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Quality Time
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Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Quality Time on 03/27/2011 00:20:26 MDT Print View

The fondest memories of my boyhood consist mostly of joyful mini-adventures outdoors, whether it was a day at a swimming hole in Novato, CA when I was 10, plucking crawfish from the creek, short cutting through the farmer's field to get to the swimming pool on a hot day, yanking king snakes out from under rail ties, or the summer- age 11- when I slept out almost every night under the stars on a tarpaulin stretched out across the thick grassy hillsides beyond our street- these are the memories of my youth that have followed me.

When I was 8 years old my father purchased my first tent, a two-poled primary colored nylon A-Frame pup tent. This was monumental, as I had spent the first years of my life on Governor's Island, NYC on the Hudson River overlooking the Manhattan skyline- camping out just wasn't a thing kids did in the city, rather riding elevators and subways with mom and dad were more the norm. However, with A-frame tent in hand and the will and determination that only an 8 year old boy could possess, I was determined to spend my first night out in a tent a mere 6 ft. from the front door of our house with book in hand, Fischer Price flashlight, Ninja Turtle sleeping bag, and 'Eddy' the bear of whom I was becoming increasingly disinterested with along for the journey.

The rain drops didn't begin to fall right away, it was at some point well after my regularly scheduled bedtime when I heard the first 'pitter patter' of droplets strike my humble little pup tent. At that point my father peeked his head out from behind the screen door and encouraged me to come inside and try again another night, but I knew even at 8 that I had to prove to them both that I would do just fine on my own. Quickly, water began to let loose from the dark sky, the very dark night I was slightly hesitant to peer out into from under my pocket of security. It's still amazing how a little inclement weather can get the best of us sometimes. Waking up the next morning having weathered the "storm", I fondly remember the sun smiling down on my tent walls as I unzipped my sleeping bag, a welcomed presence in the world of a victorious 8 year old boy having just spent an evening convincing himself that every single bump in the night was either a bear or a mountain lion.

All that long winded backstory to simply say I'm fortunate to begin sharing outdoor experiences with my two young children ages 2 and 3, whether this evolves into a multi-day backpacking trip when they're ready, or simply means getting out and scraping my knees with them at the playground, being outdoors extends the baton to them to begin developing their own memories and hopefully I can facilitate their outdoor encounters until they're ready to forge their own.

Two weeks ago I took my kiddos out for their first blustery overnight car camp to Aguirre Springs, waking up with them next to me in their vibrant colored sleeping bags had me grinning from ear to ear for the better half of the morning. I eagerly sought out affirmation from them to gauge if they enjoyed the new experience, the photographs I believe speak volumes. All is well.

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Grilled fajitas weren't enough to distract Addison from the presence of S'Mores

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Joel slept through every gust of wind that ripped through camp. My champ.

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I'm usually the one running in the morning before work watching the sun come up, on this morning I was more enamored with my daughters rising smile.

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"Daddy, I want to go camping and see the moon"

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Typical Joel on an atypical morning for him.

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If Addison had it her way, S'Mores for breakfast would be a regular occasion

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I learned that a short one mile hike can be quite enjoyable when in good company.

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Teaching her hands new things.

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The outdoors are rewarding and edifying when it's shared with someone else, when the purpose extends beyond ourselves.

Past write-ups, trip reports, and ramblings:

Waist High: Wandering the Deep Canyons and Lonely Mesas of the Gila

Guadalupe Mountains National Park \"Fast and Light Overnight in West Texas High Country\"

Gila West: Seeking Enchantment in the Land of the Mogollon

Can't Stand the Heat? Run to the Hills!

Deadman Peaks 50- Ultramarathon on the Continental Divide Trail, Cuba, NM

Desert Wasteland? - White Mountain Wilderness, NM, Three Rivers Canyon Trail, 12/30-12/31/10

Edited by Eugeneius on 03/27/2011 01:10:47 MDT.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Quality Time on 03/27/2011 00:41:06 MDT Print View

Thanks for sharing these great pictures, Eugene. You have beautiful children!

