Down the Trail
My son Ben is going on a backpacking trip to the Porcupine Mountains tomorrow with a friend and his brother and father. After a single night in a tent, they are hiking in about 5 miles and staying in a "cabin" shelter that has no electricity or running water. It's basically just a roof over your head. It's a few steps above the tent, especially given as cold as it will be.
I have to say I'm a little jealous. My wife reminded me that only two weeks ago I was fishing up north, so would have a hard time justifying another trip. At the same time, I like the thought of a trip where you're not hiking X number of miles per day, but rather a single, long hike to a cabin. Furthermore, it'd be a chance to get one more snowless (relatively) adventure in before winter.
Needless to say, the trip was planned they'll go off tomorrow. But tonight as I helped Ben pack, it occurred to me how big/mature he's getting. One of his packing techniques involved rolling his shirt and underwear into a tube which was pulled over by his wool socks. I asked him where he learned that trick and he said that he'd found it on the web.
Then when I started to pack his pack he showed me a diagram of how to pack a pack that he'd also found online. And while I was impressed that he'd done his research - on his own, nonetheless - I was also felt a little twinge of nostalgia, because it appears he's hit another stage of independence that I didn't expect and kind of resent a little, honestly.
Now, I know we're supposed to be happy when our kids start asserting their independence, but I ---guess I was hoping it wouldn't come on so strong. With our daughter out of the house, I need just a little more time to be "needed," and this wasn't helping.
One of the things I allude to in my book Dirty Shirt is that by exposing our kids to the outdoors and wilderness, we instill a love and respect of it to them. The fact that he has been looking forward to this "survival trip" for months, shows me that I think I've succeeded. Add to that his ability to plan and pack for himself and it tells me that he's growing up in a hurry.
My wife told me a funny related story to all of this that proves the fact again, She said when she told Sarah that Ben was going on a 3 night campout/backpack trip in the Porcupine Mountains, Sarah said, "Ugh, I'm jealous!"
It seems they've both got the outdoors bug.