Sweet father-daughter story

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A friend of mine has been tripping in the Boundary Waters and Quetico since about 1976. He recently told me this story about going with his daughter.

"I think Jen was 15 when we took that first trip. Before that we had car camped at the Northern Highland or some place like that every year since she was little. We had only one little adjustment incident on that canoe trip. After we crossed through the Quetico Ranger Station we paddled across North Bay on Basswood to the first significant portage of the trip. We loaded up our packs and headed down the trail. About half way she dropped the pack and said, 'I can't do this, I can't carry this pack.' It was a a big waterproof rafter's bag filled with clothing and sleeping bags, so it was awkward but not too heavy. I said, 'OK' and picked up her pack and hefted it on top of the pack I was carrying and started down the trail. She said, 'Dad, you can't do that.' I replied,'There is no choice because we have to get all our gear to the other end.' We went about 100 yd down the trail, she was walking in front. She turned around with a very stern look on her face and said, 'Give me that pack.' I did, she finished the portage, we never had any 'I can't do that' issue again.

"We went to Quetico every year after that through college. She learned a lot on those camping trips - knots, tarps, fire building, paddling tandem and solo. I took it as pretty natural, but in a way I guess it wasn't, which was borne out by the fact that some of her friends, including boys, in high school called her MacGyver (remember the TV show that was popular in the late '80s?). She got that handle after she and some high school friends [went camping], including a number of boys, because of her ability to do things like tie knots and rig a tight tarp, and paddle a canoe and start a fire. On a class canoe trip on the river the boys were especially impressed to watch her deftly tie canoes down on the car. They didn't have a clue on what to do.

"I feel sorry for women who believe they can't do the things men can do, and am particularly sad to see men treat women like they can't do it."

I feel privileged to be able to look into this window on the past.

What parent-child stories do you have for this forum?
 
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We've been blessed with both sons and daughters, and loved/suffered having them all on canoe trips. One by one, as they grew older, they dropped out of the annual family trips. I didn't force them to come, as I wanted it always to be a pleasure rather than a punishment. There were some camping obligations however. They each had their own packs and camp chores, but mostly they just "goofed off". The biggest obligation was attending the occasional campfire contest. One day, years ago, we decided to scare away some evening shadows with a game. Our kids' ages spanned from 7 to 18, and so a simple game of charades was chosen. We all took our turns, from eldest to youngest, mostly choosing children's movies and books to act out. Finally when our youngest daughter got her turn, she sat pensively, and then strode to the edge of the fire's glow and began. Book. One word. And then she immediately squatted down and started waddling around the fire ring. "Mother Goose! No, that's two words." Try as we might, we just couldn't guess the book title. When our little imp began grunting and grumbling, we couldn't help but roll around with laughter. She was being serious. Pay attention. Then she started waving her arms and making hideous faces! Well, we'd had enough of being serious, and continued crying with laughter. The more we laughed, the harder she grunted, waddled and waved her arms. Finally we gave in, and pleaded for mercy. "What's the name of the book?" She stood upright, smoothed out her sweater, and feeling suitably composed and offended said..."Rumpelstiltskin!" OMG. No amount of explaining the rules of charades was good enough. She had won, and we had lost, and she never let us forget it for the remaining few days of our canoe trip. To this day, whenever one of her brothers wants to pick on her, he just does the "Rumpelstiltskin dance". We all relive that campfire memory, and laugh once again. Skinned knees, upset tummies and scary night time sounds all have faded over the years, but fun frosty mornings, sunshiny summer swimming, and goofy campfire songs are as treasured today as they were on the final car ride home.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
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Aberdeen, MD
I lived near the Great Smokey Mountain national park, in Knoxville, TN, for a number of years, and took my girls for their first overnight campout when they were roughly 5 and 9... they'd been on a lot of short day hikes before, but this was their first overnighter with me. Knowing I would be carrying the bulk of the gear, I chose to not use a tent and spend the night in a lean-to along the Appalachian Trail. The road from Newfound Gap to Clingman's Dome runs for 6 miles along the spine of the Smokies, paralleled for its entire length by the AT, never more than a few hundred yards from the road... so I found a lean-to near the road, packed up the gear, and we went out...

