Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father-Daughter Camping Trips

My family instituted a yearly father-daughter camping trip when I was 11 and my sister was 7 years old.  I am pretty sure of our ages because we had just moved to Northern Virginia for the first time.   I think the trips had two purposes.  First, my Dad would get some bonding time with his girls.  Second, my Mom would get some time to herself.

One of the trips we took was a camping trip in the Shenandoah Mountains.  It was probably a long weekend during the summer.  We went on hiking trips and attended a campfire program by one of the rangers.  I also remember a lot of fun on a bouldering hike.  We went on the same hike years later and the boulders that seemed so large the first time looked small.

Another trip I remember was to the Northern Neck area of Virginia.  This is a peninsula to the east of Fredericksburg, Virginia.  We visited the plantation in Popes Creek where George Washington was born.  The home was very typical of mansions from the time period.  There was a large hallway down the middle of the house that led from front to back.  There were rooms off to each side of the hallway.  We also drove out to the nearby Potomac River.  It is very wide in this section as it is close to the Chesapeake Bay.

Some father-daughter trips were just me and my dad.  While I was in high school, we lived in Novato, California.  One of the trips we took was a weekend to Yosemite.  Our trip was almost thwarted before it began.  My mom had taken our van to run an errand before we left.  She had car trouble and called us from a gas station.  Thankfully, there was a car parts place close to where she pulled over.  My dad and I met her there and switched cars.  We stayed and replaced the bad hoses.

We drove that afternoon towards Yosemite and stayed at a place just outside the park limits.  Very early in the morning we drove into the park and hit the trail head at 5:30 in the morning.  Our objective was the top of Half Dome.  We lost count of the many switchbacks above Little Yosemite Valley.  In the saddle at the bottom of the cables was a large pile of gloves that others had left.  You tried some on until you found ones that fit but they probably did not match.  The final push up the cables was exhilarating and scary all at the same time.  The steel cables run up the slick side of Half Dome.  About every 15 feet there is a 2 x 4 bolted to the rock to give you something to climb against.  The view from the top was worth every vertical foot we had climbed.  I was nervous about how high we were so when I went to look over the edge I crawled on my hands and knees.  Man is it a long way down!!  We enjoyed a nice picnic lunch before heading back down. The hike back down went quickly and we were back in the car about 3 pm for the drive home to the Bay Area.  Before we left the park, there was one necessary stop.  I had to get a "I Made It To The Top" shirt from the Yosemite store!

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