Things to keep in mind while planning a honeymoon

(This entry is a finalist in our Good, Bad, and Funny honeymoon story contest.  There are 16 stories, please vote for our winner by adding a comment to your favorite.)

Have you ever thought you knew so much about a certain activity that you planned minimally, and found out how horribly wrong you were at the worst possible moment? I have. It was called our honeymoon.

All my life, I thought going backpacking for my honeymoon would be the most amazing thing in the world. When I got engaged in 2008, I asked my wonderful wife whether or not it would be OK to do this for our honeymoon. Somewhat hesitatingly, she said it would be fine, as long as I made all the correct preparations. My plan was to use the truck I was in the process of rebuilding to get us to a trailhead, then hike in to a beautiful lake, camp, and spend four blissful days under the cover of nature. 

The first thing that went wrong was that I did not finish the truck in time, so I thought “No big deal, my 22 year old convertible sports car should work just fine, not like we will be doing any major off-roading or anything…”

Our wedding day came and went, and we headed off on our honeymoon on August 6th. That night, I surprised my wife with a nights’ stay at the Anniversary Inn, which was great. The following morning, we went out to my car, excited and apprehensive about the next few days. The previous night had gone so well, what could possibly go wrong? We loaded our gear into the car, sat down, and I turned the key… and nothing happened. My lights had been on all night, and had run the battery down. Fortunately, someone was able to give us a jump-start and then we were on our way (already two hours later than expected).

We drove for a couple of hours to the Uinta mountains were we planned to camp, and using a hiking trail map, began our drive north across the Uintas to the Alligator Lake trailhead. 

As we drove in, the roads became progressively worse and worse, first being a paved road with lots of bumps, turning to a dirt road, to a gravel road, then a fork in the road. We stopped, got out and looked at our map to decide which fork to take, and it started to rain. We put the roof on the car, and continued along a now muddy road in the middle of August in a black car with no air conditioning. As we continued, so did the rain. Eventually we were bouncing along the road, hearing metal scraping against rock every few feet of driving in a car that wasn’t even designed to drive on the freeway in rain, let alone a rock road built solely for 4×4 access. With this being the case, I was only able to go about 4mph the entire time. My wife was alternately praying and questioning why she married me.

As we continued to slowly progress, we decided that we were not going to be able to reach the lake that was on the other side of the map from where we were, so a change of plans was in order. We decided to go to the next lake that had a road sign indicating it’s existence. We found one, I turned down the path, and we reached it very shortly… But there were RV’s there, and I decided arrogantly to refuse to camp next to them, much to the dismay of my wife.

So we plodded onwards, still scraping, on even worse roads than we had initially dreamed my car was capable of limping down. I will not go into too much detail about the many times my wife said “Honey, I don’t think you can drive down that one…” and I did anyway, but suffice to say we found a place to park the car with a trail access to Lym Lake. 

After loading up with our backpacks, both looking like twelve year old Boy Scouts on his first camp-out, taking care of some business involving shovels, toilet paper, and a disgusted wife who had barely even used a pit toilet, let alone a trench, we started off. Finally!

We were actually doing what I had been wanting to do! Yes, it was late in the day (probably around 5pm) but we were on our way to blissful days by a lake shore! We followed a trail for about twenty minutes, came to a clearing, excitedly picked up the pace… and saw a sad, muddy black sports car we both recognized much to our dismay. We had gone in a complete circle, and ended back exactly where we started. The decision was made to find another trailhead, so we loaded back into the car, and drove to yet another “Honey, I don’t think…” road.

After we got to the point where there was no way the car could climb anymore (trust me, I tried…) we parked the car and began our trip where there was an actual sign pointing us towards Lym Lake. 

After hiking for over two hours, with the sun setting, we were not finding the lake. We decided to set up camp just off the trail, and as it got to be pitch black, fear set in. We realized we were at least 50 miles from the closest human in bear country with lots of wonderful smelling food. About halfway through trying to set up our brand new tent in pitch black conditions, we looked at each other and decided enough was enough. We packed up and decided to head back home. After a very difficult hike back out in the darkness of the night, we saw the car! As soon as we were out of the dirt trails, my wife fell soundly asleep and didn’t wake up until we were almost home. We got home at 1am, went inside, and fell asleep in seconds. 

Later, I did some research and discovered that Alligator lake can only be accessed from Wyoming. I had tried to get us to a lake that was impossible to drive to from the southern access. Thankfully, my wife and I are still married, and a year later I convinced her somehow to try the trip again, this time with much more planning, and much better results.

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