What began as a bedtime song for our daughter Roan, by James Taylor, has morphed into an appreciation of the adventure lifestyle we pursue as a family:
“Well the sun is surely sinking down
But the moon is slowly rising
And this old world must still be spinning ’round
And I still love you.”
We sing this as the full moon rises over a monochromatic desert landscape sitting in camp chairs within a tiny, warm bubble of campfire light. We sing while struggle up a steep skin track, close to the top, with anticipation for a fresh powder descent—what Roan calls, “Floating on a cloud!” We sing at a lunch break inspired by a field of wildflowers while hiking in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. For us, the lyrics signify the excitement of seasonal change and fine wilderness memories.
Roan is now 13, and along with traditional holidays, she also celebrates equinox and solstice. While her peers saturate Instagram, Roan marks these calendar transitions with revolving and exciting adventures. Spring flows into river trips and rock climbing; summertime brings road trips and backpacks. Her perspective is still very much about the moment, the action, and the fun. We head out the door and she is pleased.
I suppose Roan never had a chance for a normal lifestyle. We are older parents and she is an only child. My mother instructed for Outward Bound in the 60’s, and I followed her example in the 80’s. My wife Cheryl dedicated the entire decade of the 90’s to the organization. Suffice to say we include the OB motto of, “To serve, to strive, and not to yield,” in our parenting. And while the motto remains timeless, modern gear is so much better. Where we wore wool army pants and nylon ponchos, Roan has a water repellent down jacket, kid-sized internal frame backpack and a carbon fiber mountain bike. The age of proficiency has also changed. My first multi-pitch rock climb was at 18, Roan’s at 10. Such crazy potential for this next generation!
When Roan was born Cheryl’s OB mentor, Doug Mann, wisely alerted us, “Your teacher has arrived,” he said. Here’s what Roan, our next generation instructor, has to share:
What does adventure mean and why is it important to you?
To me adventure means going outside and exploring – a walk can be adventurous, or even a ramble around the backyard. As a kid much of life is an adventure! It is important because it keeps me active, connected to the people in my life, and full of love for the Earth and the beauty around me.
What do you like about road tripping with your parents?
We have a small, pop-up camper that we take with us, and I like being able to go anywhere we want and have a mini-house on the truck. I also love national parks and I always do a Junior Ranger Program to learn about each park, and buy stickers for my travel journal. It is exploring on a bigger scale than my just backyard.
How do you manage fear when rock climbing or mountain biking down a steep hill?
When I am afraid I first want to assess the activity to make sure it is something that I can do. I have a “go for it” attitude in general, and am willing to try most things as long as I feel capable. Fear comes when I don’t feel ready, but sometimes something looks so fun I just have to push myself–like the first time I jumped off the high dive.
Describe a favorite adventure memory.
Oooh, I have so many! Let’s see, last year my mom and dad and I were driving to Ouray, Colorado. It was fall and the aspens were all vibrant yellow and red. It started to snow as we were driving over the Red Mountain Pass and we got out of the car so my dad could take some pictures. I was wearing my purple Ice House Hoodie at the time and I remember hearing the snowflakes landing on my hood. I felt so protected! The next day I traversed my first Via Ferrata above Telluride. That weekend was so fun, and I remember it clearly.
As a photographer’s daughter you get to wear a lot of jackets. How does the Ice House Hoodie compare?
The Ice House Hoodie is lightweight and packs down smaller than most. Despite its small size it is still quite warm and keeps me cozy on snowy winter days. From my perspective the vertical baffles are a creative touch. Not many jackets have them so it makes for a cool design flair.
Do you have any advice for other parents wanting to introduce their children to outdoor adventuring?
I feel it is important to let the kids help with planning the itinerary. Prepare several options, and let your kids choose the idea that they like most. When I was seven, I decided to organize my own river trip. Even though my parents did most of the work I was the trip leader, planned the food, and invited my friends. I was proud because I got to be a big part of the trip. Outdoor adventures are pretty fun so it should not be too difficult!
Kennan Harvey has been living and breathing adventure photography for over 25 years. He lives “off-the-grid” with his wife and daughter in a self-built, solar powered home in the foothills of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains.