How Hiking with My Dad Shaped My Life


        Years ago, in the early hours of a cool summer morning, when your breath lingers in the air like a faint cloud and sparkling dew drops cover the grass like a field of diamonds, I can remember my dad rustling me from my deep slumber with a hurried excitement. “It’s time.” he would say. “C’mon before the sun gets too high in the sky.”


        Just like that I was wide awake and ready to go. My bag, which I had carefully packed the night before, was waiting for me by the door and filled with everything I was taught I would need for the day’s trek. We carried extra socks, outer and inner layers, and even extra comfortable shoes to wear after the day’s work was done. We carried snacks, meals, and our own water – a resource as precious as its weight in gold on a hot day like today would become. Despite the food we brought, we still carried a hunger with us that has continued to this day for me that can only be satisfied by seeking an outdoor adventure.


        As we got in the car, just me and my dad, I’d rub my eyes and lay my head against the cool window wondering what today had in store for us. Sometimes I would doze off again on the drive up, the winding mountain roads lulling me back to the comfort of sleep. But not today. Today I was wide awake and ready to start the journey. As we parked the car and started in from the trailhead, my trained senses would begin to take in and process the serene world around me. I was excited and eager for what was to come and glad to have my father there walking by my side.


        Looking back on these precious memories now, I hardly remember the exact names of the trails we took. And I can’t always recall the view we saw at the end or the number of miles we hiked on each journey up and down mountainous trails.


        What I do remember, as clearly today as it was all those years ago, was the sense of accomplishment I felt sharing those experiences with my dad. Little did I know it back then, but my father was instilling in me a sense of self-confidence and a spirit of adventure. When we first started going on hikes together I was a scared little boy who would follow in my father’s shadow. But the more times we went out together, the more comfortable I became and began to feed my own wanderlust and even began to lead us down the trails myself. As I’ve grown older, this urge to explore and care for the beauty of the natural world shines on as strongly as ever.


       I see the value in what my father was doing those summer mornings. He was teaching me to appreciate the journey I set out on. He was showing me the beauty in experiencing nature as it is – untouched and unchanged by man. These experiences shaped me into who I am today and have given me a calling to help protect and preserve those trails so that others may walk the same path and experience a similar feeling.


       Thank you Dad for being there to share those journeys with me and for pushing me up life’s mountains so that I would one day be able to climb them all by myself. I look forward to sharing these kinds of memories with my own children so that they may take away the same lessons you taught me. 


Written by Colton Walter, Staheekum Brand Manager 


Happy Father’s Day!





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