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Fantastic on 03/27/2011 00:46:49 MDT Print View

You've got two beautiful children! Congratulations on showing them a world that is not all machinery, dirty streets, and acrid politics. Hopefully they take these experiences into their adult life as you have, so fondly remembering your New York pup tent. With all the technology, the world seems so small and connected. I'm just glad that there are parents still showing their children that the world is much larger and special than the cities, iPhones, and video games would lead them to believe.

I too was blessed with a family that gave me opportunities to see the outdoors. I went camping a lot as a kid (at local just-outside-the-city campgrounds, but I didn't know the difference then; it was the outdoors to me). My parents have said that we went camping a lot because they were too poor to do much else with us. No big vacations, no crazy trips. But even retrospectively, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I firmly believe that I can learn just as much about the world by sitting near a brook on a sunny morning in the wild as I can in a week in a big city.

Not like you need my approval whatsoever to begin with... :) while I obviously don't know you personally, your posts and participation here at BPL over the last two years lead me to believe that you'll be a wonderful father to your children, and the opportunities you're sharing with them will definitely be positive factors in who they grow up to be.

Again, congratulations!

Edited by T.L. on 03/27/2011 01:02:42 MDT.

danny chough
(puffdc) - F

Locale: Republic of Boulder
AWESOME!!! on 03/27/2011 00:54:30 MDT Print View

Awesome!!!

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Excellent! on 03/27/2011 01:06:09 MDT Print View

What a delight! You have incredibly cute kids, and they are just the right age to begin enjoying the outdoors!

Way to go, Dad!

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
wow on 03/27/2011 15:38:45 MDT Print View

What beautiful children! How fun to explore with them. Thanks for sharing

Philip Delvoie
(PhilipD) - MLife

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Quality Time on 03/27/2011 15:51:42 MDT Print View

Thanks for sharing Eugene. You have a beautiful family. Great to get the kids interested, and most importantly enjoying the outdoors at an early age.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Quality Time - Aguirre Springs on 03/27/2011 16:00:21 MDT Print View

Aquirre Springs is great at this time of year, ... good call, Eugene.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Quality Time on 03/27/2011 16:02:12 MDT Print View

Eugene, that was very nice of you to share. Awesome!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Quality Time on 03/27/2011 16:19:44 MDT Print View

Hi Eugene

Yeah, way to go. Good stuff.

When do you introduce them to MYOG alcohol stoves? :-)

Cheers

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Quality Time on 03/27/2011 18:07:50 MDT Print View

Eugene,

I don't think I've had a smile so wide in a long time, your story and pictures of your beautiful children had me smiling with my whole head! Thanks so much for sharing.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Quality Time on 03/28/2011 11:27:18 MDT Print View

Eugene,

Beautiful family you have there and your children are so lucky to have you as their father.

Hope that the experiences you give them today makes for a life long love of the outdoors.

Also glad to see that you have put links for your prior trips at the end of the report, so that others can share in your past adventures.

-Tony

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Quality Time on 03/28/2011 13:04:16 MDT Print View

That is too cool. Really makes me regret wasting so opportunities when my children were that age.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Great on 03/28/2011 14:03:38 MDT Print View

That was great Eugene. You even had the world's best back country beer, Modus Hoperandi, in one pic! And speaking of MYOG alcohol stoves:

ska stoves

Edited by rlnunix on 03/28/2011 14:07:22 MDT.

Ryan Krause
(rmkrause)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Way awesome on 03/28/2011 20:49:04 MDT Print View

Awesome pics - That's great you've got your kids out there and hopefully these early experiences help shape them and stick with them always.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Quality Time on 03/28/2011 21:05:34 MDT Print View

Cute kids. I'm sure they'll cherish photos of that camping trip with Dad!