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48 In Hiking + The Outdoors/ Travel/ Travel Talk

The Top 10 Moments from My Father/Daughter Travels

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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48 Comments

  • Reply
    equinoxio21
    June 12, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Nice trips. Great moments I’m sure. 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 12, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      Thank you! Amazing moments and memories to last a lifetime!

  • Reply
    Kaitlyn Jo Smith
    June 12, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Amazing! Travel with my dad is my favorite too.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 12, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Where’s the best place you’ve been with your dad?

      • Reply
        Kaitlyn Jo Smith
        June 12, 2017 at 1:58 pm

        We took a whirlwind wild west adventure in 2014 (I think) which ended in Colorado to visit his brother. We all went off-roading and tromped around Garden of the Gods (which was incredible). Even when we stay close to home, it’s a good time though, he makes everything an adventure!

        • Reply
          Paige Wunder
          June 12, 2017 at 2:12 pm

          That’s so awesome. It definitely doesn’t have to be far from home to still be an adventure. I’ve always wanted to go to Garden of the Gods, good to hear it lives up to the hype. I bet you heard all kinds of good stories between him and your uncle!

  • Reply
    Claudia
    June 12, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Oh my such incredible moments and travels! Havasu Canyon Looks like a dream place! I am saving all these places 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 12, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      Thanks, Claudia. Traveling with my dad has definitely been a blessing.

  • Reply
    Sarah Kim, Tales From a Fork
    June 12, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    I love that your dad wanted to do this trip with you. It looks like so much fun. That moment falling off the ice must’ve been so intense but made you two closer. Great share!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 12, 2017 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks! It’s a culmination of moments from 9 years of father/daughter trips, but they were all insanely special. It definitely made me feel like my dad would do anything to keep me safe. Which is a pretty amazing reassurance. Thank you!

  • Reply
    wyldfamilytravel
    June 12, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    You and your father have ticked off some epic explorations in some amazing destinations.Zion is high on my bucket list

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 12, 2017 at 7:57 pm

      Thanks, Mark. We’ve definitely had many amazing adventures together.

  • Reply
    Claire Summers
    June 13, 2017 at 12:09 am

    I love this post! I wish I had taken some trips like this with my Dad. He isn’t much of a hiker sadly. Amazing memories for you both.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 13, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      Thank you so much. You should try a trip that he would enjoy more! It’s great to get that time together.

  • Reply
    Michael @ Mile in My Glasses
    June 13, 2017 at 2:31 am

    This was wonderful! What a great way to bond with your Father – I love it!

    I hope you have a lovely Tuesday,
    Michael
    https://www.mileinmyglasses.co.uk

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 13, 2017 at 10:03 pm

      Thank you so much, Michael. Those trips are absolutely priceless to me!

  • Reply
    Veronica
    June 13, 2017 at 3:38 am

    This touched me so deeply! This is an adventure I couldn’t even ever dare to dream about. Please take care of each other and value these precious moments and make some good memories.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 13, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      Thank you so much, Veronica, for your very sweet and raw reaction. I wouldn’t trade my travels and the time spent with my dad for anything! I’m hoping we get to continue this tradition this year!

      • Reply
        Veronica
        June 16, 2017 at 1:37 am

        Please do!
        I have memories how my dad and I traveled through Russia by car or took a train. I also remembered how we played badminton. But these memories fade away each year.

        • Reply
          Paige Wunder
          June 16, 2017 at 7:08 am

          I’m sorry that the memories are fading. Just try to hang on to them!

  • Reply
    Susan R
    June 13, 2017 at 7:01 am

    I can see where you get your wanderlust from! So nice that you’ve shared so many experiences together. Jumping into the Elwha river must have been fun

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 13, 2017 at 10:06 pm

      It’s true, I do come by my wanderlust honestly! We’ve been very lucky to both be able to take time off, both be willing to prioritize that time together and both love the outdoors! It was a lot of fun and definitely a favorite memory.

  • Reply
    Megan Indoe
    June 13, 2017 at 11:29 am

    I love that you and your dad are so close and travel together! I wish I could get my parents into travel! I would love to share this type of experience with them. I could possibly get them to travel around the US but my dream has to always have them leave the country with me and see the world! I should share this with them, perhaps it will motivate them more!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 13, 2017 at 10:08 pm

      It’s amazing to be able to share these experiences with him. You should totally take them up on domestic travels. There are so many things to see here as well. I’ve only been to Mexico and Canada with my dad – he hates to fly. That has worked out well for me, though, because I go with my mom out of the country!

