When I was a kid – in the middle of July, my dad would pack us all into the station wagon and drive through the night to Colorado. Air conditioning was strictly prohibited because it was hard on the engine (which I think is an urban legend he just made up because he is part lizard), thus we would roll down the windows and proceed to blast ourselves with hot air until we got to the mountains. We stuck to the seats. We listened to the Royals on a low roar the whole time, to keep dad awake.
It’s possible we had to pee in a coffee can because stopping the car signaled weakness. I dunno. I might have blocked that memory.
Anyhow, after an hour or so, I would start too look like this:
It’s ok. It was the 80’s. I could rock the fluffy hair.
By the time we actually arrived at the sweet cool quiet of the mountains, it was an oasis. The pine-scented majesty all around me would fill my soul and soothe my seat-burned thighs.
And so, because my life is awesome, I recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Jack Steward and Colton Smith, the hosts of Daytime Emmy Award-winning series Rock the Park:
Rock the Park showcases America’s national parks as nature enthusiasts and hosts Jack Steward and Colton Smith venture off the beaten path to explore some of the most awe-inspiring places on earth. In this series, the two best friends venture into some of the most awe-inspiring locations, treating us with great views, great advice, and great adventures for us to view and, perhaps, plan for our families this summer.
My family has continued the tradition of summer vacations in the mountains, albeit minus the station wagon and its sticky seats. We avid hikers, even my littles. Our boys, ages six and seven, have enthusiasm for all things mountain and adventure-y, so I had lots of questions for Jack and Colton about how to best enjoy our national park experiences.
Here are a few of my questions and Jack and Colton’s helpful responses:
Me: What are your favorite family hike memories when you were growing up?
Jack: My favorite hiking memory with my family was our trek up Rendezvous Mountain in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The mountain has an aerial tram that takes people up to the summit and then back down. As an ambitious eight-year-old, I decided that I wanted to climb to the top! So it was settled, we would all hike the 7 miles to the summit and take the tram down. Our hike turned out to be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding experiences I had ever had in my life. All of our heels had blisters and we barely packed enough water. It was really tough! Once we made it to the summit, it opened me up to the endless possibilities that nature provides. We had so much fun that we continue the tradition of hiking up to the summit anytime we’re in Jackson Hole.
Me: I am so grateful for more family entertainment for my kids to view – we are in LOVE w/ all shows about nature (hi there, Wild Kratts) – can you explain briefly why you wanted to create a show that is “family friendly”?
Colton: For me the national parks changed my life. I believe they can do just that for so many others. By creating a family friendly show, it allows us to spread that message to not only adults but children. As we know, children can be pretty impressionable, and if our show can make an impression on a young child- that nature is something they need to explore- I believe one day a profound love of nature can be produced. Our goal is not only to entertain but to educate and inspire. We wanted our show to be family friendly because that’s what our national parks are. They’re for everyone. We want to make sure our show is for everyone as well.
Me: We got a new pet this year – our dog, Hosmer. (Named after Eric Hosmer of the Royals, of course.) Do you have any Do’s and Don’ts for dog lovers who want to take their pets on hikes? We encountered many dogs while hiking, some off leash, and wondered if you had any opinions or advice about this.
Colton: I too got a new pet this year! His name is Junior and he loves to run, and I mean run. As much as I’d love to let him of the leash, I would advise against it. Dogs can be quite curious, and there are a lot of predators in nature. The last thing anybody wants is their dog running out of the woods with a black bear on their tail!
Both Jack and Colton are “Find Your Park” ambassadors, and, as Jack describes it, this is “an invitation to open up your life to the enrichment of nature, history and pride for our country that the national parks provide in abundance.” I was so impressed with these two. Their enthusiasm and love for our nation’s beautiful national parks is endearing, and I love that they are creating intelligent, thoughtful, and trustworthy entertainment that the whole family can watch.
The show is a real treat, and I hope you get a chance to Rock the Park with these two this summer. Click below to see how these two can inspire you to “Find Your Park” and, perhaps, seek your own happy horizon.
“We are curious people, always seeking what lies beyond the horizon.”
Rock the Park airs every weekend on ABC stations, check your local listings!