The most memorable day drip I never took was when I lived in Southern Oregon. Twice—in 1973 and again in 1980—I lived a half-hour away from the world-famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, and I never went once. By the time I finally went, it was twelve years later and I lived four hours away in Chico, California.
Though, maybe it’s not all that unusual. At the start of my radio career, I was a nomad of necessity. Heck, maybe it’s because I lived in a dozen different homes from kindergarten through high school. I just never lived anywhere long enough to explore my surroundings. Who knows?
But that all changed when I moved to Colorado. Starting in 2001, I would take every Sunday off for a road-trip. I never knew where I was going until I left that morning, and then I would just pick a place and go. It was great! Finally, I lived somewhere that felt like home, and I wanted to see it all. Then, when Karen and I married in 2003, the idea of “visiting your backyard” became more of a way of life.
Karen’s therapy—the one thing that puts a smile on her face faster than anything—is to hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. From where we live, it’s only around a half an hour away, so we have no excuse. It’s literally in our back-yard.
The end of September and early October is a magical time to be in the park. Not only are the leaves changing with the season, but Autumn is also the best season for elk (check out this video of the annual Elk Rut in Estes Park to see what I mean.)
A few years ago, we reserved a timeshare for the last week of September. Karen was scheduled for eye-surgery in the middle of October, so we decided that one last trip before then was in order. Also, we try to take every opportunity we can to hear the elk bugle.
Karen and I got there Friday. On Sunday, we were joined by our two grand-kids, Ayla and Booker. When I left on Monday to work on voice-over projects, Ayla and Booker spent time with Grandma. On Tuesday, they were joined by Roger—Karen’s father—and they all had a bunch of fun romping around the park. Ayla and Booker even put in the time to become Junior Park Rangers, which made them smile from Colorado to California. On her way home Wednesday, Karen even saw a black bear!
What a week! Just imagine what we would’ve missed out on if we hadn’t taken the time to see what was in our own backyard. There was more than we could have ever imagined.
So, with apologies to Capital One, “What’s in Your Backyard?”
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