A Forced Hurrah

IMG_1350I’m sure we’ve all struggled (at some time or another) to get someone to do what we think is in their best interest. Heck, as a parent, that’s practically our job description! Continue after the break, to hear about my latest bout, where I drugged my kids. I’ll drag them to the library, camping, sight-seeing… Ugh! Can’t a kid just be left alone to their Wi-Fi?… No.

I had my kids during the week, so we started with a trip to the library. I moved my membership, since I hadn’t visited since my move the summer before. TBear picked a graphic novel to go with The Hobbit, while Queen Marie selected a pair of more grown-up novels. Of course, they didn’t WANT to go to the library, IMG_1355but it wasn’t as boring as they imagined…Throughout the week, I’d walk home at lunch, and if their chores weren’t done (to my satisfaction) the internet got turned off! While this is fairly normal at my place, they tested the boundaries, and got shutdown twice, so it was fortunate they had some reading material.

With my 10-hour days, we even managed a game of Empire Builder. This 1985 predecessor of the ‘Ticket to Ride’ series is more complex and fun (I think), as you get to plan out any number of routes across the country. We updated its crayons with dry-erase, fine-tipped markers. These are much easier to apply and remove, but are also susceptible to smudging.

IMG_1358’Twas late July and the kids were expected to spend most of August with the in-laws 400 miles away. Now was our best chance. Birdy (my girlfriend) had been wanting to go camping, and we thought it a good way for the kids to spend time with each other, while also seeing how we “meshed” as a large group of seven. I was working a 4 x 10-hour day schedule that week, so we’d get an extra day, all the pieces were in place (according to our adult minds).

My kids had a different perspective. Apparently, after our rather disastrous vacation, their Mom had also taken them camping, and they were all “camped out.” They tried all week to convince me to forego our plans, giving me the impression they’d rather pull their own teeth than go on yet another camping trip. Though there wasn’t kicking and screaming, it was rather close. IMG_1357

Our destination (Friday) was the Vigne campground in the Wallowa Whitman National Forest. This 7-spot campground is situated in a lush riparian zone alongside a river, with it’s own hand-pump well! Granted, the sites are small and simple, but could accommodate a small trailer. Memory told me that the river was fast and treacherous for kids, but due to the drought, it was merely a trickle.

Setting up camp went pretty smooth, and the baby got introduced to this new ‘play pen’ concept. Each family shared its own tent, with my kids doing the work on ours. Cheeseburgers and corn on the cob were roasted for dinner, whilst smores & scones were deployed for desert. This was another teaching moment for me, as most folks are IMG_1385surprised by our family’s  “scones.”

The kids had designated a spot in the tent for me. Little did I know that they stuck me with the most in-hospitable laying location. That night I got little sleep, and awoke to a full menu of aches and pains. I started the fire right away, as I knew everyone would want the heat. Additionally, my kids were planning on cooking their own breakfast using their new mess kits. They only got as far as the sausage, though, as I was cranking out pancakes on the griddle for them. (Thanks, Mom, for leaving your griddle behind!)IMG_1419

In addition to normal camp activity of food prep, clean-up, chopping wood, etc., we were often visited by the area’s rabbits. (I think the thorny elder bushes give them extra protection from predators, who likely avoid a human campground anyway.) Later, we did some arts ‘n’ crafts. Princess had a bracelet kit she had been dying to try out, and I learned some a para-chord technique from my book. I past out in the hammock for a bit, trying to make up for the IMG_1439night before.

The rest of the day, the kids played around, skipping rocks & splashing in the stream, etc. We did foil dinners that night, with peach cobbler for desert. That night, we re-organized the sleeping arrangements. Queen Marie took the hammock, which allowed me a better laying spot. It had started to sprinkle, so I split some extra wood, and put things under cover just-in-case.

Things were certainly wet in the morning, and Birdy was slightly disappointed in not getting the chance to judge the severity of my snoring. Some kids had their allotted bacon in peril, as they were reluctant to leave their sleeping bags. In the end everyone got the breakfast that was due them. We packed up quickly, as the days heated up so fast, plus the kids were eager to go back to civilization & Netflix.IMG_1496 However, the grown-ups made an unpopular, executive decision to go see a sight. Buckhorn overlook was only 10 miles away!

This is, by far, my favorite view in Wallowa County. There’s a fire lookout tower (but without the tower) placed where you can see other canyons feeding into the Hells Canyon. The view is breath-taking, with the Seven Devils of Idaho on one side, and the Wallowa Mountains visible on the other. TBear and I had been here before, but Queen Marie and the others hadn’t.

Here, we had a tailgate-style PB&J picnic, complete with Cheetos. We also checked out the local GeoCache, and introduced the new kids to the concept. I think they were excited to see more. We drove home by the Zumwalt Prairie, in time to pack & relax before driving them home.

IMG_1484A week later, Queen Marie called from 400 miles away….

“Hey Dad?”


“Could you send me some pictures of Buckhorn to show everyone?”

“Sure,” I thought, “I’d be happy to let you show off pictures of that awful trip, where I drug you out into the wilderness!” I guess I didn’t have to wait 20 years for her to appreciate it after all…

Until next time, enjoy the pics!


One response to “A Forced Hurrah

  1. Great pictures. I loved that shot in the library! been thinking about books for the kids. Wish I knew what they would enjoy, the big ones that is. I discovered a new series, that I thought your son might like, apparently wildly popular, but the one I picked up at the Goodwill turned out to be the 6th in a series. Ooops, can’t read the last one before the others. I’ve been laid up healing for a few days, good thing I like purple, I’m showing lots of it. I think I’ll be able to drive again tomorrow. Glad to see you all having fun together like a family. Looked like a nice campground. The kids are very lucky to have such memory building times. You know it and they will too. You’re a good dad and hopefully you’ll have much more opportunity to use those skills. Love you, Mom

    Date: Tue, 18 Aug 2015 01:52:26 +0000 To: sjsmith2757@hotmail.com

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