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.


  1. Those type of thins lead to life long relationships! I remember traveling with my parents and going to lunch with my dad and kinds of things. Now my dad is 78 and I am 51-- we just got back from traveling to Peru and Machu Picchu. I wouldn't trade traveling memories with my dad (and mom) for anything.

  2. "Don't think for one solitary second "Ahhh, what a good dad." ...We make mistakes. We're not perfect. We have regrets. But we try. We really, really try. Just like you do with your kids."

    But I do think "what a good dad" and here's why - not every parent does try. My dad had mostly given up trying by the time I was 7, and had completely given up by the time I was 9. It would be lovely if every dad really did try to be a good one. But sadly that is not true, and as someone who had a bad relationship with her father growing up and has a bad one now, I do look at you with your daughter and think how lucky she is to have you, and what a good dad you are...mistakes and all :)

  3. We had a lot of last minute decorations to add, and the staff was eager and willing to help. The food at the event venues was amazing. They have extremely unique and tasty food. Also this place has great views and beautiful big rooms.

  4. I love this post! I love that you're consciously making time to spend with your kids. Trust me, they notice, and it matters, and it means more than you'll probably ever know. I was a single mother, and it was tough! I don't know how many nights I cried in the bathroom. But I tried. I made mistakes. I failed in many ways but throughout it all, I spent as much time as I could with my son. We explored Alaska. We hiked in the mountains. We caught jellyfish at the beach, collected driftwood, beach stones. We ran with the dog, picked raspberries, camped and fished and read books and built Lego towers. Yet, I always worried that I wasn't doing enough.
    My son is 26 now and successfully off on his own. He's coming home to visit this summer and when I asked him what he wanted to do he said, "I want to hike all the places we did when I was growing up."
    I swear, I almost bawled.
    So yeah, they notice, and it matters, and they feel the love, even if they aren't willing to show it at the time ('cause yeah, teenagers can be difficult, lol).
    Cheers and big hugs to you and your family.

  5. Makes me feel guilty.. You are a good dad. For years, anxiety has kept me from doing many things like this, from straying too far from my comfort zone. Only now am I finally able to do things like go to Maui with the family, or have my son crew me at ATY. Can't get those years back, but I can sure try to play catch up. My son is sixteen already. Where did the time go? :)

  6. Looks great, love this sharing so much, thanks!

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