Wanderlist – Outdoor Dads
On this edition of Wanderlist, TPW magazine Editor Louie Bond shares fishing and camping opportunities to enjoy with family--and especially with dad. She also talks with TPWD photographer Chase Fountain about how spending time outdoors with his daughters after a family tragedy brought them closer.
UTTS: S2E10: WANDERLIST – OUTDOOR DADS
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[MUS—FLEA THE CIRCUS]
[WATER / FISHING SOUNDS]
[NARRATION] Spending time with family outdoors creates memories that last a lifetime. And when that time’s with dad on the banks of a lake or river, fishing pole in hand, well…there’s nothing like it.
On this Wanderlist, we share stories of the healing power of nature when shared with the ones you love most, and we let you know about a couple of magical places in Texas—one large and one small—where you and your dad can cast a line or set up camp.
Stay with us.
[NARRATION] From Texas Parks and Wildlife, this is Under the Texas Sky’s Wanderlist… produced in collaboration with Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine. It’s where we highlight some of the great places to go and things to see in the Lone Star State. I’m Cecilia Nasti.
Magazine editor, Louie Bond joined me in the studio recently to talk about a Wanderlist published in the June 2019 issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine called Catch-and-Camp with Dad.
[LOUIE & CECILIA]
[LOUIE] So, here I am. I’m always trying to think about ways to incorporate holidays into the appropriate issue. So, of course, in June I’m thinking: ‘How am I going to fit Father’s Day into this issue?’ And I got to thinking about my own dad; I was daddy’s girl, and how I loved to spend every minute possible with him. And so, I thought, well, okay—you know, taking dad fishing for Father’s Day, that’s kind of normal. But what if you could extend that into a camping trip or an overnight with dad? Think: campfires, stars, s’mores, singing, stories—all these great ways to share time with dad. So, we did some research, and we came up with great suggestions of places not only to fish with dad, but to spend all weekend with him all to yourself.
[CECILIA] Well, that sounds like a better gift than the golf balls and ties that we used to give to my dad. Because, you’re actually…you’re actually… making a memory by spending time in nature with your Pops.
[LOUIE] Yeah. That’s whole premise. And those are so much more precious than gold, right? Memories…oh, they last forever…and they sustain us in hard times, which inevitably come. And that leads into—I was actually inspired by an article about a mom, actually, when I was planning this Father’s Day Wanderlist. But her husband had cancer and passed away, and there she was, determined to carry on his love of camping and his love of the outdoors and outdoor skills. And she wanted to keep sharing that with her kids. She was a little intimidated, but she just dove right in and did it anyway. And, actually, our photographer Chase Fountain was friends with her and brought me this great story about her. And then, I had a chance to talk with him earlier about this particular one. And I just wanted to share some of his feelings about doing this with his dad and then with his daughters.
[CONTRAILS IN THE CORNFIELDS]
[LOUIE & CHASE]
[LOUIE] Well, you know, I lost my dad when I was 20, but when I was younger, we had a great time going out fishing. I don’t know if he ever took my sisters, but I know he took me. I was daddy’s girl. Youngest of three. And loved my dad; so, if he got out the tackle box, I knew I was about to go have some fun. And, it was precious to me, because we were alone together, and we didn’t get that very often. I think about those times when I think about my dad. And I’m so glad that he took some time off from working two or three jobs to spend a little time alone with me out on the lake.
And, I guess, you had your dad for a bit longer than I did, but you just lost him recently. And you probably had some time to think about your time that you spent with him.
[CHASE] Oh, my gosh, yeah. Absolutely. Many of my childhood memories were going fishing with my dad and my grandfather. My grandparents lived about an hour and a half outside of Dallas in Denton County—Wise County, actually. And they lived near Lake Bridgeport. And, I have so many wonderful memories of fishing with my dad and my grandfather. We’d go crappie fishing. It seems like we’d always end up [fishing there] around Easter time. You know, we’d go up there, and you know, it just instilled so much respect for nature, wildlife. Those kinds of things are very memorable to me.
[LOUIE] It’s about a lot more than fishing, isn’t it?
[CHASE] Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s about the bonding. And, of course, you know, as I grew older and had my own children, I tried to instill those same values and experiences with my own children. As a matter of fact, after my grandfather passed away, my grandmother moved to the Wimberley area. And she lived on Cypress Creek. And my children, at a very young age, I would always walk them down to the creek and we would always go fishing. You know, try to catch little perch. You always have to make it fun and interesting when they’re little or they’ll get bored. But, uh, that was a connection we shared in nature; and we’d go on long hikes together. They’re adults now: they’re 18 and 20 years old, but they still love the outdoors. And, as a matter of fact, my oldest one just booked our camping trip; she planned it, booked it, arranged it. And we’re going uh, to Big Bend. You know, once you plant that seed at any early age, I think it sticks with them.
[LOUIE] Yeah, I can just imagine your kids carrying this on some day with their kids and planning these trips and telling the same stories that your grandpa told your dad and they told you when you went out fishing with them. It’s so much more than fishing. So much more than picnics. So much more than anything, but really spending some time together. And when you spend that time together, you find yourself talking about deeper and better things and family history stories that maybe you’ll never hear any other time.
[LOUIE] And you’ve had, you know, a situation that has really made those trips with your kids even more important. Um, do you want to talk about that a little bit?
[CHASE] Um, sure. You know, I’ve always been a very involved parent. And that was doing outdoor activities with my kids from a very little age. Three years ago this month, my wife passed away from cancer. And my children at the time were 15 and 17 years old. Which is a very tough age. Any age is touch, but those years are, in my opinion, even more so.
