Tag Archives: Water

Camping with my girls

A few years ago, I took my oldest son camping at a state campground on the beach along the Washington coast.  We enjoyed our time together.  After returning, my older three daughters wanted to know when I was planning to take them for a weekend camping trip.  I was a bit surprised they wanted to but I was up for it.  Camping is something we have enjoyed as a family over the years and something I hoped and my children would want to do, so I was extremely happy to know my girls wanted to go.  For the last year, we have had it on the calendar and planning on this weekend.

Most of the state campgrounds in the PACNW (Pacific Northwest) fill up fast.  Early in the year, you have to call and make reservations.  You can plan to be on hold anywhere up to an hour to place your reservations.  It is a bit on the insane side.  Most places are booked by April for the entire summer, so if you want one you better be up and going the day the phone lines open.  I chose not to do this but take a risk.  I actually took my son in September after school was back in session so it was not a problem.  I did call and check to see if I might get lucky but there was not anything available.

I knew my Aunt owns property up near this area and she was fine with letting us use her property.  The property is strictly that property, neighbors on either side have developed their property, but her property has a lot that could be done with it still.  She told me she would inform her neighbors of our coming.  The night before we leave she calls to tell me when speaking with her neighbors they said they’ve seen a male black bear roaming around on her property and reminded me of it having no facilities (bathrooms/showers).  She was not sure if I still wanted to go, but I assured her we would be fine.  With my West Coast Hipster Dad Ninja Skills and growing up in Montana, I was not afraid of any bears bothering us.

Friday morning we loaded up the van, placed my I pod on shuffle and took off.  The drive takes around 2 hours and I had planned to stop along the way and do some site seeing and show my daughters different sites.  We stopped and visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory, which is always a cool place to visit, get some great samples of cheese, and eat some delicious ice cream.  Continuing north up the coast, stopping at one of our family favorite places – Mo’s Chowder House in Cannon Beach, the weather was gorgeous and we sat outside right off the beach and ate a delicious lunch.  We got to see a guy surf using a very large kite he had attached to himself.  After lunch, I drove until we made it to our destination.

We got camp set up, unfortunately, my girls forgot to pack their camping chairs, and there was not anything to use for a fire pit.  We drove back into town, purchased a shovel and a few other supplies, went back to our site and I dug a very large pit in the ground.  As we explored a bit, we found a couple of larger trees that were down and had been cut, these were used as our chairs, just like I remembered watching Grizzly Adams used.  I got the fire going, we had dinner, and the girls went to bed.  I began thinking about the black bear and that took me to a scene from the movie “Never Cry Wolf” so I marked our territory and stayed up for awhile with shovel in hand.  Having camped out in the forest before I know it is not wise to leave food out as it not only can attract bears but other little friends, so I cleaned up camp, locked everything back up in our van and spend some time just being quiet and talking to God.

The next day I got up, made the girl’s breakfast, we got dressed and headed out for a day of adventure.  We explored Oysterville and up walking out on the bogs.  I always find it is most beautiful in the early morning to walk around there as the sun comes up on the bay.  Walking around we had some great conversations and commented on how it reminded them of Sarah Plain and Tall.

We continued exploring other little towns went on a walk on a trail to the “Metal Tree” which is where Lewis and Clark ended their expedition and marks the spot of that once they had reached the West Coast.  The tree is completely metal and stands about 8 feet tall.  Next up was Long Beach and exploring the little town, doing some shopping and checking out all the little stores along the main street.

We made our way to the state park where my son and I had stayed.  It has two Lighthouses, one on each end of the park that I wanted to show my daughters.  We drove up to the first area and as I drove up I began seeing signs that you were now required to purchase a pass to park their.  I could see the Park Ranger engaged in a heated discussion with some very frustrated women and I saw other folks walking towards the sign to pay for the parking.  As I was walking back to our van a man was standing in a parking space, another man was in his car, and trying to park in the space, only he was not patient enough to wait for the guy to move and bumped into him.  They began yelling at each other and the man in the car continued to try to inch his way forward.  The man standing in the spot had some friends with him who ran over and started yelling at the guy in the car and some guy leaned inside the window of the car.  At this point, the Park Ranger who was near my van talking to one of the upset women, dropped his clipboard, yelled he was a police officer, and ran over to the situation.  As he approached, he pulled out his Billy club and began hitting the guy who was leaning into the car in his calf area.  He ordered him to lie down on the ground with his hands behind his head, to which the guy complied.  The Park Ranger began yelling at everyone to back up and was radioing for backup.  It was at this time I decided I was not going to stick around for any more drama, I got in my van and left.  As we drove away, back up began arriving.

