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Country was the same, but the trip wasn't

Diane Becker, "Country Life"

We recently vacationed in Colorado Springs after having not been there since a family vacation 15 years ago.

Colorado Springs hasn’t changed, but the two trips were vastly different.

Six of our kids traveled with us last time. This time, the baby in the photos from 2004 was the only one who went with Tom and me.

It’s a different vacation when you don’t have anyone along under age 5. We three went on a guided four-hour hiking tour through the Garden of the Gods. Our whole family spent about two hours last time mostly traipsing around, climbing rocks and not getting too far down any trail. Both visits were fun, just vastly different.

Of course we had to go to the Royal Gorge, where last time we had one of those dress-up sessions where the kids put on Western old time clothes and were photographed by a guy with an authentic 1800s cameras. Maddie is in one photo in her onesie with the rough Western five.

In 2019, Maddie, the 16-year-old, did something a little more exciting. She and her dad zip-lined over the Royal Gorge while I recorded their experience (someone had to).

In 2004, our family rode the cog railroad up to the top of Pike’s Peak — all 14,000-plus feet of it. Sadly, the railroad isn’t in service any more, so we drove up to the top. It’s a long drive with many hairpin curves, and we were very often too close to the edge for my liking. I know my nerves weren’t on edge when we were on the railroad.

Still, we were able to pull off to the side this trip and hike a bit and take some really nice photos of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

I had my trusty 35 millimeter camera along last time and took a couple rolls of film. The three of us took fewer photos this time, but took videos and panoramic photos with our smartphones. We also sent photos and videos to the other five kids who at that time were in Florida and Nebraska. How life changes.

Other changes included staying in a spacious AirBnb rather than a crowded hotel room. Rather than referring to lots of maps, we entered the farmer’s market, restaurants and stores into our phones and the GPS guided us. I would have to say that from a parents’ point of view, this was a more relaxing trip.

Maddie doesn’t remember the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, so we may be taking more trips.

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