Remembering the Good Times Outdoors with Dad

Here's a picture of my dad, taken on one of our more recent outdoor adventures

With Father’s Day approaching, I’ve been reminiscing on all the great times I spent outdoors with my father growing up. There were the camping trips at Meadow Creek, tubing adventures down the Gila River, picnics at the City of Rocks and long days of fishing at Lake Roberts.

What I remember most about these trips with my dad was his determination to make everything perfect. Whereas most people always seem to forget at least one thing when camping, my dad was so prepared he was often the guy loaning out his extra lantern, matches, hammer, etc to the people camping one site over. It wasn’t until I went on my first camping trip as an adult that I realized how much effort my dad had put into these trips. He worked hard to make sure we had the best time possible. I probably have never told him this, but I am truly grateful to him for taking such great care of us on these trips.

To help celebrate Father’s Day, I asked some of my friends and family to share their father-daughter outdoor memories. Here they are in their own words:

Monica Diaz Bird:

When I was little, we went camping and fishing at the Russian River in Alaska almost every summer. There were fast moving streams that we had to cross in order to get to our fishing spots and my sister and I were too small and too scared to cross them by ourselves. My dad would take our gear across then come back, put one of us on his back at a time, and carry us across the stream. I would be terrified up until I was on my dad’s back, then all the fear would go away.

Kelly enjoying a hike with her dad

Kelly Rand:

My family has always been very outdoorsy. Growing up, we went canoeing, camping, hiking and fishing on a regular basis. When I was an adult, my father started inviting me on weeklong backpacking trips to Baxter State Park located in the middle of Maine, which he used to only go on with his work friends. The first year I went along, my father showed me all the secrets the park had to offer, like the very nearly extinct Lady Slippers that lined the part of a soggy trail. He even taught me how to fly fish. This yearly trip is something I’ve come to look forward to.

Danielle Brigida:

When I was very young, my father used to put me on his shoulders and we would enter a different world together. We called our walks through nature “explores” and I’d make him tell stories as we embarked through the woods about giants and ogres. I felt invincible that high up and I could reach out and touch the leaves and branches of the trees.

I insisted on seeing wildlife, in fact, I wouldn’t let us end our explore unless I’d spotted something. I was especially thrilled when I’d spot a box turtle or frog along the stream bank. He would calmly let me explore and teach me the differences between the turtles and how to catch frogs.

I’m so grateful for these experiences with my father. No matter how old I get I’ll never forget the hours we spent together exploring and learning about the natural world.

Jennifer Banegas:

I have many fond memories of spending time with my father outdoors. Living in Silver City, New Mexico, which is in the Gila Wilderness, we were able to go camping or visit nearby lakes to fish.

We also spent plenty of time at the nearby Gila River, tubing, exploring the river bank, and simply spending time with each other and our family. My dad taught me, among other things, how to skip rocks, how to fish, and of most importance, how to appreciate the area we grew up in. I live in Las Cruces, NM now, which has a more desert landscape. I sure miss living in the mountains, especially now that I have children of my own. Thanks, Dad, for teaching me to love the wilderness as much as you do!

Meri's dad helps get her fishing pole ready

Meredith Purvis:

When I was younger, my family spent a lot of time outside camping, picnicking, ice-skating, hosting bonfires, or just digging in the garden. But one of my favorite memories is best captured in a great photo of four-year-old me proudly holding up a fish my dad and I caught. Looking back on it, I know that grin is not because of the fish, but because of the great time I had with my dad, him and me sitting side by side, just enjoying the day.

Your Turn

If you have a memory of spending time outdoors with your father that you would like to share, please do so in the comments section below.

And, if you are still looking for ideas of what to get your dad for Father’s Day, consider a home-grown gift.