Clarkson family makes the best of spring break adventure

Kahrie Stegman
The Clarkson family enjoys the sunset in Maui earlier this week, where they flew for vacation after being kicked out of Ecuador, due to coronavirus travel restrictions in that country.

After much planning and preparation, one Pratt family’s vacation plans did not go as expected this spring break.

Doctors Amy and Eric Clarkson, their parents Terry and Linda Clarkson and Gary and Vickie Morsch, and their three children Tess, Cade and Ian had originally planned to spend spring break on an Ecoventura tour of the Galapagos Islands this year, but their plans quickly changed last week due to the worldwide COVID-19 crisis.

On their flight to Ecuador, the family got word that the President of Ecuador issued a proclamation that no more international travelers would be let in. Since they were already on their flight to Ecuador, they were allowed into the country, but their Galapagos tour was cancelled. They had 24 hours to leave the country or they would be stuck there for 21 days. Once they landed, they took an island hopper to San Cristóbal Island, Ecuador to get on a flight out of the country. While in Ecuador, they did have time to visit a cacao plantation and got to make chocolate themselves. From there, they decided to make the most of their trip and vacation in another tropical destination.

“We already had our warm beach clothes packed, we’d already taken off work,” said Dr. Amy Clarkson.

They considered Hawaii, the Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica, but decided on Hawaii since most other countries were closing their borders as well.

They took the last flight out of Ecuador to Dallas, and from there they flew to Hawaii.

When they arrived in Hawaii, some tours were still open, so they toured Pearl Harbor and went to a Luau on their first day.

The Clarksons’ kids all enjoyed learning about the history at Pearl Harbor.

“My kids absolutely loved touring Pearl Harbor. That was their favorite part,” she said.

The next day, all tours and parks were closed. All restaurants had closed their dining rooms and only accepted take-out orders.

Luckily, Maui is known for their food trucks, so the family still had many options that were unique to the island without losing the Hawaiian experience.

“It’s actually kind of a neat environment,” she said.

Both parents said everyone in the family is taking social distancing precautions on their trip, but most places they have visited have been bare because of coronavirus restrictions already in place.

For the remainder of the vacation, they plan on snorkeling, hiking, visiting Maui’s Twin Falls and more.

Dr. Eric Clarkson is a family doctor at Pratt Family Practice so he has had an especially unique experience, and perspective on the whole trip. Even though he is away from the Pratt clinic during this time, Dr. Clarkson said he is thankful for his experience and doesn’t regret it.

“In Kansas right now it's all just the preparation phase; we’re not in crisis mode yet,” he said. “If anything, I’ll be able to step right in and work refreshed.”

Barring any travel difficulties, the Clarkson family returns home to Pratt on Monday, March 23.