I am writing this post at 10:00 p.m. after a two-day road trip across the great midsection of America. We’ve made the treck from Minnesota to Utah and back again a number of times, and I have to admit that as my kids get older, the road trips get easier. (Although we did have to make an emergency Wal-Mart stop early this morning and buy a bottle of Pepto Bismol, some Gatorade, and a cheap plastic bowl. Viruses on vacation! My favorite.)
Today’s guest post is by Eliana Osborn, who is a writer and everything else in Arizona. She blogs most weeks for the Chronicle of Higher Education about adjunct professor life at the community college level.
It’s so wet I can’t smell the sulfur of the volcano even though it is right ahead of me. Instead it appears we’ve been hiking for a mile down a gravel path, rainy season in full force, just to read about geological happenings. My four year old is a blueberry in his insulated raincoat, hood pulled tight. Strapped to my front in the baby carrier, Owen’s six months old and having the time of his life. He’s got a hat and a waterproofed nursing cover draped around him. I’ve got my purple North Face jacket open to shield his arms and an umbrella overhead.
As we stand at the edge of the abyss, all I see are clouds. Every so often though the fog lifts and a crater appears, striated with color and puffing little bursts of steam up to join the clouds all around.
“Should we try the jungle path for another view?” My husband can tell this isn’t the Costa Rican vacation I thought we were getting into. We’re here, though, so what else is there to do but hike?
“Welcome to Splendid Isolation,” says the large wooden sign posted over the dock. As our boat slows to a stop, I get my first up-close look at Hinchinbrook, the island just a couple of miles away from the Great Barrier Reef where my husband, our four children, and I will be spending the next five days. It’s just like the pictures on the Internet: moon-curved, pearl-colored beach fringed by lush rainforest, waves lapping the shore, green hills rising up beyond the trees. I congratulate myself on having found the perfect place—billed as a family-friendly eco resort—to end our long anticipated dream vacation to Australia. Sure, we’ve had cold, wet, miserable weather our entire trip so far, but here, in paradise—in our own, reasonably priced beach cabin, no less—we’re sure to have better luck. I can already see myself sipping passion fruit juice by the pool, frolicking in the surf with my children, hiking through the rainforest, and, of course, snorkeling and diving on the Reef.