my deposit will be refunded. I wasn’t surprised but disappointed.

A friend of mine had already cancelled her Yellowstone trip for the same time several weeks ago. I was holding off, even though I suspected that my trip would not be taking place. The kids were pretty disappointed when I told them the news, though again, not surprised.

In this time of COVID-19, I’m surprised at how quickly I went from expecting life to get back to normal by summer to now hoping my son, a high school junior, will be able to have a graduation ceremony next year.

I love to plan vacations. Depending on the destination, I will plan ours over a year in advance. Not only has the current situation make any short terms plans impossible, it takes the fun out of planning vacations even further out.

What will the future look like? When can we go out? How will the impact of this disease impact these places. This blog is devoted to trips mostly to natural places, but even those trips will be impacted. Will the businesses that support visits to those places still be around?

There are plenty of virtual trips available to view, but to me, those aren’t very satisfying. I love waking up in a snug sleeping bag. I dream about that first moment, when you unzip the tent with trepidation, fearing that cold morning air slapping you in the face. I crave breathing in the chilly morning air, the smell of the dew, drinking coffee around a warm fire. I love meeting new people and learning about their trip and the trails they hiked. I can’t get that on a virtual tour.

The REI Co-op sent a number of email advertisements encouraging people to camp in their backyard. I remember when my family did their first backyard campout. The kids were little, and we were testing out the first tent we ever bought. I brought the idea up with the kids. My teenagers scoffed at the idea though their younger brother seemed interested. We haven’t done it yet.

camping tent on grass lawn
Photo by Matheus Bertelli on

Don’t get me wrong, I live in an area filled with walkways and trails and am able to enjoy them while socially distancing myself. It seems silly to complain when so many people are in real pain, lost jobs, lost lives.

Back to Zion National Park. It’s become a joke in our house. The kids and I have gone to Utah twice for camping trips and every single time, my husband is unable to come with us. We joke that there is some curse that prevents him from going. So when this trip got cancelled, we had to laugh nervously that once again, he will not be visiting the state if Utah.

All five us are at home, working and going to school online. That is another striking change. When we’re all together on a camping trip, there is usually no electronics around except our cameras. We’re often somewhere with no wifi and limited cell phone connection. It can be stressful, siblings quarrel, but some of our happiest shared memories are on those trips. Things that were awesome, terrible missteps that we laugh about now, and stories of interesting people we met.

It’s a strange dichotomy with the life we’re living now. We are all together 24/7 but technology plays an integral part of our lives. My husband is in the home office working from home all day, my teenagers are on their devices for online school. I’m using a number of platforms, from seesaw to flipgrid to zoom for my youngest. The bright spot is we eat our meals together, but there’s definitely a lot less interaction.

For me, family vacations were the time when I probably made some of the most meaningful connections with my kids and the happiest memories as a family. If we don’t have that opportunity for a foreseeable future, how will I create those moments in the current situation. I don’t have an answer yet, I’m still searching.

I don’t think it will be with a virtual tour.

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