By VICKIE LUHMAN
Special to The Vista
Recently my husband, Allan, and I returned from a driving tour of our scenic and diverse Southwest national parks.
On our journey we visited Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. We hiked in Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce, Zion, the Grand Canyon, and Mesa Verde National Parks.
We enjoyed the Colorado National Monument the Great Sand Dunes NP, Tuzigoot NP, Dead Horse Point SP and Scenic Byway 12.
While hiking in Canyonlands NP, near Moab, Utah, I wanted to snap a photo of Allan beneath Mesa Arch. It is a large arch and in the distance Washer Woman Arch can be seen. It is an amazing photo opportunity.
Scott, a young man from California interning that summer in Canyonlands, offered instead to take a picture of both of us beneath the arch. We thanked him and struck up a conversation afterwards.
He asked where we were from and we replied Crossville, Tennessee. He knew of Crossville. His aunt lived in Wartburg, TN and often when visiting they traveled to Fairfield Glade. Of course, that forged a bond and much laughter because we live in Fairfield Glade. This became the first of our small world encounters.
In Zion National Park, Allan discovered a man wearing a VOLS T-shirt. The bright orange shirt is a strong clue that someone is either a TN resident or is partial to the team.
Allan couldn’t wait to tell me of his discovery. After dinner at the lodge that evening we ran into his same man. Accordingly, we began a discussion. We exchanged names and addresses. He identified himself as Dr. Bob Turney. He is an eye doctor. He has an office in Crossville. With Bob were fellow travelers Rosemary and Bill Deitzer from West Chester, Ohio. This was our second encounter.
But we weren’t done.
The next morning, Tuesday, while hiking the River Walk, we again ran into Bob, Rosemary, and Bill and were introduced to Bob’s wife, Helen.
Itineraries were exchanged. Bob and Bill were to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon while Helen and Rosemary would float down the Colorado River at Page, AZ on Thursday morning.
Lo and behold, Allan and I were booked on the same float trip. Laughing, we said our goodbyes for the day and looked forward to our journey on Thursday.
We continued our stay at Zion. On Thursday morning, the four of us enjoyed a delightful float trip down the Colorado with Colorado River Discovery. We again exchanged itineraries. Rosemary and Helen would meet up with their husbands at the Grand Canyon and stay at Thunderbird Lodge.
On Saturday, Allan and I would drive to the same park and stay at the same lodge. We were all laughing at the coincidence. Our reservations were made in January. I believe God has a funny sense of humor and a true sense of delight!
While viewing the sunset on the rim Saturday evening, we ran into Bill and Rosemary. We were invited to enjoy breakfast with all of them at Bright Angel Lodge before they departed for home on Sunday. Through our conversations we discovered that Bob, Bill, and Rosemary will all be speaking at Wilderness Wildlife Week held each January at Pigeon Forge. They asked if we were familiar with this program. We were able to reply in the affirmative.
We learned about Wilderness Wildlife Week two years ago and have enjoyed it both years. Thus, we agreed to meet again in January, before we said our goodbyes.
But wait, there’s more!
After our stay at the Grand Canyon, Allan and I moved onto Sedona to rest for five days. We had been hiking at elevations of 7, 8 and 9,000 feet with ascending and descending elevations of 300-500 feet. The effort was strenuous at times but worth it. The national parks are truly breathtaking!
During that downtime, we decided to visit the local shops. In a delightful gallery we were asked where we were from.
On hearing our reply, Fairfield Glade in Crossville, TN, the Arizona resident, Carol Wright, said that she knew the town well because her parents had lived in Fairfield Glade.
We all laughed. We shared with her our previous experiences meeting Bob and Helen Turney and Rosemary and Bill Deitzer. She began to laugh and said her dad’s eye doctor had been Bob Turney. Carol’s parents were Don and Lola Meade.
Believe it or not!
Further, after mulling over our discussion, she asked if we knew Rolf Weeks, a Crossville resident. Surprised by her question, we replied we did. We met Rolf attending church. She said that she and Rolf had attended the same high school together in Michigan.
I, therefore, submit it truly is a small world! So, if you are traveling, don’t be surprised at how many people have a connection to Crossville, TN, and especially Fairfield Glade.