  • Reply
    Candy
    June 13, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    I wish that I had the same relationship you have with your dad. It sounds so nice to be able to bond and explore together! The part where you slipped at Walter’s Wiggles gave me chills! So glad you both made it out alive 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 13, 2017 at 10:09 pm

      It was definitely a chilling experience, but one of those really cool moments where I realized just how much he loves me for real, you know? You doubt those things as a teenager sometimes 😉 .

  • Reply
    TalesOfABackpacker🌍 (@clairesturz)
    June 13, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Aww these look like great times with your Dad, it’s wonderful you can make these memories together! I would suggest taking a trip with my Dad but I think we’d just get on each others nerves the whole time!!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 13, 2017 at 10:11 pm

      They’re definitely some amazing memories! Maybe you would get along better than you imagined. It’s definitely an awesome thing to be able to do.

  • Reply
    Samantha Elisabeth
    June 14, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    This is such a sweet post, Paige! I love that you and your dad found something outdoorsy to do together. I can’t picture either of my parents willingly hiking haha.

    And that Moab trip sounds amazing! It stinks your friend and you couldn’t go together, but it looks like you and your dad have an even better time. I’m DYING to go. Same with Asheville/the Blue Ridge Mountains!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 14, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      Thank you so much, Samantha. We definitely love these adventures together. You guys could find something that you both love, I’m sure! Those two places (and Hawaii) are my top three favorite places in the US. I think you’ll love both of those regions. I loved Asheville so much that I moved there after visiting on a road trip.

  • Reply
    Cat
    June 14, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    You had some fun adventures with your dad! It is nice to share these priceless memories together! I love the sweet picture of you two at Havasu Canyon!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 14, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      I’ve definitely done a lot of cool things with him. We love the southwest and are both dying to get back to Havasu Canyon. It was so much fun!

  • Reply
    Joanna Maguire
    June 15, 2017 at 6:15 am

    What awesome adventures you have had with your dad! You are really fortunate to have this kind of relationship with him. We have been pulling together some ideas for an American road trip – have just added a few more thanks to your travels!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 15, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      I’m definitely very fortunate. I was born into the right family, for sure. I’m glad! Let me know if you need any tips for certain destinations.

      • Reply
        Joanna Maguire
        June 16, 2017 at 2:06 am

        Will do! Heading back to Japan first later this year and who knows where our travels will take us 😊✈️

  • Reply
    Tania Mukherjee
    June 15, 2017 at 6:33 am

    Your dad is so cool, no wonder you enjoy traveling with him! For a second I hold my breathe while reading about your leg slipping in the Angel’s Landing Trail, only a father would let go off his own safety to save his child. I also liked reading about your brush with the grizzly and her cub!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 15, 2017 at 7:08 pm

      He really is super cool! I was definitely holding my breath in the moment! Thank you for reading and commenting!

  • Reply
    nisha
    June 15, 2017 at 7:20 am

    This is awesome. You guys seem to bond so well and you are both full of energy. The places you have been to in that epic 10,000 miles road trip seem to be sprinkled with the right amount of adventures.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 15, 2017 at 7:11 pm

      We are both very energetic. Neither of us is very good at relaxing. Luckily, it means more time hiking together 😉

  • Reply
    melbtravel
    June 15, 2017 at 7:27 am

    I can see where you get your wanderlust from! That is so lovely that you have been able to share so many experiences with your Dad. My dad came to see me last year in England and we went traveling together and I loved it. I can see where you get your wanderlust from 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 15, 2017 at 7:13 pm

      It’s true! I definitely come by my wanderlust honestly. We’ve definitely been able to see some incredible things together. My dream is to take him to Patagonia for his 60th birthday! I think he’d love it.

  • Reply
    Vibeke Johannessen
    June 15, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Must be amazing to have a dad who loves travelling so much. My dad is not a typical national park type of guy but more like historic places etc. I havent been to any of the places you listed here yet, but would love to go to all of them especially Grand Canyon and the Arches 😀

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 15, 2017 at 7:14 pm

      You guys should go on a historical trip together then!

  • Reply
    Anne @TravelTheGlobe (@TTGLOBE4L)
    June 16, 2017 at 1:06 am

    This is really sweet. I went away with my dad last year and it was pretty cool. Reminded me that he is a human rather than just my dad lol

  • Reply
    Ami Bhat
    June 16, 2017 at 3:49 am

    What fascinating memories for life. Loved the way you have described this. Want to write one myself now

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