Today’s throwback is in honour of rapidly approaching Father’s Day. As you may recall, I wrote a post in honour of my mom for Mother’s Day. It is only fair that I do the same for my dad, especially since he has played such a pivotal role in my love of hiking and trail running.
It is not an understatement to say that I owe my love of hiking and nature to my father. It is also not an understatement to say that it is nothing short of miraculous. As children, my parents took us camping every summer, and camping often meant hiking. As a child, little of this appealed to me. In fact, let me recount how I felt about camping and camping-related activities as a child:
As you can see, my list of likes was few and my list of dislikes was many. Also note, one my list of dislikes was hiking. It is not lost on my father that I am now the family’s biggest proponent (read: obsessive freak) of hiking.
I believe my father was ahead of his time with subtle means of manipulating children into developing good habits. That sounds insulting, but I assure you it is not. The best analogy I can think of is how, if your children don’t like eating vegetables, you’re supposed to repeatedly expose them to eating vegetables. Repetition, it seems, is a powerful means of getting children to accept and even like things.
I believe my father knew that if he exposed me to nature and hiking enough, I might one day grow to appreciate it. I don’t know that he knew it would take me until I was in my early 20s to like it, nor that it would take until I was in my late 20s to absolutely love it. It shouldn’t surprise him that it took so long, though, as I have always been the world’s most stubborn child. I know he will not disagree with that statement. At any rate, all it took was twenty years of camping and being dragged up all sorts of trails to develop a passion for hiking a deep love for nature.
Even better, I am able to share this love of hiking with my dad at least a couple times a year. And though he thinks that I merely tolerate him on our trail adventures, whenever I hike with him I am reminded of just how similar we are. My father shares the same deep appreciation for an awe-inspiring view, for jagged and glacier-capped peaks, for fields of wildflowers in bloom, and for the magic of larch season. We are both stubborn and won’t use our poles or wear braces on knees and ankles that, really, should always be braced, and we both get just a little bit hangry when we don’t eat enough on the trail. We stop constantly to take pictures, we always want to beat our last hiking time, we like to stand precariously close to edges (making my poor mother incredibly anxious), and we always want to keep going to see what’s “just up ahead.” It is a wonder that we have survived so many a family hike.
Happy father’s day dad! I know that you’re proud to have instilled a love of hiking in me…even if it took twenty years!