I am one of “those“ people with a travel bucket list. After my kids became adults and I retired from the company I founded, Ballard Designs, I focused on my travel goals. In the past three years, I have ventured to Iceland, to Rwanda to gorilla trek in the footsteps of Dianne Fossey, to Petra, Jordon, Egypt, and Croatia. I spent weeks on an ship in Antarctica, and photographed the Himba tribes of Namibia. I had just returned from a trek through Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam when the pandemic hit and all foreign travel ceased.
I have been yearning for a good road trip and after having been quarantined for months, my pent-up wanderlust started bubbling up. My dear friend, Ric, and I started pondering a fun, safe way to travel to my summer home in Telluride, Colorado. We wanted an adventure with a plan but one that allowed for flexibility. We started brainstorming—whether to take our airstream, rent an RV, or go glamping at one of the Under Canvas locations. We settled on renting a car, with the idea of staying at hotels/ ranches along the way, each with strict Covid protocols in place. We pulled out an atlas of National Parks and stuck Postit notes on those we wanted to see. Soon, we would discover just how much Utah, New Mexico, and southern Colorado had to offer.
After a quick direct flight from Atlanta to Las Vegas, off we went—with Ric’s roadtrip playlist wafting in the car. Our first stop was the beautiful town of Springdale, Utah, an oasis of apricot trees at the entrance to Zion National Park. With the Cable Mountain Lodge as our base, we explored and hiked the wonders of Zion and Bryce National Parks, remaining in awe of the rugged red scenery. We bouldered and repelled in the Lamb’s Knoll slot canyons with a Zion guide.
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WRITTEN BY HELEN BALLARD
This story appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of MILIEU.