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Sam and his family in the redwoods.
Sam and family in the redwoods.

I’ve been a father for sixteen years. While I will always feel like I’m still learning the ropes, I have loved every minute of it. In the early years every day felt like Father’s Day, with the grand welcome when I came home each night and the full update of the day’s activities at preschool. Now that I have teenagers, it’s a different story. When the calendar says we have a reason to spend the day together as a family, I make the most of it.

There is no application process, no permit, license or training required to become a father, yet for most of us it is the most consequential responsibility of our lifetime. So we learn as we go, remember the examples set by our own fathers, and put our whole hearts into doing what’s best for our children. While our list of hopes and dreams for them can be miles long, for me, my main job (and I’m only partly biased by my day job!) is getting my family outside. So on Father’s Day in my house, I won’t see any neckties or gadgets.  My present will be getting out into the redwoods as a family.

Here’s why the redwood forest has all the ingredients for the perfect Father’s Day experience:

3. There’s something for everyone. If grandparents, parents and kids are lucky enough to be spending the day together, a family needs a place that can accommodate the full spectrum of interests and abilities. A redwood park with easy trails, a picnic area, and opportunities to learn something new fits the bill. The Grove of the Old Trees  in Occidental even has trails that are stroller- and wheelchair-friendly.

2. Tradition potential. Whether you return to the same park or visit a new one each year, traditions bring a family together, creating the opportunity for everyone to look forward to their shared experience.  Every year after Thanksgiving dinner, my extended family does the same walk, and we play “Sasquatch” the whole way: it’s a high-speed race through the woods, with my nieces and nephews chasing me around the backcountry.  This Father’s Day, I might start a new tradition in the woods that isn’t quite as likely to land me flat on my back for the rest of the week!

1. The great outdoors. Home is where the heart is, but it’s also where the TV and computers are.  In the redwood forest, surrounded by beauty and far from the distractions of home, we get to enjoy each other at our best — happy, relaxed, inspired, and gathering memories that will carry us through the future. All of that, and just a little bit of World Cup action, and I’ll be happy this Father’s Day.

What are your plans for Father’s Day?  Do you have any redwoods memories with Dad?

 

Let’s keep in touch on Twitter! Follow me at @SamH4Redwoods for news and insights about redwoods and conservation.

 


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About Sam Hodder

Chief Enthusiast for the Outdoors (CEO) and Prez of Save the Redwoods League, Sam brings more than 20 years of experience in overseeing land conservation programs from the remote wilderness to the inner city.


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