Dads and the Outdoors

In anticipation of my week off from school and work, I was looking forward to one thing: being completely alone. I couldn’t wait to finish craft projects, sort through my belongings, clear out my closet for donations, and go on adventures. While I was eager to go on my outdoor journeys solo, a walk along Cedar City’s Ann J. Gardner Canyon Park trail with my dad convinced me to invite him to join me in my excursions. Joining him for a fishing trip at Yankee Meadow and hiking Kanarraville Falls ended being more than what my dad refers to as “Father-Daughter bonding time.” While I’ve spent just as much time outside with my mom, I found these two outdoor opportunities left me with a few life lessons from my dad:

  • Cast your rod and be patient. In today’s world, it’s easy to get caught up in wanting everything right now. The problem with instant gratification is we forget to savor moments. We take everything for granted. Sometimes it’s important to wait, enjoy life as it is, and recast your fishing rod when you don’t have any bites.
  • When there isn’t a path, make your own. While hiking Kanarraville Falls, my dad and I found many sections where no clear path or trail was present. Where should we go next? Rather than search for hidden paths, we saw other hikers walking through the stream and decided to follow suit and make our own path. Sometimes a trail in life’s journey isn’t present for you, so you have to trust your instincts and forge ahead.
  • When you need to, take it slow. During my time in graduate school, I’m constantly on the go. I have textbooks to read, discussions to participate in, and tasks to complete at my assistantships. Although my dad apologized for needing breaks while hiking, I saw his actions as a reminder to take a break. You can do more not powering through and having a refreshed outlook.
  • You only need the essentials. We often think we need more things when we go somewhere, but packing more means we carry more (just ask Cheryl Strayed). While at Yankee Meadow, all we needed was fishing gear, a packed lunch, a water bottle, my camera, and a book. These things showed me how little I really need in life.

Although I craved my alone time, I found what I really needed was some outdoor space to share with my dad. Walking around Yankee Meadow, I got plenty of time to myself, and I was relieved to make it across streams and through the trees to be back safe with my dad at the edge of the lake who was still fishing. It was even more of a momentous occasion to find our way to the ladder and slot canyons of Kanarraville Falls after long uphill hikes and uncertain trails. What I found after our journeys, is that the best way to enjoy the outdoors is to go with your dad, because he can always teach you just as much as any travel adventure.

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