As a community of families, it is so inspiring to hear where our love for the outdoors began. Some of us have been exploring since we were babies. Others of us just recently discovered a passion for the outdoors. But one common thread is we all have role models for introducing us to the outdoors, and for many of us, that person is our dad.

In honor of Father’s Day, we asked our Hike it Baby Branch Ambassadors to share how their dad – or brother, or husband or grandpa – helped shape their love for the outdoors.

You are My Rock

My dad has always been so supportive of me and my siblings, regardless of the situation. Any time I was working through something, having a rough day or excited about something, he would ask me to take a walk with him, no matter the weather. He has always believed that fresh air clears the head and calms the nerves. We would walk for miles and talk things through. He would give me advice when I asked for it, encourage me to follow my heart and be confident when making decisions, and learn from my mistakes (and I have had some mistakes). No matter the situation, he has always been my rock, and we still go on long walks every time we get to visit.

And now anytime I need to clear my head, I step outside and let the fresh air calm me, just like he taught me.

Becca Hosley, Southern Adirondacks, NY, Branch

To All the Dads Who Inspired Us to Love the Outdoors for Hike it Baby

Photo: Becca Hosley

You Empowered Me

Growing up, we spent our summers sailing, hiking and camping. What stands out most about my dad is he made it fun. We played fun games, told silly stories and he always had a smile on his face. I also remember how he included me in the ‘work.’ He let me help set up camp, steer the sailboat and cook at campouts. I felt empowered, strong, and incredibly connected during those times.

And now, it’s these same lessons that I aim to pass along to my two boys!

Christina Merhar, Snohomish, WA, Branch

To All the Dads Who Inspired Us to Love the Outdoors for Hike it Baby

Photo: Christina Merhar

You Raised Me to Love All Things Outdoors

Here I am with my dad before heading out on a backpacking trip to Oak Creek Canyon, AZ. This was before me entering 7th grade. My dad raised me to love all things outdoors … hiking, camping, backpacking, you name it.

It was a big part of our life growing up.

Colette Clarke, Harrisburg, PA, Branch 

To All the Dads Who Inspired Us to Love the Outdoors for Hike it Baby

Photo: Colette Clark

You Taught Me There’s Beauty in the Small Things

My dad was never into the typical outdoor experiences like hiking, backpacking and camping. I remember we went camping only ONE time as a family when I was a kid. However, one of my dad’s favorite activities was to visit the beach. I grew up in Eugene, Oregon, and the beach was only a 45-minute drive away. We would spend hours walking the beach, playing in the surf and searching for treasures to take home (Leave No Trace didn’t exist in our vocabulary back then).

I owe it to my dad for teaching me that there’s beauty in the small things like watching the waves roll in, feeling the sand slip between your fingers, and finding an unbroken sand dollar.

Katy Severe , Des Moines, IA, Branch  

To All the Dads Who Inspired Us to Love the Outdoors for Hike it Baby

Photo: Katy Severe

We appreciate everyone sharing their stories and memories! This Father’s Day, may you find connection, adventure and community in the outdoors.

How have the dads in your life impacted your love for the outdoors? Share your experience below!

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