In honor of American Father’s Day on the 18th, I wanted to share some stories from my father/daughter travels. In 2008, my dad and I started taking these hiking trips together. He was all concerned that, since I was graduating high school, we would never get to have that one-on-one time again. I’m here to tell you that he was wrong. Since we’ve been on at least one hike together each year, and often take long trips. It’s really hard to narrow down favorite moments, but here are ten of my favorites.
Road Tripping From Springfield, Missouri to Homer, Alaska
In 2010 my dad got this crazy idea to take a 10,000 mile road trip through nine states, five Canadian provinces and seven national parks. To say it was epic is an understatement. We hiked, sang Blondie in the car, watched glaciers crumble into the ocean, had picnics and just spent a jam-packed three weeks together. Yes, we did all of that in three weeks! I get my insane style of marathon travel from my dad.
Taking A Jon Boat Across the Rio Grande for Lunch
My dad and I really love hitting up National Parks. So when we were planning a hiking trip last year, we tried to find a National Park that was close enough to drive in 1.5 days max and was a bit more unknown. We came up with Big Bend National Park. After we had landed on this park, I knew that a day trip to Mexico was going to have to be part of the trip. My dad was skeptical at first but the more we talked with locals, the more at ease he felt, and on the way to the border my dad was giddily saying, “Green chili enchiladas!” over and over. Ha! It ended up being one of the major highlights of the trip. We rode a mule into town, had delicious food with a gorgeous view and walked all through the town guided by our guide Estevan.
Almost Sliding Off of the Angel’s Landing Trail
Our very first father/daughter hiking trip was to the Southwest in early March 2008. Because of this, we ran into all kinds of winter-weather. One of my must-dos was Angels Landing in Zion National Park. It was our first hike of the day, just after sunrise. We made it all the way up Walter’s Wiggles, we were up in the chain section and suddenly, I hit a patch of ice. Thank goodness for the chains because I totally slipped and my legs flew off the side of the mountain. My dad instantly let go of the chains and grabbed my legs! I exclaimed, “Stop, grab the chains again!” Because, of course, I didn’t want to make my dad fall of the side of the mountain. We got to the next level spot, just feet from the top and decided to turn back around. It wasn’t worth slipping off. Later in the afternoon we spoke to many people who made it to the top after the ice had melted. I still haven’t made it back, but I want to finally take those last steps to the top with my dad.
Collapsing Into our Campsite in Havasu Canyon
Our Havasu trip was our first backpacking trip together. In fact, I had only gone backpacking once before and my dad never had. So, the night before we packed all of our stuff up in our packs. We loaded way to many changes of clothes, our not-so-light-weight tent and way too many things that weren’t necessary. And, here’s the kicker, we split the weight 50/50. We didn’t proportion it out based upon our weights. We both carried insanely too much weight on our backs. By the time we got 10 miles down into the canyon to the campground just past Havasu Falls. So, we literally collapsed into the first campsite available. It felt so good to drop our packs. Luckily for us, it ended up being the best spot because we were so close to Havasu Falls and we could have our morning coffee in front of it or read a book by it until the sun went down. It was amazing. Even though we were dog-tired, we got up every morning and explored the canyon. It was another great father/daughter trip!
Jumping Into the Elwha River While Rafting in Washington
While in Olympic National Park with my dad and brother, my dad got this spontaneous idea for all of us to go white water rafting on the Elwha River. We were rafting in water that was frigid! At one point there was an opportunity to do a cliff jump and my dad and I decided we were totally in. We puddled close to shore, the guide, one man, my dad and I climbed up the bluff and jumped in one by one. The second I hit the water, I felt the breath being sucked out of me from the ice-cold water. My brother pulled me back in the raft and cheered on my dad. It’s pretty cool having a dad that does these crazy things with me.
Gaining an Obsession with Moab Together
In 2012, I had this epic road trip planned for a co-worker/friend and me. When we both couldn’t get this time off, I decided to see if my dad was up for it. So, we went together. Moab was a place I had been dying to get to since a professor had told me it was his favorite national park. My dad and I spent the first part of this road trip in Arches + Canyonlands National Parks and have been back half a dozen times since! It’s just one of the best places on earth!
Waking Up for Sunrise and Accidentally Getting Up-Close and Personal with Grizzlies in Yellowstone
On our trek to Alaska, my dad woke up before the sun in Yellowstone, unsure if we wanted to be gone for three weeks. He missed my mom, he had anxiety about the Alaska Highway. So, we thought we’d see the rest of Yellowstone before decided our next move. We saw a mama grizzly and her two cubs down in a valley so we pulled over. We stood across the street from our car and looked down into the valley at them. They were at least a football field’s-length away. We were looking down through our cameras, really zoomed in, then suddenly, we put our cameras down and realized the mama bear had gotten insanely close. We instantly backed up, got back in our car and sat patiently as she passed and sat in a field beside. The cubs made their way across as well and then they all say and played and ate flowers together in the field. This gave us the energy and inspiration to keep on our journey!
Getting to Show My Dad Why I Love the Blue Ridge Mountains
In 2014 I moved to Asheville, NC. Neither of my parents had ever been out there. My parents came to visit me a few months after I moved out there and we got to explore the mountains together. The three of us took one trip up on the Parkway together, and then one day I took my dad to some places that I really loved. My favorite moment was going on top of Devil’s Courthouse followed by the view from Craggy Pinnacle. It was my first time up there and it was amazing to see that stunning view.
Watching a Snowstorm Blow in Over the Grand Canyon
On our first father/daughter hiking trip, our first stop was the Grand Canyon. When we arrived it was bright and sunny but the longer we sat there, the more we saw clouds roll in. Then as we were driving to the main lodge, the snow came down. It was an absolutely white-out. We pulled in just in time to sit in front of the window and watch the storm blow through. It was so beautiful and just as the snow moved out, we saw a condor stretching his wings, just before taking flight.
Watching the Waves Roll in On Beach 2
My favorite beach in the world is Beach 2 in La Push, Washington. To get there you have to hike through the rainforest. The beach is rugged, there’s driftwood laying across the beach and the waves roll in gently. We loved the beach so much we came back a second time when my brother flew into Seattle. The first night we sat here, we saw a couple setting up their tent for the night and my dad told me that that was the type of person he pictured me with. Someone who was adventurous. It was a prediction, for sure, because I met the perfect, adventurous man just a few years later.
Although I could come up with at least 100 little moments, like pulling cactus needles out of my dad’s arm or buying my dad his first shot of tequila ever, these are the top 10 destination-linked memories from our nine years of taking father/daughter trips. I’m excited to see where we go and what we get ourselves into over the next nine years. Also, a huge thank you goes to my dad for taking me on hiking trips, supporting me and my crazy decisions and making me the adventurous human being that I am today! Love you and Happy Father’s Day!
Looking for tips on traveling with your parents? Check out my post I wrote for Mother’s Day about why it’s important to travel with your mother + tips. All the things I wrote about there apply to travels with your dad as well.
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