To Dad, From Ann


Dad and me jumping into our pool in the mid-80s
When I traveled to Italy a month ago I started listening to the She Explores podcast, which about women in the outdoors. I've really been inspired by all the different women and their stories of long distance hiking, starting outdoor companies, etc. It has made me think of what more we could do more with Girls Gone Wildwood, but that is a different blog post This post is about a She Explores podcast I listened to running this week called, To Dad, From Daughter. The podcast is stories from different women on how their dad shaped their outdoor experiences.





Hand off at Hood to Coast

Listening to the stories made me think of my relationship with my dad growing up and how he shaped my love of the outdoors. Like several of the women in the podcast, my relationship with my dad in my teens and early 20s could be described as complicated. My parents got divorced when I was 6 and my sister and I spent the weekends with him during the school year and weekdays during the summer, these are some of my best memories of the outdoors from my childhood. 


Me and my sister Courtney, putting books in our treehouse
We lived in Texas, my dad lived in a suburb of Fort Worth and my mom lived in a suburb of Dallas. Neither place I would consider really outdoorsy, but my dad's house had a huge yard with tons of trees and a creek down the road, which felt like a forest to me at the time. I remember telling my dad I wanted a treehouse and we built a ladder up the tree to a platform with a desk. This treehouse over looked the neighbor's prefab clubhouse and at some point I decided I wanted a clubhouse to compete with my rivals next door (I was competitive at a young age), my dad helped me build one. 


Getting ready for our last and final Hood to Coast

This wasn't any clubhouse, this was Club Answer. Guess Jeans were popular at the time, so I thought I was being creative and made my logo a triangle with an ! in it. My dad bought some wood and we also went around to some of the new homes that had been built in the neighborhood and "borrowed" nails and bricks. We built the clubhouse around the treehouse, I think there were at least 5 rooms, including a fireplace and a bathroom. The bathroom was a little room next to the fence with an upside bucket with a hole in for the toilet that drained underneath the fence into the neighbor's yard, though I think I only used it a few times. 
Photo bombing trail running in Michigan


Photo bombing while hiking in Scotland


I remember how exciting it was building the clubhouse with my dad, but more than that I remember all the nights I spent "camping" and cooking in the fireplace in Club Answer. I remember how neat it was looking up at the stars and waking up in the crisp morning air and pulling my covers tight. It wasn't until years later when I moved to Oregon that I started car camping which eventually turned into backpacking, but the feeling of waking up in my backyard wilderness still stuck with me. 



Trail running in New Zealand
Even though I didn't get out into the wilderness and back country until my mid-20s, I have to think that my dad giving me the freedom to run around the neighborhood to climb trees, play in creeks, get dirty and build a clubhouse contributed to my curiosity of and comfort in the outdoors. 


Post hike beers in Croatia 

After moving to Oregon 17 years ago, I have spent as much time as I could outdoors, running, hiking, snowboarding, backpacking, etc. Our vacations out of the country evolve around the outdoors as well. In the last 6 years, I have been lucky enough to share this with my dad. It started out as trail running and hiking in Michigan, Oregon, Washington and California, which eventually turned into family backpacking/hiking trips to New ZealandScotland, the Dolomites and the Rhein River and even crewing me and Susan at CCC.


Father and daughter puffies in Michigan this winter
Even if you don't have easy access to mountains, forest, oceans, etc you can still influence children to appreciate and love the outdoors in your own backyard.  



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