Father’s Day Reflections: How My Dad Gave Me The Gift Of The Outdoors

The joy of outdoor adventures, and the desire to get out and explore, is an inherited trait for many of us nature-lovers, likely from an instrumental person like our dad. With Father’s Day just around the corner, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on how dads’ can positively impact our lives and passions.

Fathers are one of the first people we learn to trust in this world, and have a huge influence on the path we choose to take in life including, for some of us, our career path.

We asked our Marketing Manager, Hollie, to give us a peek into her relationship with her dad. Here’s her story:

My favorite memories with my Dad.

That’s a tough one! There are so many awesome memories with my dad. My Mom, siblings and I were lucky enough to tag along on a few of my dad’s business trips around the world. Traveling with a family of five is fairly similar to a traveling circus, but I think he secretly enjoyed the madness of making sure we all made it onto each train, plane and automobile (with a few close calls).  

Some of my most vivid childhood memories were during the years my dad worked at Mountain Hardwear. Because of his connections in the outdoor industry, I met several athletes on our trips--people that I have come to know as industry legends. From climbing with the late Ueli Steck (world renowned climber) in Switzerland, to shaking hands with Ed Viesturs (one of the first mountaineers to climb all 14 eight-thousand meter peaks without supplemental oxygen), my dad and I shared some experiences that are invaluable to me.

I am my Dad’s daughter.

My dad and I are true followers of what we’re passionate about. And for both of us, that passion is the outdoors. There’s nothing more healing, or more satisfying, than being out in nature. Dad and I both have a passion for, and a mission to, encourage people to get outside, and not only explore new places and activities, but also teach others to appreciate and respect the environment around them. We both found companies that hold that belief as a core value, which is a quality my dad and I find essential in life.

Shared hobbies and pastimes.

Skiing is the number one thing my dad and I share. If we could, we would spend every weekend up on the mountain (Mt. Bachelor being our favorite--and also in our backyard!). Some of the best weekends we’ve had together include nights spent up at Bachelor with my parents in their RV, and catching the first and last chair of the day. I'd say a close second would be a mid-summer brewskie out on the porch with my dad.

Nicknames, nostalgia, and respect.

When I was little my Dad gave me the nickname of ‘pumpkin’. I’m assuming that one came from my flaming red locks and chubby cheeks...just a guess. Regardless, it stuck--at least for a few years.

But aside from giving me an amazing nickname, my dad has played a crucial role in my life, and has taught me so much of what shaped me into who I am today.

For one, his work-ethic is incredible. I don’t think I’ve met someone that works as hard as my dad does. He loves the outdoor industry, and inspires people to not only love and respect the outdoors, but also work to be the best they can be. What influenced me greatly as a kid was that my dad never succumbed to a career that didn’t feed his soul. He’s willing to take risks, and expresses his goals and passions to everyone he meets, which has allowed him to become a fearless leader in the outdoor industry.

How my Dad influenced my career choice.

His influence began way before I came into this world. It all started when my parents met at Adventure 16. My dad was working there at the time, and my mom convinced him to teach her how to climb (even though it was her least favorite activity). The year I was born, my dad had the genius idea to start this little company called Mountain Hardwear.

Even though having your first child and launching a start-up--in the same year--can have its challenges, over the next few years my dad still managed to make time to introduce me to every outdoor activity known to man. I was up on skis before I could walk (ok, maybe I was toddling), I was more familiar with camping in a tent than with my own crib, and dehydrated meals were preferred over cheerios any day. Seeing how much he loved his work, and growing up around this incredible industry, I don’t think I would have been happy with any other career path.

--Hollie Wallenfels, E-Commerce Marketing Manager, Cairn


Whether your dad has inspired your career path, your passion for the outdoors or your love for watching football and BBQing on Sunday's, show him you love and appreciate him this Father’s Day. Spoil him with the gift of outdoor inspiration and a monthly subscription to Cairn!

How has your dad inspired you? Share with us on our Facebook or Instagram page!