Learning to love the outdoors

Let's go into a little bit about what brought me to where I am right now in my life.  When I was growing up, (in the 70's) my parents were what you could call "hippies".  Bluegrass festivals were a part of my life. I grew up listening to the Doors and Harry Chapin. They were very "outdoorsy" and loved to go camping, backpacking, and hiking on a regular basis. My father always owned a Jeep of some sort. We would take off on a Saturday morning and they would just drive for hours through mud and muck, up and down mountains, in and out of the forests. We would stop for a picnic (or if the Jeep got stuck so deep in the mud that we couldn't move) and sometimes even set up a makeshift camp.  My father owns some property on top of a mountain that was only accessible by foot. More recently a logging company that is working on the mountain has built up the road to make it accessible for now. Somehow they managed to build a "camp" up there (which is mostly used as a hunting camp now) and that's where we spent a lot of the time in the summer. We would go hiking, blaze trails, pick wild berries, cook over an open fire and tell stories.

We lived a pretty simple life. My father owned an autobody shop and my mother was his bookkeeper, etc.  As us children got older (I have an older and younger brother) our adventures would get larger. Once, they decided to take us out to the middle of nowhere in Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. It was so far from civilization that you couldn't even get a radio station. You were startled by moose on your way to the outhouse. The water was so clean and clear you could see the fish at the bottom. We had to learn to paddle a canoe and how to portage from pond to pond. We could only bring what we could carry ourselves, and what would fit into a Ziploc baggie in case we capsized. This was torture to a thirteen year old girl who could not be seen in public without having blow dried or curled her hair in the 80's.

Looking back on it now, all of this played an important part of who I am today.  I am not afraid to get dirty. I am not afraid of adventure.  I find myself trying to plan these same adventures with my own boys.  It has become a tradition for us to go on a big family camping trip at least once a year.  We gather with my parents, family and friends to relive these memories every year on our traditional camping trip on Memorial Day weekend at the same camping spot we did as a kid. We now own our own camper and make frequent camping trips with our own family. I learned a lot about survival on these trips. I learned some great life "hacks". I learned to always be prepared. I take pride in how well I can pack for a trip, even if it's just a day trip. I learned how to build things with my own hands and my own imagination and with limited supplies. I learned how to read a map, follow instructions, what to do if you ever get lost. All things that bring me to where I am now in my life.

*See my next post on sports in my life.