Photo of The Day

Photo of the Day: Canoeing With Dad

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canoeing dad kids verde river arizona

The hot springs we were marinating in seep out of the rocks above this mellow river by 30 feet. We woke up the morning after a heavy, soggy storm that started the afternoon before and never stopped until just before dawn. It was our first camp out with our new daughter, and it went as expected. That is, rather sleepless. An evening with a baby is about the same at home as it is in a tent, just less comfortable. Way less comfortable — then add ceaseless rain and a leaky tent. So when the sun rose and revealed a spotless blue sky, we were recharged and ready for a fresh start.

We strapped on some backpacks and Chacos, I threaded the baby into the Bjorn carrier, and we hiked up river for an hour. We had to ford the river at just one narrow part, and Chloe my 5 year old nearly about wigged out at the proposition when she saw it. The water went to my waist, which is like her chin, and it was chilly and moving. She troopered up, though, as my wife clutched her hand and pulled her through the deepest part. When we finally found the hot springs, we had the place to ourselves and a gentle wind carrying 75-degree sunshine down the canyon walls .

I hardly heard the scanty sounds of a paddle dipping into water. But I turned toward the river and looked down. There they were, two canoes, two dads, two boys, and a mountain of dry bags. I waved and said hi. It was like family adventure was multiplying before my eyes.

"Hey guys."

"Good morning," they replied.

Without much else to say, but wanting to communicate my stoke, I said as calmly as I could, "Looking good down there. Been on the river long?"

"Three days, actually."

And my gears started spinning a little harder. I'm still at the stage where I'm carrying my kids, or at least one of them, and the other I have to sweet-talk to make progress on the trail. Hell, or just to get out the door sometimes. It wasn't envy I felt as I saw the two canoes float by — well, maybe just a bit. But it was also hope.

Comments   

 
Aaron
+3 / 0
# Aaron 2012-11-16 06:00
I meant to ask you at Sierra Expeditions about when your first outing with new baby would be? :) Glad to hear it went as planned. Was nice meeting you guys!
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Mark Stephens
0 / 0
# Mark Stephens 2012-11-21 17:42
Definitely! I enjoy putting a face to the name.
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