By Andy Yemma

Five years ago, we visited Colorado Springs for our oldest daughter’s freshman Parent Weekend at Colorado College. We brought 13-year-old Melanie–not a happy camper that weekend to have all the attention focused on her older sister–and stayed at the iconic and sprawling Broadmoor resort.

Hoping for some “quality” time, we set out on a hike from the resort, Mel lagging behind complaining. Finally, in exasperation, I told her if she didn’t stop whining, she should go back to the hotel. It was a straight shot down the road–or so I thought. Mel walked off in a huff and we continued our very pleasant walk in the crisp fall air.

The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs
The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs

But when we got back an hour later, Mel wasn’t in the room. In fact, she wasn’t anywhere to be found. She didn’t have a cell phone. We started to worry. Of course I felt guilty. I never should have let her go off on her own, I lamented. We had the Broadmoor security officers searching the very considerable grounds. We searched ourselves. I was on the phone reporting her missing to the police when we got a call–Mel had somehow taken a wrong fork in the road and ended up at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, a few miles from the hotel. Someone had leant her a cell phone. She was fine.

Big hugs all around when we were together again–and a story that has followed her to college. Mel is now a freshman at Colorado College and we are here for her freshman parents weekend. This weekend, she’s a very happy camper. Not only does she love everything about college but she had her mom and dad at her beck and call to buy her groceries, a bike, new gloves and just remind her how much she’s loved.

Despite sleet, we decided we had to take a drive down memory lane–back to the Broadmoor and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Originally, we’d wanted to walk around the zoo but it was too cold and nasty. Instead, we just stayed in the toasty warm car and laughed about that long ago weekend. Even travel experiences gone awry make for good stories later.