We ended up going to the main park entrance, purchased a park pass, and then ventured onto the other lighthouse.  We got to go on a great hike and explore the area and then hiked down to a small cove.  This cove is one of the absolute best areas all along the coast.  I could spend hours just sitting there.  As we made our way back from the hike and to our van, we decided to head to the main beach area in the campground.  We ate lunch, swam and played around for quite a few areas and then made our way back to the lighthouse we had not gotten to see.  Thankfully, there was no drama this time and we got to go check it out.  We left and headed back to our campsite.

We ate dinner, hung out, had S’mores and the girls went to bed.  In the morning, we packed up and headed out.  On our way back, we crossed the 4-mile Astoria Bridge, which can be a bit nerve-racking to drive across.  My oldest daughter kept her eyes close the entire time.  Once in Astoria we went to the Astoria Column, climbed all the way to the top, and looked out over the entire town.  Once we made it down, we began looking for the house filmed in the movie Goonies; the address I found and plugged into my GPS did not take us to it, but rather a museum.  Although we did not find the house, we continued on our way back home.  As we drove home, I asked my daughters what they wanted to do next year and they all agreed they would prefer to go to the beach house.  So much for the love of camping being passed on.

Reflecting back over the weekend with my girls reminded me of a couple of things –

1 – I love these girls with all my heart and I would go to any level to protect and take care of them and I always will.

2 Even though I can protect them and as a loving father should, it is limited and I have to trust God on the rest.

3 – Somehow I feel safer in my house protecting them, than out in the woods camping.

4 – Driving along the coast I was reminded of many camping trips we had taken on the coast over the years, but when I asked my oldest if she remembered our trips, she couldn’t recall them.

5 – The coast was one of the main reasons I moved to Oregon, it has always rejuvenated me.

6 – Apparently I have watched a lot of movies and they tie into my being outdoors

7 – There is nothing like getting away from life, disconnecting, and focusing on those things that mean the most to you.


Real Authentic Men – Trustworthy

We both stood there on the edge looking down. The sun was out and it was hot. Not just the sort of hot it gets in the summer, but really sweaty, scorching hot. We left my house early in the morning and headed down to the river. We were playing around in the water when we noticed the large rock cliff above us. First one to the top is king of the mountain. We both raced to be the first one to the top. I got there first and only with a few seconds to spare as my friend jumped up off his last step on the rocky ledge. The view from the top was amazing and it felt like we could see the countryside. We were sweating from the heat and running up the trail to the top of the rocks that overlooked the water. “Are you scared”? I asked as we both looked down. “No, not at all, I’m not afraid, I can do it” was his response. He stepped forward, looked down and I wondered is he really going to do this. We both just stood their silent as I could tell he was trying to talk himself into jumping down below. Come on man, just do it. I stepped closer to the edge and now saw what he saw. Suddenly the enormous gad that divided us between the water and the ground beneath our feet. I was scared and wanted to back down, but I wasn’t about to do that in front of my friend. We both just stood there looking and not really saying anything. Somehow I managed to get the words out of my mouth and still to this day I don’t know what it was that made me say them. “Do you trust me?” I asked. He said, “Yes”. I reached over and grabbed his hand; we counted 1, 2, 3. The next moment all we could feel was the wind against our skin as we were heading down into the water and suddenly the cold water was enveloping us. We shot out of the water screaming and throwing our arms in the air. We had gone to the top, jumped and were still alive.

