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The Sunday Morning Chillax: 5-Year-Old Catches His First Steelhead

first fish with dad

No doubt about it, it's for stories like this one that I started Consider it a place to explore the various perspectives on what's it like to be a parent who, as in this example, takes a boy fly fishing for the first time — dad gets his long-awaited chance to show his minion one of the finest things that makes his heart tick the way it does. To many of us dads, this kind of passage is a bigger deal than we may let on . . .

The Only Maternity Clothes I Saved: Mountain Mama Tops

mountain mama maternity movement tank top

After having a baby in September, one of my first postpartum activities celebrations was stashing away my pile of maternity clothes in a great big storage bin. No, I couldn't exactly fit back into my regular clothes, I just wanted out of the maternity garb. Even though months earlier it was fun shopping for, wearing, and being congratulated in the maternity outfits, the majority of fun has a shelf life of just about 30 weeks . . .

This Is Not How You Teach a Child to Ski

learn-to-ski 001

In parenthood, man, I know I've made more mistakes than I care to count or admit. That's the nature of parenting — it's full-speed in the dark without instructions, and we're all going to have some regrets here and there. So casting judgement at other parents and their mistakes that unfortunately get caught on video and posted to the merciless court of the internet ought to come also with a moral to the story. Some of you might want to hang the anonymous dad in this video for sending his grom down a slope that's far too steep . . .

Gallery: 2012 Was a Good Year

2012 brought all kinds of delights and hilarious disasters behind the scenes around here. Here's a gallery of photos I hope you'll enjoy as I look at the pictures and events that shaped the year. Click the thumbnails, or scroll through using the arrows under the main image. Descriptions are at the bottom. Enjoy.


Stuck: Sonora, Mexico

Oh, what would we do without Wil? Would anything funny ever happen again? On the last morning of a pleasant road trip along the Sea of Cortez coast in Mexico, we chose to drive the sandy beach for several miles to get to the next town. It was one of those happy mornings with the windows down and five vehicles crusing in a line. I was leading the pack, came to this suspect mudhole and decided to get out before trying to drive through it. That's when Wil pulled up with his 37" tall macho man tires and just drove in. The dude got stuck. He got out, we chatted for a sec about what to do, which was one thing only: hook up at least one winch and send off some prayers. He had his wife, Wendy, two kids and a dog inside waiting. He killed me, though, when he said, "Yeah. Wendy's kinda pissed now."

To You and Yours: Here Comes 2013

Stephens family 2012

So, good people out there, another year is slipping away, and let her go we must.

Earlier tonight my wife and I struggled with our 5-year-old over the usual. No, no more sweets tonight, kiddo. Brush your teeth. Now please. It's bedtime. And it went around and around in various forms of gentle voices and good old fashoined hollaring. You've been through it I'm sure. And like us, I bet you paused and said to one another, "How the heck did we get here? This time at night we used to be at the climbing gym with friends." Or whatever, the concept is the point here: sometimes we feel like we used to be interesting, now we're parents — people who find no finer joy than children finally getting to bed.

It's both surreal and okay.

Next week we're going to gather some friends and their kids. We'll drive 350 miles south of the border and down 60 some miles of washboard dirt road to the coast on the Sea of Cortez, light a campfire and share our dreams, goals and hopes with one another. We'll each light a sky lantern and cast it into the ink of the night sky.

One of my wishes will be for you good people who actually read this blog. It's been great to have you along, and flattering to see the comments and rising number of visitors.

Happy new year to you, from me and mine.

sky lanterns
By Takeaway (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Here We Go: Teaching a Child to Ride a Bike

Though parenthood is a lifelong affair, each stage asserts its own lessons in despair, patience, happiness, and how to sign big checks with a smile. Depends. Some events are rites of passage, too. For instance, we're giving our 5-year-old daughter, Chloe, her first two-wheeled funmobile next week. Yep, she's getting a bike for Christmas, a real one with air in the tires, a chain, a basket up front, and a helmet. And I'm going to teach her how to ride the thing.

OMG, I'm going to have to teach her how to ride the thing . . .

5 Things You Need to Know About Portable 12v Fridge/Freezers

Engel fridge, ARB fridge, cooler, filled with food for a camping trip

We're four years into ownership of a 12v refrigerator, specifically an Engel MT35, and there's no shortage of questions about it from our readers who've never seen such a critter. The majority, of course, wonder what the downsides are. Is it really worth while for camping and adventure road trips? Won't it kill your battery? What's wrong with a cooler and ice? Can it really keep popsicles frozen?

Well, read on.

Photo of the Day: Hurry, It's A Little Drippy

Little girl camping holding messy smores

You need another picture of s'mores like you need a hole in your head. Or, what the heck, maybe not. What do I know? So let's do it. My daughter and I have taken an annual camping trip just the two of us the last two years — yeah, kind of odd to declare that an annual tradition, but the sweetie is just 5 years old. Not a bad ratio. Both times we drove up into the mountains two hours from home, swam in the lake, made a tree swing, and ate like mom wasn't watching.

Because she wasn't . . .

Infographic: Hiking The Beautiful USA


Did you know? There are 11 epic hiking trails in the U.S. on the list of National Scenic Trails, trails of exceptional and unparalleled beauty managed by the National Park Service. These are the must-dos if you're the sort who enjoys the work, pain, and rewards of walking on a beautiful trail in a wild place.

Click on through to see the whole thing . . .

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