Dads are unique. There is no one way to define what makes up your typical Dad. It’s hard to explain, something that a label can’t be put on. It’s one of those things that just kind of happens. Once you see it or do it, you know it was totally something that Dad would do. Dads are always looking for ways to become the center of attention, and take any opportunity they can to prove that they’ve “still got it”. Here in Maine, there are plenty of things that speak Dad. I’m going to introduce to you the Top 5 activities that simply define the Dad.
5 – Hiking
Hiking to some is a recreational activity. Some hardos claim it’s a sport. Others see it as a way to get outside and get some fresh air. To Dad, it is a combination of all three. Sure there’s nothing like getting outside and getting some exercise on a Sunday morning with the family, but a regular ole hike is just too mundane for most dads.
Dads always have a way of making things interesting. They are, after all, what keeps this world spinning. When hiking through the woods, Dads sometimes become little kids again. Picking up rocks & sticks, claiming that he’s just “clearing the trail”. Dads suddenly become tree experts in the forest, pointing out every single tree and telling all of those around its name and respective family. At some point, Dad is going to challenge somebody to a race, just to prove that he’s “still got it”. Let’s not forget the most important part of the hike. You’ve finally reached the top of the mountain or hill, working hard and building up a little sweat. You reach for you water bottle as Dad looks out over the valley and into the distance. As you go for a sip, you’re interrupted by a loud “Hey I can see my house from here!”. Hiking is a glorious, breath-taking activity with all sorts of surprises, especially when Dad is around.
4 – Canoeing
Canoeing is one of the world’s most simple activities. If you’ve got a paddle, some hand-eye coordination, a good sense of humor, you’re all set for a perfect day out on the water. Anywhere that water can go, a canoe can go as well. And anywhere a canoe can go, Dad thinks he can go too.
There’s a sense of manliness that comes with being in a canoe. Being out in the middle of a body of water with full (or no) control of what’s going on. Paddling out to the middle of the lake, Dad might think he can swim to shore, threatening to ditch the canoe and everything in it. As Dad leans towards one side of the canoe, he jumps back into his seat and goes “I’m only kidding” with a corny smile on his face. Canoes are the ultimate Dad outdoor boat, and has endless possibilities. Think about it, canoes can hold beer, your dog, and a fishing pole… all at the same time! If that doesn’t speak Dad, I’m not sure what does.
3 – Camping
Ah yes, Friday is here. Work is over, the weekend has begun, and Dad wants to go for a nice weekend trip of camping. This weekend has been talked about for weeks of course. Dad has been hyping up the kids about the great values of nature, and emphasizing the importance of having a nice “peaceful” weekend of family time.
Although this weekend has been talked about for a long time, nobody has really prepared for it. Thursday night the kids remember that after school tomorrow they’re off into the wilderness for the weekend, and they go and pack their bags. Dad on the other hand, overly-confident in his abilities, thinks he’s going to pack everything at about 3pm on Friday, and that it’ll only take 10 minutes or so. He frantically runs around the garage and house trying to scrounge up all of the camping gear he’ll think they’ll need, and then hops in the car with maybe an extra shirt and a couple of pairs of socks, locked, loaded & ready to go.
You finally get to the campsite, first things first Dad tries to get a campfire going, only to realize he’s out of matches, and has to make a quick run to the local gas station to get a cheap lighter. As the fire warms up, Dad goes to set up the family-sized tent, which normally should be a 10 minute job or so. However, Dad gets easily frustrated after the first minor inconvenience, and begins to panic. After finagling and fidgeting with the tent components for about 20 minutes, Dad finally scraps the project and starts over. Soon, after much frustration and a few curse words, Dad calms down, comes to his senses, and gets the tent semi-properly set up.
2 – Grilling
Along with #3, what else does camping mean for Dad? Camping provides the perfect opportunity for Dad to show up his spectacular grilling skills. Most Dads have a general sense of knowing how to cook food, but grilling is the only form of cooking they’ll be proud to admit to. There’s just something to grilling that every Dad loves. Whether it’s the presence of the smell of charcoal or propane, or if it’s just simply getting those perfect grill marks searing into the meats, or maybe even perfectly timing the flip. Whatever that satisfying factor is for your Dad, we don’t judge.
There is a difference, however, between grill masters and grill whacksters. No matter how good, or bad, Dads grilling is, he’s sure to claim it’s “some of the best around”. Who knows, Dad could actually have a really good sense of what’s going on, and perfectly cook every person’s steak to their liking. Sadly, more often than not, somebody is probably getting a halfcocked or one and a half cooked steak, with very little difference in between. Let’s not forget, it wouldn’t be a Dad’s day on the grill if there wasn’t some good ole hockey puck burgers or split dogs, which Dad will claim is a “slot for the condiments”!
1 – Rafting
Easily the most Dad driven activity out there has got to be whitewater rafting. Only the manliest of men take on such an activity as whitewater rafting. Since every Dad thinks they are a manly man, they kill to go whitewater rafting. Rafting brings out the best, and worst, of Dad, which makes it the perfect Dad activity!
Unlike camping, Dad is overly prepared for this rafting trip. He wakes up early, probably 5 or 6am, just to get up and whip up a big breakfast, and “get fired up” for the day. As the cabin reeks of bacon and burnt coffee, he eagerly wakes the family up to eat, and tries to hurry along the process so they can be 45 minutes early for check-in time. Halfway there, Dad realizes he left his towel hanging over the chair at the kitchen table, and pulls a quick uey, frantically panicking about being late all the way back to the cabin. Once Dad finally takes a breath and checks the time, he is finally ready to have some serious fun. Like a kid in a candy shop, Dad is eager the whole bus ride up to the dam. He looks out the window and blurts “moose!”, thinking he’s being funny by fooling everyone.
You finally reach the top of the dam, as Dad nudges the closest person and whispers “dam”. Down on the river you go, Dad jumps for the front seat, thinking he’s going to “lead this puppy to the promise land”. The first splash of cold water hits his face, and he’s feeling as alive as he ever has, untimely yelling with pure excitement. After crashing through the largest rapid on the river, Dad looks around in a panic, going “where’s the beer raft?”. Back at base, Dad is stoked about the day on the river, and ends his day with a cold beer, and a noogie for his son’s head.