All I needed from the girls was for them to carry their sleeping bags, pillows, and pajamas, and they did this in their school book bags. I had everything else. We had about a 1/4 mile hike ahead of us, and were about 200 yards down the trail when the oldest began complaining about her pack. I took it from her, strapped it on the front side of me, and off we went... this was NOT unobserved by the youngest... she immediately took up the injustice of it, stating quite firmly that it was unfair for me to have to carry my own pack AND her sister's pack, and that SHE certainly would never as me to do that... this narrative, in various forms, went on for another 100 yards. At that point, my oldest stopped and said "Dad... I've been thinking. You shouldn't have to carry both our packs, and I think I should carry mine from now on." I put it back on her and off we went, and I never heard another peep out of her about anything being uncomfortable the entire trip. Fortunately, it didn't rain, we had no bears, and the shelter mice were deemed "funny" when we heard them scuttling around in the shelter rafters. (One even ran across my face, but that's another story. In short, they have surprisingly cold feets.)

My oldest never did become much of a camper, though the youngest eventually graduated to canoeing and handled her own solo canoe during a trip a few summers ago... she became a much better paddling partner AFTER doing it solo.

Last summer, our "worst" trip due to 2 months of incessant rain (including pretty much the whole weekend we were out), she said "dad, it's ok... this makes up for all the GOOD trips we've had". Unfortunately, I lost about 20 games of Uno in a row to her that trip, rainbound under the tarp... oh well... She had a good attitude the entire time, and didn't whine about the rain at all.

I've always encouraged my daughters to do things especially when it came to killing their own spiders and working with tools. My goal was to prevent them from NEEDING a man to do things for them, vs WANTING a man for his other merits, if that makes sense... They seem to pick good friends, and the oldest, while still in search of a "real" job in this economy, gets kudos from her employers for showing initiative... the youngest is just starting college, but remodeled her own bathroom at 14/15 with a little help from me w/lifting heavy things... So I guess I'm at least partially successful in raising "un-princesses".
 
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central NYS - 10 miles from the Baseball Hall of F
I'm the lucky father of two wonderful daughters. The only thing my elder one wanted when she turned 7 was a three day canoe trip in the Adirondacks with me. I spoke to my friend who was the ranger at Raquette Falls at the time to see if he was willing to be my back-up. In case anything should happen to me, I wanted to be sure my daughter would be cared for. He said he'd be fine with that so we planned to paddle up from Axton Landing. For those unfamiliar with the trip we started off by paddling upstream. While my daughter was pretty good at physical activities, I never expected to paddle up there in just two hours; something I still have yet to do with some of my college students. Anyway, we spent the next few days having a wonderful time fishing, hiking, swimming and paddling around. It was beastly hot that weekend (it hit over 100F in Tupper Lake we were told later) but we didn't let that get in the way. The last morning of our trip, which was her actual birthday, my friend came over to our site and invited us to the Ranger's cabin for breakfast. He'd made a special meal of waffles, sausage and maple syrup in honor of her special day. When we got home and she shared her stories with her younger sister, then 4, it got her all excited and she came to me saying she didn't want to wait until she was 7 for her trip. She wanted to go on one next year. I told her as a 5 year old I'd be willing to take her but we'd plan a bit less. She was OK with that and one year later I took her off on her first trip.

The older one is now 32 and expecting her third child at the end of this month. She is a physical therapist and her husband and kids bring great joy to our lives. My younger one lives about an hour away from her sister and revels in her role as aunt to our grandsons. She is a lawyer living in RI and is involved in developing courses that are taught to prevent cyber bullying and other youth related programs. Both their mother and I are so proud of them and the best part??? We continue to go on big family camping trips; getting our grandsons into paddling, camping and enjoying the great outdoors. Honestly, I feel truly blessed. With another one on the way, there'll just be more fun around the campfire.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...Be well.

snapper
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
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Appleton, Maine
I took my daughter Lori on her first canoe camping trip around 1984, she was 7. We went to a small lake in the southern ADK's in NY, Garnet Lake. We where close enough to the car so that we could paddle out quickly if need be (my wife's orders), but we where far enough away so she got the feeling of wilderness. Her brothers had been there the year before, so they told her how to act and what to do, being the seasoned trippers they where at the age of 8.



We took Molly the dog, the best lab a family could ask for. We also went with a family friend who's daughter was the same age. We fished, shot a bb gun at cans, made fires, hiked a trail to a trout pond and swam. It was a great time, great memories.



Her love for the outdoor life took her all over the world, then she finally settled down to become a game warden with the USFW in Maine, had two babies, retired from law enforcement and became an instructor at a college in Maine teaching wildlife law enforcement.
We are planning a 1st trip this summer to 5th Machias lake in downeast Maine with her husband and 2 sons this summer, canoe in in wood canvas canoes of course....
 
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