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  • Kimberly Gossage

Don't Hesitate

This is a reader submitted article by Kimberly Gossage.

Teardrop trailer towed by an SUV with kayaks on top

In 2019, I pulled my teardrop trailer from North Carolina to Banff, a trip that topped 7000 miles (11,265 km). I set off alone, intimidated and excited, and knowing that my cousin Bev would join me in Wyoming.

I picked Bev up at the airport at Jackson Hole after first warning the Tucson native that the weather was turning cold. That turned out to be an enormous understatement - within 24 hours of her arrival, we were caught in a blizzard that, in one night, dropped 4 feet of snow on our unsuspecting heads.

The teardrop trailer covered in several inches of snow

I was towing a 2005 Dutchman T@b, a predecessor to today's incredible trailers produced by nüCamp. My tow vehicle and my trailer were fully prepared for a blizzard. In fact, despite temperatures as low as -8°F (-22.2°C) the T@b and its heater were champs! I, on the other hand, could not have been more poorly prepared.

Bev and I drove into Glacier National Park only to find that the campgrounds were all closed due to the blizzard. We might have camped illegally in a closed campground for a few nights (no confessions here) and then moved on to Waterton National Park in Canada, where we might have fudged a little when asked if we had alcohol in the trailer.

A woman kayaking on a mountain lake
Bev kayaking at Emerald Lake

But here's the point: we ran into constant problems. We shoveled snow using kayak paddles. We made breakfast on the side of snow-covered roads. A mouse took up residence in our tow vehicle. Boots became our most precious commodity with propane as a close second. We got frustrated but we persevered. And because of that perseverance - a fortitude I wouldn't have predicted before this trip - we experienced amazing things. We kayaked the ridiculously clear, deep waters of Emerald Lake near Yoho National Park on the western slope of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.. We silently watched herds of buffalo cross roads in front of us. We marveled at a snow-covered landscape that took our breath away. We had a ball.

I didn't know then that would be my last big road trip with Bev. Metastatic breast cancer was the quiet, unwelcome passenger on every trip and it recently took Bev's life. Thanks to my T@b and to my cousin's refusal to let cancer rule her life, I have fantastic memories I'll carry forever. If you're considering a big trip, do it. Don't hesitate. Things will go wrong but you'll find so much in yourself that you didn't expect. If you're lucky enough to have a travel buddy who is also your best friend, you'll later cherish the memories. Just go.

The author's cousin at a mountain lake


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