Outdoor Dad

“Hurrah, let’s go outside!” chanted my busy family of young children. Back then, this was fun time after their Saturday household jobs were completed. All of the kids loved the freedom and opportunities the outdoors offered which continued throughout their teens and adult lives.

But, of all the kids, son Mike, seemed to prefer the unrestricted ambience of all things outside most of all. All through his growing up years instead of a planned vacation in a tourist attraction, he would favor hiking, fishing, hunting, and tent camping while partaking in the uninhibited environment of nature’s best locations. Soon his growing family joined him in sharing this love of freedom and participated in the challenges of outdoor life.

Mike’s daughter, Jessica and son Joe, quickly accompanied him on their rugged experiences of  camping and hiking in many of our National Parks and Forests. A practice round of rock climbing at a nearby facility served to acquaint the family with some of the skills they might need on their ambitious treks. Armed with suitable, comfortable clothing, correct footwear and campers’ supplies, the family was soon adding up the miles they walked on the Appalachian Trail and others nearby. Next they tried the somewhat vertical climbs in the Glacier, Cuyahoga and The Smokey Mountains National Parks with satisfied success.

On  a special trip to Alaska, Mike and his kids were in awe of the RV adventures they were there to enjoy. The trio have a special memory of trudging up a Denali mountain to Thorofare Ridge where the wind velocity held them up while they leaned into the onslaught of the gale force. Some quieter walks took them onto a glacier and hikes around several smaller lakes. A competitive, family practice, urged them to compare the size of salmon they caught while on an exciting rafting trip down the Gulkana River. And, after an early evening church service, they found a guide that would accompany them in their rental of a three-person kayak for an evening excursion on nearby Resurrection Bay. They were there to enjoy every wonderful experience they could.  And they did.

Closer to home, Mike kayaks down the Cuyahoga River and bikes around the nearby trails. When surrounding cities have races for local charities, he usually joins the runners not only to share in the competition but to enjoy healthy fitness as well. His outside activities continue to be a passion he enjoys. And now, he has two little granddaughters with whom he shares fun and excitement in the great outdoors. In anticipation of their joining him in hiking around their neighborhood, he bought them appropriate clothing of pink camouflage pants and jackets. They are now the new recruits for living and loving Mother Nature’s hospitality. They are emphatic in their promise to hold his hand and follow his instruction, while making unforgettable memories with Grampa. I have been told that their enthusiasm has already prompted them to shout out, “Yeah!!” we’re gonna  go outside!

Lizabeth Braskie

I'm a retired Sun Newspaper typist. I've been writing freelance articles for the past twenty five years. Some of them are personal experiences having to do with my family of eight children and a total of twenty grandchildren. They keep me busy with a variety of subject matter.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 9:56 PM, 03.08.2016