When I was 10 years old, my Dad and I went on our first “just the two of us” road trip, up to Yosemite for a few nights before picking up my brother at Scout camp at Bass Lake. I remember that trip so well, mostly the Yosemite part, and I can trace my love of travel and my start as my Dad’s travel buddy back to that trip.
I went back to Bass Lake today, 50 years later, because its only about a 20 minute drive from my weekend campsite. I couldn’t find the old scout camp, not that anything man-made would look even vaguely the same after all those years. The lake still looks the same, though, and the view felt familiar in a very vague way as did the drive down to it.
I thought about cycles and circles and how much I missed my Dad today. I stood on the shore of the lake and looked out at it for a long time, thinking about us there back then and all the years and trips we took after that. Maine, Quebec, Vancouver Island, roadside geology of Arizona, Boston, Seattle — we definitely got around, my Dad and me.
Dads reading this: you never know what will spark your kids. Just keep trying, and someday, something will click in your daughter and she’ll have found a lifelong passion. That’s what happened to me, even though my Dad never realized it until I told him so in a birthday card several years ago. He remembered the trip, he just never knew it was such a life-changing event for me. I didn’t know it at the time, either, it took a few decades to come to fruition but he planted the seeds in that August road trip.
This was a photo my Dad took of me at Bass Lake with my first-ever camera around my neck. There you go, my two lifelong obsessions: water and photography.
Fifty years later, I’m still in love with both of them. So here is this year’s edition of me and my current favorite camera in front of Bass Lake.
I don’t have a photo of my Dad at Bass Lake, but I have one I did take at Yosemite. My Dad was 41 years old in this photo.
And the snap below is probably one that only my siblings will appreciate: the Plymouth Fury that was our hot ride and the old canvas tent that our family used whenever we went camping. Let’s just say the Fury was a cool car and the less said about that tent, the better!
Miss you, Dad, today and always. Thanks for taking me on that road trip.