Today I hiked with my parents out to one of my favorite places in the Green River Gorge. A deep river gorge created by timeless processes and intermixed with short human stories; both created by the flow of water through stone. It is times like this, as I get older and realize that my parents won't be around forever, that I drink in the companionship and snap a photo in my mind for later on when they won't be there to follow me bravely down the trail.
Mind you, I wasn't trying to shorten the aging process by convincing them to hike the "short" distance to a beautiful spot on the river. I was just enticing them to push a little farther than their current comfort zone to check in on adventure and see if they still enjoyed it.
My conservation a values and love of the outdoors are a direct result of my childhood. While friend's parents were flying them off to Disney Land, my parents were driving us up into the mountains to go backpacking and swimming in icy cold mountain lakes and streams. Instead of cotton candy and soda pop we were eating freeze dried back country food out of a bag and slurping up cold spring water from our canteens.
I still have never been to Disney Land but I've been all over the world in some of the most beautiful places because I learned the skills and have the desire to adventure into the wilderness.
Now I was driving my parents off into a river gorge to find their inner child. This time it was my turn to help them down the steep rocky sections of the trail...kind of.
My dad is 83 years old and he still boulder hopped along the shoreline to a big flat rock in the middle of the river at the end of a languid summer swimming hole. If it had been warmer he still probably would have jumped in for a swim. The sound of the river is like the rhythm of piano keys that flowed under his fingers and filled our house with sound.
My mom, who is a little less of a daredevil, sat on the shoreline painting. She has been a northwest plein air painter almost my entire life. She used to carry an easel and paints on her hikes into the backcountry.
Between their love of the outdoors and the arts I've been introduced to a rich life full of possibilities, artistry, and optimism. I'm older now and realize the value of the gifts they have given me.
As far as whether they enjoyed the adventure I took them on today. They did. Although my mom said it was a little more than a "short" walk and she would definitely be feeling it the next day.
Do you want to learn more on where to explore in the Green River Gorge state parks and elsewhere?
Visit: Washington State Parks