My father and stepmom were river rats, and from a very early age, they introduced me to the mighty rivers of the Southwest.
Many summers we would have more than one trip down the San Juan, and as I got a bit older, I was able to bring friends, girlfriends, buddies to experience this world well off the beaten path. By the time I left for college, I was guiding trips with my university outdoors club on the river that I had explored and contemplated so many times.
We would scramble the side canyons, swim the rapids, jockey for how many skips we could get from that flat rock. There were also many quiet times – moments in the dying sunset where my dad and I would sit and stare at the campfire, contemplating growing up and growing older. I have grainy photos of us sitting on the beach in ratty camp chairs, with a Coors between our legs, just he and I – we were both younger then.
Fast forward to today.
Over the past year, I have been working with film maker Forest Woodward and author Brendan Leonard to bring Forest’s story of his Dad, a 1970’s-era kayaker in the Grand Canyon, to life on the big screen.
Check it out here:
The Important Places was released in partnership with NRS and Chacos. It won the Most Inspiring Film award at the 2015 5Point Film Festival, and was an Official Selection for this year’s MountainFilm Festival in Telluride.
This heartfelt story pulled me back to the San Juan and the connection that this river creates between my father and me.
Now that my Dad is in his mid-70s, the intersection of these two stories reminds me so much of the special times with my dad and makes me reflect on all of the important places and people I have been lucky to have.
Take a few minutes and watch this amazing piece of work, and think about the important places that connect our hearts, reminding us of those connections that are so vital to each and every one of us.
Then share your story with us. Tell us who helped you remember the value in protecting these places.