If you don’t already know, I’m a single (IE divorced) Dad. I was fortunate enough to work out an agreement with the kids’ Mom that I get them all weekends except one per month. This gives her a chance to do weekend stuff with them, and allows me one weekend to do grown-up things. This weekend I had a few things in store to be sure I didn’t get idle. In the end, my ambition was a bit much for my body….
It all started on a gorgeous Friday. I had worked four 10-hour days and had the day off. The Cub Scout Day camp is next weekend, and as I am in charge of a few things, I decided to make a trip to Camp Wallowa (the local Boy Scout Camp) to finalize a few details.
The main task was to determine the destination and route of our hike. The dilemma was to find something challenging enough for the Webelos (10-11 years old) yet not too hard for the Tigers (6-7 years old). In areas with larger populations, the groups would be big enough for multiple hikes of varying intensity, but alas, that’s not the case.
The BSA camp is nestled between two rivers bordering the Eagle Cap Wilderness, which has numerous trails. In fact, it lied just below a trail that I had taken the family on when my son was only 3. Sure, he fell asleep on my shoulders on the return trip, but that means he should be ready for it now, right? We shall see.
Anyway, the caretaker had said there were a couple trails to choose from, so I headed up there to see what I could find. I used my GPS and topo. map to guess the easiest route from the camp, and sure enough, there was a trail. I sang from the camp to Chief Joseph Trail #1803, as this area was known to have bear and cougar encounters, and I do not yet own a sidearm to protect myself. Once I reached the trail (17 arduous, vertical minutes later) I was startled by a passerby. Unfortunately, my fight-or-flight response let out a huge, aggressive “AAAaaahhhhh!” at the poor lady walking her dog. After explaining my concerns and edginess, she was very pleasant and said she heard me singing quite some time ago. I blushed, apologized, and continued on my way.
I reached Bear-Creek Falls in a total of 34 minutes, taking my time trying to pretend my son were with me. When I returned, I mapped out some other points of interest around the camp. (Hope to make a different post on that.) I was tired, had consumed most my water & snacks, and was headed for the truck, which was fortunately down hill.
On my way I encountered the caretaker. After hearing about my destination, he informed me that was the LONG way to the falls, and offered to walk me up the other trail. Not wanting to betray his kindness, I accepted. Although the trail was much less used, and much shorter, my legs complained quite fervently. Oh well, I needed the exercise. I just hope it didn’t affect my plans for tomorrow…
Saturday I got up and had a nice bacon, egg, & toast breakfast, then started packing my gear. Today was the day we had been waiting for. Two months ago my friends and I found a weekend where no one was on call, & I would be without kids, so we could go to war… with paintball markers.
The plan was that a group from Baker County was to join us, doubling our usual group. We ventured into the woods, but no extras were able to make it. (*ARGH*) Ultimately, there were 5 of us, and though ALL my markers broke down (except one of my favorites I accidently left at home) we still had a lot of fun. We played 5 rounds, long and short, with (it seemed to me) more mosquitos in the air than paintballs. They certainly left me more welts.
Part-way through the day I was ducking & weaving through the underbrush (really getting my commando fix) when I ripped my pants. At lunch (which was provided by my friend & co-worker who brought his BBQ) since I didn’t bring spare pants (and there was a lady playing) I tied my camo shirt around my waist. I called it my kilt, and did “Ma best impArsOnashuN ov a scO-ish lad, dOOin’ his DOOOh-ee.” I played a few more rounds extending my predicament from belly to back.
While our last outing had destroyed my ego and left me thinking I had utterly lost my touch, this day was rather successful. I did my teams proud, and really started to embrace the advantages of a fully-automatic marker. For example, getting to use up the rest of my old, sweaty paint, or just making people run from you. One round was “Predator Vs Alien.” I’ll spare you the details, but I was turned into an Alien and helped hunt down my former team-mates.
Ah, two good days of exercise. Sunday my ‘sleep-in’ treat lasted a little too long, and I didn’t even wake until church was already over. A little shocked, I got up and decided I should be productive. One rifle cleaned, and three loads of laundry later, I went to a friend’s BBQ potluck Birthday party. I ate, drank, played some yard games, and am now retiring. Time for another week of work.
Next weekend I fully intend to out-do this one!