Passing the Torch: A Dad Reflects on Three Generations of Outdoorsmen
By: Nick Brooks
There are three generations of outdoorsmen in the picture below. So much of what I know and love about the outdoors is because of what my father first shared with me. And now I have the pleasure of doing the same with my boys. Does it get any better? “Dad-ing” in the outdoors is a legacy that I am proud of.
Meet “Grandpa Chris”
This guy grew up in Tuskegee, Alabama. His mom (my grandmother) was the den leader of his Boy Scout pack. He grew up fishing, hiking, canoeing, and riding his horse, Hero. He even earned his Eagle Scout rank. As an adult, he climbed, sailed, skied, off-roaded, white-water kayaked, backpacked, guided outdoor trips, and the list goes on. He is the ultimate outdoorsman. He’s older now, and not really out adventuring anymore. But I still learn so much from him with every conversation. And, of course, I haven’t forgotten all he shared with my brothers and me. Did I mention I was a triplet?
Triplets Gone Wild
Out of the three of us, I probably get outside the most these days, but I grew up with two killer brothers and we all loved getting out there and running amuck in the wild. Growing up with two brothers and built-in best friends is something I am very thankful for. Many of my firsts in the outdoors were alongside these two jokers. Growing up in the South has its own special charm for sure. But unlike on the West Coast, growing up, you didn’t see a lot of brown kids hiking, camping, horseback riding, skiing, or sailing. And yet, because I had my brothers, I never felt out of place. They were my first crew, and they are why today, having a solid brotherhood to do life in the outdoors with is so very important to me.
Forging My Own Trail
Now, I have the honor of being a dad to two amazing (albeit WILD & CRAZY) boys, and it brings me such joy to introduce them to everything the great outdoors has to offer. When my eldest son was turning four, I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday. He quickly replied, “I wanna go backpacking like you!”
I’ll never forget that simple two-mile hike in, setting up camp by the river and watching the wonder in his eyes as he took everything in. Watching my boys encounter the outdoor world and all they have gained from it has fueled my passion for providing this opportunity to other kids of color in my community. It’s why I am a Scoutmaster and remain committed to making sure our Scouts enjoy a wide variety of outdoor experiences and grow to be good stewards of the environment—whether they earn Eagle Rank or not. I preach “leave no trace” principles to my kiddos and my scouts, but I do hope I leave my mark on the outdoors by leading the next generation of outdoorsmen into the wild.
Nick Brooks is a Gossamer Gear Brand Ambassador and the man behind Outdoor Gear and Beer.