Thursday, May 18, 2017

Taking Advantage Of Being A Dad

My dad died when I was young so I wasn't able to go do cool adventures with him. Because of that, I'm bound and determined to send my kids off into the world with a pocket full of experiences and adventures together that they'll always be able to remember.

Recently I took my daughter Dani on one such adventure - her first visit to Death Valley.

It was such a great, great opportunity to spend time together. Every opportunity like this becomes a cherished memory.

Last year I visited Death Valley during the rare wildflower superbloom. (HERE is a picture and video clip I put together of the superbloom.) The flowers were minimal this year but we were still able to track down a few.

Since it wasn't (yet) nine BILLION degrees, we did a little bit of running. Dani caught this cool shot which is one of my favorite running pictures ever.

We spent quite a bit of time at Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level.

Dani has some serious jump skills. It would be a shame to leave the flats of Badwater Basin without a jumping picture. Am I right?!?!?

Then we drove to the Devil's Golf Course.

There weren't any hotel rooms at Furnace Creek in Death Valley so we stayed in Beatty, Nevada about 40 miles away. On the way to our hotel we stopped at Rhyolite Ghost Town. If you're ever in the area, check that place out. Not only does it have shells of old buildings, but it's also got a lot of artsy creations and sculptures.

The most unique (okay, downright craaazy) thing at Rhyolite is some ghosts in the formation of the Last Supper. We got lucky and caught an amazing sunset while hanging out with the ghosts.

The next day we did more exploring in Death Valley. There was some more running. Death Valley will always hold a special place in my heart after running Badwater last year, the 135 mile race across Death Valley in July. That race was undoubtedly the hardest thing I've ever done, along with the biggest sense of accomplishment I've ever felt. (Badwater race report HERE.)

We did the Natural Bridge hike:

And we checked out Zabriskie Point (I would type a million heart emojis next to "Zabriskie Point" if I could."

I can't describe what a cool feeling it was to watch my daughter fall in love with this place just like I have.

There was a trail right by Zabriskie Point that I had never explored before. I decided to check it out for a few miles and it was unspeakably beautiful, definitely one of the most amazing trails I have ever run.

We stopped at the little Furnace Creek convenience store for a soda and treat refill, then drove to the Mesquite Sand Dunes. Again, we got lucky and caught a beautiful sunset.

Don't think for one solitary second "Ahhh, what a good dad." I assure you that you could ask any of my children on any given day and they'd tell you we are horrible parents. (Teenagers are hard!) We make mistakes. We're not perfect. We have regrets. But we try. We really, really try. Just like you do with your kids. Go create your own adventure with your kids. I promise you won't regret it.

As the sun set on our last night of the trip, I wished I could freeze time. I was so thankful for that time laughing together...and blasting music with the windows rolled down together...and drinking rootbeer together...and enjoying one of God's Greatest Hits together. (Is God going to strike me with lightning for saying he has "Greatest Hits"?)

I felt so thankful to be a dad.

Yes. I wished I could freeze time.