Around the time our eldest came to town for a surprised Mother’s Day visit, we started planning a summer family vacation to Pagosa Springs, CO. We found a beautiful cabin on the San Juan river, about 10-15 minutes north of town. It had four beds, so plenty of room for additional guests. We planned for my parents to join the first week and then a nephew and his fiancé the second week. I even went out and bought a second fly fishing rod for folks to learn.
The COVID-19 Delta Variant was starting to spread and there was unclear information regarding infection and hospitalization rates for vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. The media in the US was shaming unvaccinated people while ignoring rising cases/ hospitalizations of vaccinated people in the UK and Israel. Come end of July, it became clear vaccine efficacy was waning. So, my parents (who are in their 70s/ 80s) decided to cancel.
Like with past southwestern road trips, we stopped to see dear friends who live in Balmorhea. Susie was happy to arrive before sunset. There’s something special about the yellow and orange glow to the southwest skies, especially against a pinkish mountain side. Unfortunately, we had some tire problems on the way to New Mexico, so getting up to Pagosa Springs meant arriving at night. Our eldest came the next day and we set about enjoying a bit of fly fishing.
Sharing meals and playing board games together was great fun. Our kids and their cousins broke away for a bit of hiking at Chimney Rock. They also spent an afternoon at the hot springs. Unfortunately, the high altitude did not work for Susie. She experienced a fainting spell during a short walk. I also stubbed a toe and heel, both swelled quite a bit. So the two of us mostly stayed around our cabin.
On our trip back, we spent a night with friends in Albuquerque. Sounds like acclimatizing to high altitude living can take months. While the kids and I really liked Colorado, I think future family gatherings will need to be closer to sea level.