Time for a rewind… August 8th, 2012. Kacey and I sitting in the sunsoaked terminal at DIA, watching the planes taxi by. Two carry-ons each are all we have: both a small backpack, Kacey a purse, and me, my camera bag. We had just spent our short summer doing Colorado things, with friends and family, having only returned from our adventure to the South Pole, via the Antipodes and Hawaii, in June. Seven weeks was a decidedly quick turnaround between trips for us, especially considering the scale of each itinerary. But our impending return to indefinite corporate servitude made this coming trip seem not only reasonable, but indeed, necessary. We know all too well how hard it is to shake the yoke of employment once you are settled into the complacency of a pay check, and the inconvenience of satiating your wanderlust with “vacation days”- of which, as a contractor, I was afforded none. Thus we found it prudent to ride this vagabonding train on one more adventure before tossing in the hat.
This would be Europe Part Deux for us as a team, with a few of our favorite old haunts listed on the itinerary, and a ton of new ones to boot, spread over two months. To list it quickly: Iceland, Amsterdam, Spain, Morocco, Italy, London, and Munich. As you can see by the list, the keystone of the endeavor was Morocco, and the keystone of Morocco is the Atlas Mountains, of which we would be spending a pretty fair amount of time driving over and through, hence our choice for the name of this little adventure: The Atlas Expedition
So, without further ado, let the story begin!
I’m embarrassed to write this, but its been a number years since I went on a proper backpacking trip. Sadly, we’ve fallen into the lazy habit of car camping whenever we head into the wilderness, which while convenient, is just not quite the same as hiking. Something about trekking countless miles, step after step down a dusty trail, with everything you need to sustain you right there on your back, with no concern other than appreciating the view and looking forward to the next rest stop for some water and a granola bar, there is just something about it that you can’t beat.
Lucky for me, Kacey’s brothers and a few other fellas have a yearly tradition of going on a backpacking trip, and this year I was able to join them. We spent three sunny September days tramping around Rocky Mountain National Park, camping at Finch Lake and hiking all the way up to Coney Lake, the two acting as ends of a long pearl string of alpine lakes and ponds, each one more picturesque than the last.
The oldest house in America, or so the plaque on the wall claims, is a two story mud brick affair in a back alley of Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was a little incredulous towards this statement and took a minute to see what Mr. Wikipedia had to say on the subject, which is: that it is old, really old, but maybe not quite the oldest. Or maybe it is? Built in 1646, but on top of a foundation of a building from the 1200s, I guess it comes down to semantics which date you go with for the house, and thus if you think it is indeed the oldest. Oldest or not, the one thing I took from it was that everyone must have been a lot shorter back then- I could hardly fit through the door ways!
Besides a really old house, Santa Fe also boasts of being home to the oldest public building in the US, a set of “magical” stairs in an old church, and the best Native American handy crafts in the area, among other things. In our opinion though, the best thing they have going for themselves might be the Santa Fe Brewing Co.- which treated us to a pleasant afternoon of social crapulence.
After Santa Fe, it was just a long drive north to complete the circle of Hadley’s first roadtrip. All in all, it was a great three week adventure- we saw a lot of cool places, learned a little about camping with a baby, got the royal treatment at the finest of resorts, and aside from missing a few state welcome signs on the way in (though we always made sure to catch them on the way out), everything went perfectly to plan- just how you want your son’s first roadtrip to go. Thanks for reading! Until next time- D.K.H.