On the morning of March 25, 2013, The Wayfaring Band assembled at Denver’s temporary train station. Tour leaders Andrea Moore, Pavel Reppo, Chris Ardelt, and Megan Lyons welcomed band members Preston, Mackenzie, Eli, Jeff, Erik, Mandy, Peter, David, Sophie, Carter, and Zane with enthusiasm. At 8:05am, we boarded the Amtrak train to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, riding the rails like so many great adventurers before us. We rented a stunning vacation house right on the Roaring Fork River, and for five days and four nights we explored one of Colorado’s most treasured historic towns.
The swing was pretty awesome. I’m glad that it’s over with. It was nice hanging out with you guys: you guys are dope. You guys are beyond dope.– Mackenzie Beauvais-Nikl, band member
On Monday evening we prepared a family dinner at the house and unwound after a long but lovely train ride. We were up bright and early on Tuesday morning, ready to conquer the Hanging Lake hike in Glenwood Canyon. We made it halfway up the steep trail before icy conditions forced us to turn back, but we kept our spirits high by inventing trail songs and enjoying the breathtaking scenery. That evening we grilled burgers on our deck overlooking the river, followed by s’mores around the fire pit.
Wednesday we piled onto the public bus and rode over to the base of the gondola, where we ascended to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Andrea and Peter took advantage of the time in the gondola to film their traditional Australian-accent news report, which is available for your viewing pleasure here. Once at the top of the mountain, we toured the underground fairy caves, enjoyed 4-D movie trailers, raced down the mountain on the Alpine Coaster, and even rode a terrifying swing over the canyon:
That evening we relaxed at home and devoured a dinner of grilled chicken, brown rice, and grilled veggies including asparagus, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and even pineapple! It was delicious, and we were very impressed with the handiwork of tour leader Chris, our accomplished grillmaster.
Thursday we missed our morning bus into town by just a few minutes, but that didn’t stop the band! We earned our name that morning, literally wayfaring on foot into Glenwood, to the tune of 2.5 miles. Every member of the band walked the whole distance, and no one complained at all. It was an invigorating start to the day! We were happy to rest our feet at Mountain Valley Textiles, a production weaving studio and retail shop where adults experiencing developmental disabilities weave beautiful fabric on traditional wooden looms. Several of the weavers were working that morning, and they warmly welcomed the band and showcased their talents. We had lunch in the park, where we discovered a fascinating new animal species that is part turtle, part David, part Chris, and very fond of Capri Sun. There’s even an Australian nature show about this weird and wacky creature! Our antics in the park were followed by an afternoon dip at the famous Glenwood Hot Springs. Finally, we celebrated band member Mackenzie’s 18th birthday that evening with pizza and cake. It was a fun and fulfilling day, and we went to sleep tired but satisfied.
On Friday, March 29, we returned to the train station to catch the 12:10pm train back to Denver. With visits to the observation and dining cars, the hours flew by. Before we knew it, we were rolling back into our hometown of Denver, where we were greeted by the smiles and hugs of our fabulous family members.
We had a fantastic journey into the high country, and we were truly moved by the kindness, compassion, humor, and generosity of the good people of Glenwood Springs. The Wayfaring Band extends our sincere thanks to everyone who participated and who helped make this adventure possible. Our train was bound for glory… and glorious it was. See you next tour!
You all are such amazing people! Preston had such a great time; he talked my ear off the whole way home! Thank you for everything. We feel so blessed to know you and look forward to the next incredible adventure with “The Band.” Rock on!!– Angela Augur, mother