[LOUIE] It put pressure on you to become both parents, almost…
[CHASE] Absolutely. The bond that we already—I had already established with my children—was, uh, very important especially during that time. Because, honestly, we didn’t skip a beat doing outdoor activities with my kids. Uh, we actually became closer, and I didn’t even think that was possible.
[LOUIE] So, I know, as a photographer, um, you get to visit a lot of our state parks, a lot of which have great fishing facilities and, and um, I think you probably had the opportunities to bring your kids along when they were small?
[CHASE] Absolutely. Absolutely. And I had all the camping gear already—as well as fishing gear. For families out there that visit state parks and they don’t want to invest a lot of money in getting fishing gear…many parks if not most parks that have fishing access, have a tackle loaner program. And it’s real simple; you just go up to the state park front desk, you can check it out. You might have to fill out a form, you may have to put a deposit down, but it’s always free, and it’s a great way to get the gear, I guess, and be able to take your kids fishing.
[LOUIE] Sometimes we feel kind of rusty if we haven’t been fishing in a while, and once you get that gear, I know the fishing community is so good about, you know, anybody is going to give you advice, help you bait that hook, help you avoid trouble. And that’s kind of the fun of it, too, is your kids can see you maybe not be perfect at something, but you can both learn together and share that thrill, maybe of catching that first fish.
[CECILIA & LOUIE]
[CECILIA] Wow, Louie, thank you for sharing that conversations with Chase. I especially loved when he talked about how he and his daughters got closer by sharing outdoor experiences. Something that he didn’t think was even possible. I think that was really sweet.
[LOUIE] We hear stories all the time about the healing power of nature. They come in every different way to the magazine. We know that when families play together in nature, they’re happier, they’re healthier…and our job is really just to inspire them to do that. It’s that simple.
[NARRATION] Louie Bond has details about two great places to take dad fishing and camping when we come back, but first….
Support from Toyota allows us to bring you stories from Under the Texas Sky. Toyota has been a proud sponsor of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation since 2002, providing generous support to help the department provide outdoor programs for Texans and conserve the wildlife of the Lone Star State.
This is Under the Texas Sky’s Wanderlist from Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti…Wanderlist is a collaboration with Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine. If you have a hankering to spend quality time in the great Texas outdoors with your pops… Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine editor, Louie Bond, has a couple of fine suggestions for you from the print version of the June 2019 Wanderlist.
[LOUIE & CECILIA] There’s many choices here for all kinds of taste. We’ve included a good sampling for this one. But I’ve got two to tell you about that offer, hmm…pretty different experiences.
[CECILIA] I’m ready to hear about ‘em. Let’s go girl.
[LOUIE] Well, first we’re going to go small and intimate, and then really big. So, let’s start with Braunig Lake. It’s about 17 miles south of San Antonio, so a pretty quick jaunt from quite a few locations. And I just like the names of the creeks it’s on, Calaveres and Chupaderas. I don’t know—it sounds like great food, doesn’t it? So, you just take that quick drive to the southern edge of San Antonio, and you can fish for red drum, hybrid striped bass, channel cats. Uh, they make it easy for you with two boat ramps. Some good shoreline accesses. One thing I really love about this park is it’s uncrowded. And there’s inexpensive campsites right on the water’s edge. And there’s lots of nice big trees to shade those campsites.
And now our second place we’re going is so big. This is Amistad Reservoir. It is in Del Rio on the Rio Grande. Sixty-five thousand surface acres of water. If you look at it on the map, it just looks like a gorgeous flower blooming along the Texas border with Mexico. It’s a national recreation area, and it has five designated campgrounds—no reservations—and they rarely fill up. How great is that? There’s a rough canyon camping area—and that’s disability accessible. So, if your dad has any mobility issues, that’s going to help out a lot. There are boat ramps, cleaning stations and a marina. And large mouth bass are king in this reservoir. I know all the dads are chomping at the bit to go fish for some bass there.
[CECILIA] Basically, you’re telling us is we don’t have to go far to make memories with the ones who mean the most to us. Now, Texas is vast and is waiting for you and yours to head outside to take advantage of all it has to offer. And as you mentioned, Louie, you have more Wanderlists and stories and resources for enjoying the great Texas outdoors in the magazine archives.
[LOUIE] Yes, and we hope that you’ll check all of those out and find great places not only to take dad, but every one of your family and all of your friends.
[CECILIA] Well, until next time, remember that life is better outside. Thanks, Louie.
[LOUIE] Thanks, Cecilia.
[MUS—GOT THAT HAY FEVER]
[NARRATION] We’re done wandering for this podcast…but Louie Bond and I—or our colleague, Randall Maxwell—will be back with more fascinating things to see and places to explore in the Lone Star State.
Also, keep an eye on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Instagram account, which is @TexasParksWildlife. We’ll use it to notify you of some of the Wanderlist subjects we plan to cover in the weeks ahead and give you a chance to ask questions, some of which we’ll answer on the podcast.
Under the Texas Sky is a production of Texas Parks and Wildlife. We produce our Wanderlist series in partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine in the Media Production Studios in Austin, Texas.
Randall Maxwell does our sound design. And we get distribution and web help from Susan Griswold and Benjamin Kailing.
Stream to or download Under the Texas Sky and Under the Texas Sky’s Wanderlist wherever you get your podcasts. And please leave a review while you’re there and let us know how we’re doing and what you’d like to hear.
Until next time…keep on wandering Under the Texas Sky. I’m Cecilia Nasti.