Today is Father’s Day. Our fathers have shaped us and molded us. As we celebrate our fathers today, we hear from Ambassador Lori about her father. It’s a beautiful piece and I can’t do it justice to try to summarize it, so I’ll just let her take it from here.
As I looked back at my hiking memories over the past years, there’s one thing that’s clear…My love for hiking, photography and nature is a gift from my dad.
Years before he became ill, we hiked often. He took me to places that were unheard of, that now are no longer hidden gems. They are crowded with litter from hikers that stomp the trails daily. Once ill, he continued to hike confidently remembering exactly where the trail began and where it ended. That amazed me. When he became too ill to hike, I’d show him pictures of my adventures. He enjoyed seeing my love for hiking.
I wanted to honor my dad because he used to pick up garbage on every trail he walked. It annoyed me as he’d never brought a bag. He would just pile it wherever he could. In his pockets, under his arms and in his hands. It didn’t matter what it was or how much, he happily grabbed it and took off the trails. Considering that, I wanted to name a trail after him. Something that isn’t easy to do…My boyfriend found a beautiful waterfall up on a Forest Service Road (FSR) and we made a little trail into it. I painted a sign and we secured it to a tree with a coated garden wire. I was able to show my dad these falls through pictures and videos. It’s not exactly what I wanted however, I will keep pursuing my dream to have a trail, officially named after him.
A couple months ago as I drove to my dad’s, one tear rolled down my left cheek then my right. I sponged them dry. I had to be brave, tear free for this would be the last time I’d see my dad. The last time I’d ever talk to him. My dad was dying.
The next day I was hiking when the news came in that my dad had left this earth. Minutes before I found a feather laying on the forest floor. It might sound strange but in the weirdest of weird moments these past two months, I’ll find one and I know my dad is with me.
He is now pain free and able to walk the trails with me in spirit. Today is my first Father’s Day without him. It’s tough. I miss him. I miss our trail adventures. I miss his quirky sense of humor. I miss voice. I miss my dad. Thanks Dad, you gave me such a beautiful gift; you made me love the mountains, old growth tall timber, the beautiful glacier fed waters, the crooked trails with the most stunning views. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
I Hike Like A Woman but my connection to nature will always be from my dad. Who is your connection to nature?