Photo above is yours truly, Outdoor Aly, at two years old on a family outing up Bass creek in the Bitterroot mountain range.
When it comes to the outdoors, fathers play a large roll in many of our experiences. Sure, moms can show us all the same stuff, but the real bonding time between father and son, or father and daughter, usually takes place outside somewhere.
For some it was being taught to hunt, for others it was mastering the art of angling, but for me it was camping. I was fortunate enough to spend my early years living in the Bitterroot valley. I had a giant horse trough for a swimming pool and five acres of agricultural land as my back yard.
Weekends were spent camping and hiking the many drainages in the Bitterroot. I was taught the secrets to building a successful camp fire (we are fans of the pyramid/box structure) and how to roast the perfect golden-brown marshmallow.
We spent endless hours hiking Bass & Kootenai creeks & Blodgett Canyon. And once camp was set up, we would get the three wheeler out and start exploring.
Camping was such a normal part of life, and the easy transition of living outside and inside was so similar that I even remember accidentally going on a camping trip without shoes! I was three years old playing out in the yard bare foot with no sunscreen (back when kids were allowed to really play) and my mom had just finished packing up the truck for the weekend camping trip. When she finished packing she hollered for all us kids to hop in. I saddled right up without a thought, and none of us noticed I didn’t have shoes until hours away deep in the hills. That was an interesting weekend! I now know why Indians created moccasins.
What great memories! I cannot put to words or place a value on all the life experiences I had growing up outdoors in Montana. I have been so fortunate to live my whole life in such a coveted and beautiful place. And thanks to dad, I can show all those who weren’t as lucky how to roast the perfect golden-brown marshmallow! Happy Fathers Day!
Me and dad