Man, go read DAX MONTANA'S
blog about his recent camping trip. I really liked the "Daddy in a Lawn Chair and Kid by the Campfire" picture. I've taken my boy camping since he was LESS than a year old and he loves it. Teach 'em YOUNG, Dax.
I was going to leave a lengthy comment on his page, but he has so many pictures there that the "comments" box froze up, so I'll go ahead and POST what I wanted to say for EVERYBODY to read.
I have been an avid backpacker since I was in my 20's. I don't walk as far or as fast anymore, but I still love the challenge of hiking into the forest with everything I need to survive strapped in a sack on my back. Ride "Shank's Mule" up and down those mountains and you'll grow a true appreciation for the Indians who lived there first and the Daniel Boones and other mountain men who came later. I drink from the springs the way they did (find water coming right out of the rocks, squeezed by Mama Nature's contractions, and you'll never go wrong), I pick wild berries and herbs and I chew spearmint-tasting birch-bark and Mountain Tea when I can find it.
I love it. I've never felt so isolated and so together at the same time as when I've hunkered down through a violent thunderstorm in the middle of nowhere, then watched the ensuing fog roll through the trees like the spirits of ancient ghosts, still on the hunt that killed them. I am not a religious man but... damn! That'll make you feel in touch with something.
As DAX did, I named my son "Quinton" because he is the fifth son in my family line. (Plus, it's a goddam GOOD Southern name anyway.) I want him to experience the same feelings I've had in the woods. Son, someday GO THERE and DO THAT! Daddy'll teach you, and he wouldn't lie to you about what you'll discover.
You don't learn it from reading books about it. That helps, but being there is the only real way to know.
I once was part of a "teamwork exercise" where eight of us were supposed to pretend that we were on a rafting trip down a cold, snow-melt white-water river where we crashed upon some rocks, killed our tour-guide and were left stranded on a sand bar. We were given a handout with all the facts about injuries to the party, temperature, wind, weather forecast and distance from rescue. We were asked to fill out a 1-through-20 list of "WHAT TO DO" in order of importance, then meet with the "team" and prove that eight heads are better than one when it comes to solving a problem.
I told my "team" at the beginning, "I've actually DONE this kinda stuff before, and here are my answers." A woman named Lisa, whose closest experience with the great outdoors was a tanning booth, immediately began to bitch about ME taking over leadership of the team as SHE attempted to assume leadership of the team through sheer decibel-level.
You know me, folks, if you read this blog. I am as mild-mannered as Clark Kent and I always hide my light under a bushel. I listened to her idiot raving for a few minutes and I said, "Well, there's an option I would take in this situation that's not on this list."
"Oh, yeah? What's that?" bitched Lisa.
"I would drown your squawking, dumb ass in a minute before you killed us all, you flying dingbat! SHUTTHEFUCKUP!"
The team was confused, which showed me why Hillary Clinton is so popular in some circles. People will listen to a crazy woman just because they believe it's a sensitive, politically-correct thing to do. Decibels count. I finally said, "Listen to her if you want to. In real life, I would leave you all behind and get out of there myself if you want to follow to her. You've seen MY answers. Decide."
The lower the score, the better you did according to survival experts. My team made a 15 on the test, which still beat every other team in the exercise. They listened to some of what I said, but "compromised" with Lisa for the rest of the answers.
My individual score was a 3. Lisa has hated me ever since. Her individual score was in the "You're DEAD, dumbass!" range.
I learned that stuff in the woods.
As Graham Nash said, "Teach Your Children Well."
Dax, don't ever stop taking the kids camping. Teach them well.