In my 20s I went scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef, biked the entirety of the Big Island of Hawaii, white-water rafted down an uncharted river in British Columbia, and backpacked in the Mojave Desert. Then we had our first child and my outdoor gear sat collecting dust. Going stir crazy one day, I called my dad, who gave me wise advice: Bring your son along. Next thing I knew, I was cycling the hills of Vermont with Jake on the back of the bike.
You don’t have to give up your adventures once you have children. Indeed, kids thrive on the excitement and spontaneity of each outdoor challenge, and it doesn’t hurt that many of the finer outdoor activities are located in some of the most exquisite scenery on the planet. Now I travel with Jake, 17, and my daughter, Melanie, 15, as much as possible, and they’re the ones teaching me how to improve in these sports. Here are some of our favorite jaunts: