Happy Father’s Day 2015! My dad has celebrated a quarter of the century of Father’s Days. I haven’t been around for a decent number of these but I have some many great memories of time spent with my father. This is to celebrate and honor on of the people responsible for my adventurous spirit.
Spilling Sand in my French Fries at Long Beach, Washington, USA
I was about 9 months old and just learning to walk when I took my first plane ride to attend the Long Beach, Washington International Kite Fly. I spent most of the kite fly riding around on my father’s back while he flew kites. When he got tired or I got bored, I would get to wander around the little tent and experiment walking on sand. He got me a small bowl of french fries to enjoy while wandering around the tent. I didn’t want to stay in the tent, I wanted to wander around outside with my father. Alas, this resulted in a fall where I tragically spilled sand in my bowl of french fries.
My father throwing a snowball at my mother at Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, USA
On the Long Beach, Washington trip, we also went to visit my first National Park – Mount Rainier. It was early September and the first snow fall had occurred. My father and I were playing on the snow when he decided it would be fun to throw snowballs at my mother who was recording this adventure. He claims he wasn’t trying to hit her. Technically, he didn’t. He hit the camera dead center of the lens. I wish I had the video but it has been returned to videocassette tape heaven.
Snorkeling in the Ocean in Bonaire
I was four years old and it was my first international flight. My parents and I were taking me to the Caribbean island of Bonaire. We were spending a week on the island. The previous summer my dad taught me how to in our swimming pool. This was my first time in the ocean. I was so excited to swim with the fishes. My dad and I spent almost every day snorkeling and exploring the underwater world.
Moray Eel swimming over my foot at 1000 Steps, Bonaire
My dad and I were walking back from snorkeling the cliffs along 1000 Steps beach. We were examining the tidal pools as a larger wave came ashore. All of a sudden, I felt something slide over my foot. I look down to see a small moray eel slither over my foot.
Learning to use the telescope to spot animals at Glacier National Park, Montana, USA
My dad had parked in a pullout next to some cliffs. My dad gets out of the car and starts unpacking the telescope. He hands me a pair of binoculars and tells me to start scanning the cliff for bighorn sheep. I carefully scan the cliff. I tell him when I think I see one. He points the telescope at the spot and uses it to zoom in.
Hiking in Chimney Rock State Park, North Carolina, USA
I wanted to hike two of the trails: Outcropping and Skyline Trail. I wanted to visit the set of some of the Last of the Mohicans film. The total trail length was just over a mile. It’s all uphill. My dad and I set out on the hike. I was setting my usual fast hiking pace. My dad does his best to keep up. He isn’t prepared for it. Quickly, he is breathing hard and struggling to keep up. “Are you trying to give me a heart attack?” Not my original plan, but it was a benefit (not really but it’s fun to harass him).
Parasailing in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
I convinced my father that we should go parasailing. We got hooked into the harness and prepared to soar over the ocean. We spent an hour riding in the wind near the shore of Provo.
Snow Tubing in Ghent, West Virginia, USA
My dad and I took a weekend road trip to go snow tubing. We spent the weekend sliding down a hill at high speeds in inner-tubes. I enjoyed getting to spend the weekend having fun in the snow with my father.
Discovering Whitewater rafting in Ocoee River, Tennessee
I was twelve years old when my father took me rafting on the lower Ocoee. I had grown up to stories for my parents rafting. I was finally old enough to raft the Ocoee. We went rafting with the same company my parents have been using since the moved to Tennessee. I was bouncing up and down as we drove up the valley to the start of the middle Ocoee. We survived Power House, Grumpy, and Double Trouble rapids.
Exploring the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I had seen a TV show on Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. I convinced my father that we should visit the Mütter Museum while in Philadelphia. Very reluctant to see a Museum full of medical oddities.
Hiking to find American Chestnut Trees in Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee
I was doing a school project on the Chestnut Blight and the destruction of the American Chestnut Trees. In the early 1900’s, the Blight killed over 4 billion American Chestnut Trees in the United States. I had gotten directions to the location of a few remaining young trees. We hiked into the Smokey Mountains to find these free young trees. It was a fun day exploring the Smokey’s looking for the old Chestnut stumps and the dying young trees. For more info on American Chestnut Trees can be found at the American Chestnut Foundation.
Learning to Windsurf with my dad on Tellico Lake, Tennessee, USA
It was a sunny day at home in East Tennessee. My dad and I went out to the lake. He was going to teach me to windsurf. We spent the day working with the windsurfer. After some careful instructions and some arguments, I managed to get up and do a little windsurfing.
Throwing my father overboard while white water rafting, Ocoee River, Tennessee
Before my junior year of college, my dad and I went whitewater rafting on the Ocoee. It had been raining all week, so the river was flowing at its maximum flow rate for commercial rafting. We were almost to the end of the trip. We were about to enter; Hell’s Hole rapid. Usually, we make a 2-3 ft drop into the hole and then come out the other side. This time it was about a 6 plus ft drop. No one was prepared for. I was on the left side and my father on the right side. We came in hard on the right side and almost flipped. In the process of trying to stay in the boat, I used my father to break my fall. Instead of me falling out, he did.
Underwater Cave Exploration in Ginny Spring, Florida
My dad and I were taking a break from visiting colleges. We were going SCUBA diving in northern Florida springs. We spent a day diving Ginny Springs and Blue Grotto. Both dives were cavern dives in caves. We stayed within sight of the entrance but still spent time exploring the caves under water. I enjoyed trying to find small holes that I could fit though. We spent an amazing day exploring these underwater worlds.
His email after deciding to solo United States cross-country road trip
I open a rare email from my father. It starts with “Please evaluate and determine the suitability of the following: Nissan Cube, Nissan Versa, Honda Fit, Ford Focus.” I can’t decide what to make of this email. My parents have been known to play jokes on me and I can’t decide what this is. I walk down my college dorm hallway to a friends room. “If you got an email from your father with a list of four cars, what would you think?” Her response “I was getting a new car.” Ok, so I wasn’t crazy in that thought. I call my father. He seems surprised it took me this long to call. He has decided that my 11-year-old car isn’t going to be able to handle the trip from Tennessee to Mount Rainier National Park, Washington. His solution is a new car for this trip.
Happy Father’s Day 2015, Dad! I am sorry I have missed seeing you in person on Father’s Day for the last 6 years, but on the bright side I don’t live in your house anymore.