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Guilt Trip


My mom and I are arguing. And I’m losing.

It’s one of those spats I initiate to keep the spark in our bond. I once read it was healthy for a mother and her daughter to engage in regular disagreements, and I’ve been pushing her buttons ever since. It’s good family fun.

This time, mom takes the defensive right away, and she knows she is right.

I’m in the midst of making the argument that my childhood was void of quality vacations (like giggle-til-Slurpee-comes-out-of-your-nose vacations)  when she interrupts. She starts listing off day trips and road trips, amusement parks and national parks, an epic journey to California during which our 1981 Buick Skyhawk broke down three times, and a daunting expedition through Wyoming, where we were rear-ended the middle of Yellowstone.

“Yes, real fun for a 12-year-old: traversing the rugged Wyoming terrain with a neck brace,” I say dryly.

She again counters, this time adding to her defense countless intrastate vacations: treks to Elitch’s (not the new, shiny one but the Elitch’s of yore with Log Ride and long-gone rickety roller coasters), Sundays  spent hiking hogbacks and long weekends staring at the perfect blue skies of Aspen.

My argument goes down faster than Old Faithful’s squally spurt, so I abandon ship and hope she forgets the conversation by my birthday.

But it started to haunt me as Lacy, our associate editor, and I pulled together the Staycation Guide you’ll read in the pages to come. As we sifted through tourism guides and maps of Colorado, more memories of my childhood and early adulthood came swirling forward. Hours spent splashing in Glenwood’s springs, and weekends walking around Estes Park.

And all of a sudden I was flooded with guilt. How could I think that trips through rocky canyons or hours in the Tattered Cover were less special than all-inclusive resorts in Mexico (especially with drug wars and swine flu in the picture)? Or that my childhood vacations were sub-par because they were marked by classic road-trip befuddlement—getting lost, getting stranded, traffic jams and fast food?

I often think being a Colorado native ruined this state for me. It’s like I spent my youth blind and unwilling to savor what Colorado has to offer. It took years for me to appreciate the beauty. It took years to even see the beauty. And still I often sit on the sidelines while visitors and newbies play.

So often I bump into those “super stoked” newcomers who live for winter weekends when they make the pilgrimage up I-70, not bothered by horrid traffic or blizzard conditions. Or those guys—you know, the ones who spend more time in their tents than at home (you recognize them by their multi-purpose roof racks—tagged with Fat Tire and REI stickers—and labs named Mandy, more fitting companions than wives or girlfriends). These  archetypes inhale Colorado like it was the most perfect drug. Yet, my perfect weekend involves crossword puzzles, Netflix and wine.

So, here and now, I vow to abandon my indifference to our purple mountains’ majesty and amber waves of grain. I’m getting out of the gym, out of my car, off the patio and away from my laptop. By the end of the summer, I will have climbed a 14er; spent a weekend camping someplace not found on MapQuest; joined one of those be-Spandexed flocks of cyclists; and ridden the whitewater of the Arkansas.

I will need you—those “active” and “outdoorsy” residents of Colorado who have riddled me with guilt—to hold me accountable. Though, if you don’t, I’m sure my mom will be there to remind me.


Lacy is an award-winning food writer and blogger. She lives in Westminster with her family. Google

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