Ever had any experiences like that? I am sure at some point in your life you have been right there looking over the ledge, to scared to back out, but not really wanting to jump into the water either. Wishing someone was there to give you a hand, reach out to you and say, “Do you trust me? I am here to help get your through this.” As a kid growing up in Montana I was brought to this point many times. Whenever a challenge to jump from something high, ride our bikes off some huge jump we made or walk out on the ice covering the water, I was up for the challenge. We never let on we were scared. We were to cool to admit that and admit I could have used someone who would stand up and offer to help hold my hand. I just stood their many times talking myself into it and finally going for it. I am glad that I did, because I think that it helped me develop some self-confidence.

For most of my life going back to 5th or 6th grade, I have always been the person people felt they could confide in. Peers and friends would come up to me and say, “Can I tell you something?” “You have to promise not to say a word.” “Ok” was my response and I would listen to what they had to say and keep it to myself. I have heard lots and lots of stories expressing the inner hurts, pains, joys and happiness because people felt like they could trust me with what they were saying. Now there have been occasions where I blew it and shared information when I shouldn’t have, but for the most part, all of that information is still locked inside of me and will go with me to my grave.

I don’t feel like I there is something particularly interesting about me. Well I am a pretty hip, cool person, but really I am just an ordinary guy, so I am always amazed that people feel safe and trust me with the secrets they can’t or won’t share with others. Actually knowing that people feel that way about me does make me feel good, but I try to stay humble. I feel lucky to know that people trust me in that way.

Trust is not an easy thing and as someone who has survived being molested, I haven’t trusted most people, and it was predominantly other guys. The ones who had molested me were male cousins my age and I ended up believing that all guys would do this to me or that somehow something sexually inappropriate would happen between us. I grew up being very suspicious of other guys and always thinking they were either out to hurt me or just plain jerks. It wasn’t until I was in college things started to change. My best friend is actually the first guy who ever showed a genuine interest in me and helped me start to believe he was someone I could trust. Through hanging out and spending a lot of time together I was able to finally move past my distrust of other guys.

Now, years later, having men who have invested in my life and continually pour themselves into my life. Has allowed me to develop safe-trusting relationships with not only these men but with a multitude of other men as well. Having the ability to spend time building a relationship with another guy and allowing him to share about his life, means you have to be trustworthy. It means when he bears his sole, the things he has shared with you aren’t used against him and that you will protect his integrity no matter what. You value that man as much as you value your own life and in helping him you build a relationship built on solid trust. As men begin to get really involved in other men’s lives and get real they need the trust to be there.

When it comes to my kids I am more like a mother bear then my wife. Those are the most valuable things in my life and everything I do for them is because of the amount of love I have for them. People don’t get to be a part of my life or the life of my kids if I don’t trust you. You can be sure that if I have any doubt about you with my kids I will not even take a risk. My kids know this about me and know me well enough that they never have to question if I have their back or not. I am my kid’s biggest supporter and advocate. I am open and honest with them and have real heart to hear conversations with them so that they know they can trust me to tell me whatever is going on and I will still love and support them through it all. Even if it meant (God forbid) my daughters came and told me they were pregnant. What little brown hair I have left would suddenly turn gray the moment those words were uttered from their lips, but trusting in the relationships I have built for all these years I know we would be able to work through it.

Being able to trust another person is a big deal. Are you really willing to hand your children over to this person and trust they have your children’s best interest at heart. That’s a question many parents struggle with in many different capacities. It’s a tough one and often times we are left trusting God is protecting my child. It’s not the best part of parenting. There have been many times I have not wanted to let my kids go and do something, but they really wanted to and so in trusting they would make good choices I let them go knowing God is protecting them. Man, I am so thankful when they return to me.

Being a person who is trustworthy means you have demonstrated something pretty cool. For me it means that I trust you enough to hand my most valuable possessions over to you and you will care for it just as I would and return it to me with no harm done. As a man I want my family, friends and others to see me and say I am a trustworthy person. I have seen and know that I can trust him no matter what happens. He has proven time and time again that you can trust him. I would say that is a really true statement of myself. I have developed a trait of trustworthiness and I take that seriously.