“I am so excited,” Ms. Claus exclaimed, rubbing her hands together. “Santa, we are finally making this adventure happen.”
“You are so right Anya. Thanks to Joe, we can rent this travel trailer and drive to Natural Bridge and Red River Gorge in Slade, Kentucky. I was concerned that Joe might not be able to make this happen or I would find driving or parking the trailer too difficult. “But,” I chuckled, “he succeeded, and I found driving this rig a lot less demanding than handling my team of reindeer.”
“I knew you could do it, Santa,” Ms. Claus said giving me a pat on the back as she walked through the narrow passage of the camper. “It has everything we’ll need including a bathroom complete with a shower. I love it!” she exclaimed.
“Are you folks ready?” Joe asked popping his head through the open door.
“More than ready,” I replied giving Joe a thumbs up.
Exiting the trailer, Anya and I shook Joe’s hand. “Couldn’t have done this without you Joe. We’ll return the trailer on Saturday,” I stated smiling.
“Have a great time seeing the arches, but Santa, remember to relax. After all the two of you do for children,” Joe commented, “it’s time to ease back and enjoy the beauty of nature.”
Nodding in agreement, Anya and I got into the truck, waved, and drove towards the expressway ready to begin our adventure.
Driving down I-75 and onto the Mountain Parkway, I felt comfortable moving with the traffic. Finally, I asked, “I know you have several things planned, Anya, but what’s first on our agenda?”
“Oh, that’s easy, Santa,” my wife remarked. “After we take care of the trailer, I think we need to ride the ski lift to the top of Natural Bridge where I was told the view is spectacular. We can then hike around the area. On our return to the campsite, I suggest we stop at Miguel’s and order a pizza. We haven’t had one for over a year.”
Grinning, I nodded. “I love when you have everything planned. It makes life more relaxing.”
Eventually we reached the campground, checked-in, and headed to our campsite. Once we set up the trailer and made sure all the hook ups to water and electricity were secure, we drove the car back out and towards the ski lift. Though tired, I knew Anya wanted to do this, “Besides,” I thought, “she promised to make a great campfire tonight. Then we’ll both relax.”
Arriving at the ski lift, Ms. Claus purchased the tickets. Then, we made our way up the small ramp.
Turning to give us instructions, the attendant whistled. “No one told me that Santa was going to be riding my ski lift today! Boy, do you look like the big guy, but I bet a lotta people tell you that.”
As Ms. Claus nodded, I remarked grinning, “How do you know I’m not Santa?”
The attendant broke into loud laughter and said, “Good one!” Noticing the chair lift coming towards us, he told Anya and me where to stand. “As the lift scoops you up,” he directed, “pull the bar down.”
Once we did that, the lift proceeded upwards toward Natural Bridge, one of the largest arches in the park. Waving, the attendant yelled, “Enjoy the ride Mr. and Ms. Claus.”
With our feet dangling in the air, both of us gazed at the scenery while our chair steadily climbed up the steep incline of the hill. “What beauty!” Anya shouted. “I never imagined how tall and green trees could get. In the North Pole, we don’t really have this. What do you think?”
“I’m impressed so far, but seeing you so excited makes me even happier.”
Reaching the top, we watched the attendant grab the lift, allowing us to hop off quickly. Making our way towards the trail, I sniffed the familiar scent of pine and beamed, as I felt the warmth of the sun on my back. We remained silent while following the trail and enjoyed the sound of the wind and the birds. I marveled at how different this area was to those of us from the Arctic. I wondered what the elves would think if they were here.
“Santa, are you day-dreaming?” called Anya as she jumped down the remaining rocks to stride across the arch. “Come on, you’re slowing down our adventure.”
Walking carefully through the rocky ledges, I stopped suddenly to take a look at the view of the forest around us. The huge width of Natural Bridge Arch allowed visitors to stroll across it and see for miles the beauty of the landscape. While I stood hypnotized by the sights, Anya handed the woman next to us her camera. “Can you please take a picture?” she asked.
“Of course, but your husband’s beard certainly makes him look like Santa.”
Giggling at her remark, I slipped my arm around Anya’s shoulder. Once the picture-taking was over and Anya had her camera, I slipped the woman a sticker with my picture on it. “I like catching people being nice. Thanks.”
“No problem,” she responded and rejoined her family. Pointing to Anya and me, she waved as did her children. “Have fun Santa and Ms. Claus,” they yelled. “We promise to be good.”
While making her way across the arch and taking pictures, Anya reached the other side and directed my attention to the path. Following its downward slope, we reached a large, dusty space. I hooted as I looked up and saw the height and width of the arch. “Mother Nature outdid herself. This is incredible. I never imagined we would see something so amazing.”
“I’m stunned at how enormous it is,” remarked Anya as she stood next to me and gazed at the curve of the archway. “Ready to move on?”
I nodded and the two of us continued hiking. Reaching the other side, we started to descend towards a narrow passageway. “Hmm,” Anya chuckled. “Do you think you can make it through? Appears to be a bit of a squeeze.”
“I’ll make it,” I grumbled while sliding my wide girth between the tight space of the walls. Taking my time, I eventually caught up with Anya on the other side of the passageway. “Didn’t think I’d make it, did you?” I snickered.
“Before you gobble down too many of Doheny’s chocolate chip cookies when we return,” replied Anya with a smirk, “I want you to remember this area called Fat Man’s Misery. Maybe you’ll think twice about what you eat.”
Together we laughed while continuing to follow the trail. “Maybe,” I finally replied, “but I doubt it. After all, who wants a skinny Santa.”
Notes From Santa
I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one next Monday. If you have any comments or if there is something you would like me to tell you about, please feel free to leave me a comment. Until next week . . .
Read about more adventures of Santa & Ms. Claus:
Just Part of The Family – August 26, 2019
Santa’s Waterpark Adventure – September 9, 2019
Santa and Ms. Claus go on Vacation – September 16, 2019
Stories From Santa & Ms. Claus on Vacation (Part 1) – September 23, 2019
Stories From Santa & Ms. Claus on Vacation (Part 2) – September 30, 2019
Stories From Santa & Ms. Claus on Vacation (Part 3) – October 7, 2019
Returning From Vacation – October 14, 2019
Amusement Park Adventure – July 27, 2020
RV Camping – May 24, 202