No One Ever Mentioned The Word “Walk” … Or “Miles”

Feb 9, 2011 by

It is time for the Eldest Son of Thunder’s first hike and camp out of the year.

I am so proud of him. Heading off into the wilderness, exploring God’s creation, learning about outdoor cooking, fire building, using a color-coded tent and dealing with snoring tent mates.

And the age-old lesson regarding hungry and angry bears – you only have to run faster than one other person.

Why yes I signed up to watch my son on his little adventure. I look forward to spending some quality time with the other dads bonding as we ride around in ATV four-wheelers helping out any struggling scouts.  You know, just giving them a little ride till they get their breath back and can get back to hiking.

At some point, I will learn my lesson. Obviously, I had a mind-melt and forgot about our recent cave jaunt.

Read the fine print; and listen, very, very closely.  

Apparently, the ATV’s are out. We, the dads that is, will actually hike as well. And apparently “hiking” means “walking.” And apparently this “walking” is more than, say, to my mailbox. I say that because after I signed up, I distinctly heard the word “miles.”

Oh, and then we dads need to bring our own food, tent, sleeping bag, clothes, water, toilet paper, flashlights, gloves, shoes, lanterns, rain gear, stoves, pots, fuel, plates, eating utensils, bowls, etc., etc., etc.

I assure you there was nothing in the brochure about this. And for the record, what is the point of all these Sherpas, I mean Scouts, anyway other than to tote our gear?

Another “apparently” is that apparently we are to put all the above-mentioned items into a pack, which we will carry on our backs. Hence, a new vocabulary word, to wit, “backpack.”

Being a generous sort, I offered to bring my microwave, just asked for a little help carrying it. This benevolent gesture was met with blank stares; and a few snickers from, oh, let’s be polite and call them “woodsy” types.

Fine, I will, to borrow a phrase from French Queen Marie Antoinette, say, “let them eat pine cone soup.” Now what Miss Antoinette actually said was “let them eat cake.” That’s why I said I was “borrowing” the phrase.

And in reality, there’s no real proof Miss Frenchie actually said the above-mentioned phrase. It’s sort of an urban legend. Learn more here. Aren’t you glad you’re reading this blog? Learn something new every time.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. So you think I even brought up the portable hot tub? That would be a “no.”

Fast forward to last night where I’m helping Eldest Son pack his backpack, that new term I mentioned earlier. I hit all the spots – Backpacker Magazine, REI, and several other “in-the-know” backpacking sites.

We had that baby packed perfectly, light stuff here, heavy stuff here, put this in that to save space, I mean the whole 11, or is it nine, yards.

And then I helped Eldest Son put on the backpack.

Footnote, but in the middle of the blog: Do you remember that old TV commercial about those toys – “weebles wobble but they don’t fall down?” Here’s the whole thing: Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down, Weebles are around, Don’t fall down, Weeble wobble, weeble wobble, weeble wobble, weeble wobble.”

Stuck in your head now isn’t it? Sorry. There is a ringtone just in case you get, I don’t know, desperate or something. End of Footnote, located in the middle of the blog.

Well, let’s just say Eldest Son “weebled” and then he “wobbled” and I can assure you he most certainly “fell down.”

I am partly to blame, as he mimics my genes and is slightly on the thin side; plus the pack probably weighed more than he does. However, I can assure you said weeble and falling down had nothing to do with how the pack was packed. That was packperfect, or some such word.

Anyway, for some reason this led to a rather loud outburst of laughter from yours truly; who was quickly reprimanded by the Little Black Dress for hurting Eldest Son’s feelings. Said reprimand did not happen, of course, until the LBD quit laughing herself.

Said laughing on her part is totally denied, with threats of future repercussions if I ever mention in a blog  she MIGHT have slightly snickered, if at all. Yeah, okay.

Fortunately, the Scouts work together. By this I mean they share the load: one scout will carry the tent poles and rain fly, the other the tent; one will carry the pots; another the food; and so on.

That means the Eldest Son’s backpack is considerably less than trying to one-man it all. I still notice a very slight weeble, and a wee wobble, but I think he’s good to go.

I, on the other hand, must carry all my own gear.  I, on the other hand, can’t even lift the concrete blocks, also known as a backpack. I, on the other hand, already hurt.

But by golly we are ready to go and there is no way some 80-pound kid is going to show me up.  There’s that whole issue of family honor and the code to think about.

And pride.

I still think the dads should have help with their gear. I’d again like to mention all the Sherpas, sorry, did it again, I meant Scouts, that are going. Helping to carry all, or at least a vast majority of a dad’s gear, should be rewarded with some community service hours or something.

The lesson: read the fine print; listen, very, very carefully.

And I started to, listen that is, especially after learning how “hiking” translates to “walking.”

I say this because I distinctly heard talk of two possible  hikes – one involving words like “Patagonia” and “llamas” and “fall to your death” for the older/experienced kids; the other words like “English countryside”, “tea and crumpets” for the younger ones.

As a dad with two other Sons of Thunder younger than Eldest – okay, I know that’s rather obvious, the younger than the oldest part, but anyway – I’ve already put my name in to help the younger kids on the shorter trail, if we end up splitting the hikes.

I just want to do my part. I’m in tune with those younger kids having some myself so I can really help them. The length has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Scout dad honor.







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