If you are a regular reader of this column, you will know that I am a big proponent of getting kids outdoors to experience and appreciate those resources that we adults spend so much time in.
I also stress that there are always opportunities out there, even when you do not expect them. I took my own advice this weekend and boy, was it ever worth it.
Saturday afternoon I got a call from a friend who spends a lot of time on the water year-round, offering to take us out fishing on Sunday. A quick look at the weather forecast showed snow in the morning and temperatures in the 20s and 30s. It is not what you would call great fishing weather with the kids, but we had been trying to put this trip together for many, many weekends, so I told the kids we were going.
Bringing a snow shovel along on a fishing trip is not something I have had to do all that often since having kids, but the trace snow turned into several inches and it slowed down everything that morning. Getting the boat launched was fairly easy since there was no ice on the river and an empty boat ramp.
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My friend also brought his 8-year-old, so that meant we had two adults, an 8-, 10-, and 12-year-old out together in the cold. All the kids were in their snow clothes and life jackets, but more importantly, deer sausage, crackers, chips, water and an assortment of other food was available to keep everyone content during the trip.
As the dads kept the poles working, the kids enjoyed their time together playing and telling stories. When the fish would bite, the kids would take their turn reeling it in. As the fish breached the surface, all kids came running to see the “monsters” that were coming from the river. A few quick pictures and everybody was back to playing.
A day like this might sound like a lot of work with little lasting value for the kids, but I need to also share with you the results after the trip ended. First, we made a mad dash to the gas station for a potty break as my daughter was a trooper, waiting for 90 minutes from the time she let me know she needed to go. Using a bucket was not an option in her opinion, especially with all the boys around!
As soon as we got back in the truck, the requests for pictures to be sent to grandma, grandpa, uncles cousins, and their friend’s parents, began. These were the people that “needed” to see the pictures and video. For the kids, they had just “gone fishing on the river in a snowstorm” and the results were amazing in their eyes. A day later it was still the top topic of conversation, as they recalled the reactions of their friends who heard the stories at school. Overall, fun was had by all, and it only took a couple of hours out of our Sunday afternoon.
It is amazing how many lifetime memories can be made if you take a couple of hours out of your busy day to spend with your kids outdoors.
You might surprise more than just your kids.
World Outdoors columnist Jeremiah Haas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org