Annual Father-Son Wilderness Trip

February means two things for me: Valentine’s Day & my annual camping trip with my dad. My wife and I take turns planning Valentine’s Day and this is her year. So all I have to do is relax and enjoy my trip with my dad.

I look forward to this trip all year long. It’s such a great opportunity to relax, enjoy nature, unplug from the chaos of normal life and enjoy time with my dad and whoever else of our friends might have been able to come too.

We camp out in a remote part of the Florida panhandle along the Apalachicola River. We bring a boat and we do a little fishing, do a little hunting, do a little hiking and retell stories we’ve all heard a dozen times. It’s something we’ve been doing for over 20 years. 

It’s really a unique place. It’s very isolated from typical civilization. We’re fortunate if we get phone reception. It feels almost like we’ve stepped back it time. Everything feels so old and untouched. There are old abandoned cabins with outhouses speckled around the area.

Another odd feature is the sand dunes in the middle of the woods. Years ago the Amy Corp of Engineers dredged the river to allow barges to pass through and they dumped the sand into the woods. So you can hike along in the middle of the woods and walk up to a 30 foot tall sand dune that’s 20 or more acres. It’s a really bizarre thing to walk up to in the middle of the woods.

It’s never been the same trip twice. Some years the river is up high and we can explore more places by boat, some years the water is low and we can walk around more. This year the river is high and 3 days after we got here it rose 4 more feet. That rise made the road we travel in and out on impassible by car. So as I’m writing this on my phone we are currently stranded here. We’re not in any real danger. We have food, water and a boat but our vehicles are stranded here until the water recedes. By the looks of it, our trip might be a day or two longer than we had originally planned for. Like I said, no trip is ever the same.

This is a story we’ll tell over and over: “remember that time the river rose and we got stranded!”

It’s an interesting shift for me when I get to come out here with my dad. I get to be a son again. All day long back home I am the dad and the husband. Five kids look to me for guidance and direction, I’m the oldest and the wisest. Out here, I’m almost always the youngest.

One day, my kids will be old enough and I’ll bring them out here too. I look forward to that day when I get to share this adventure with them. But for right now and the next few years at least, I’ll just enjoy being the son.

Now if that river would just go down I’ll be in great shape. Here’s the road out:

Have a great week. Any votes for Top Dad Blogger are always appreciated.

UPDATE: We made it out alive! 7 Days after the water first became impassible we were finally able to make it back out! I can’t wait until next year.

8 thoughts on “Annual Father-Son Wilderness Trip”

  1. In my family the men went to what was called “Stag camp”, they always had a great time fishing, swimming and card playing. They always had stories to tell. Male bonding I suppose. Us girls had the annual fall sale in downtown Columbus where bargins were sought and Christmas presents were bought!

    Enjoy this time with your Dad. I hope that we get to hear stories that include your kids in the future! Those memories you are making will be cherished in the future.

  2. Craziness!!! If you’re not out by Friday morning I’m calling in the coast guard. This will certainly be a story to tell for years to come and you got some good pictures to go along with it.

  3. Oh wow, what a wonderful trip. It really must be a special time to be able to be the “kid” again. I know these are memories with your father that you will most definitely hold dear. It sounds extraordinary! Thanks so much for sharing <3

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