Ben and Treefrog had quite the adventure during their time away. About a mile and a quarter on to the trail they were originally following, a ranger met them. He was patrolling the trail to let folks know that sporadic wildfires had been spotted. The ranger said they had the option of staying, but Ben felt that wasn't the safest option with a first-time, five year old backpacker. So, they came home that night, tired and disappointed. After G-Man went to bed, Ben made some phone calls and found another spot - secluded, along a river, not too far in; perfect for our first time backpacker. The morning dawned and Ben let Treefrog know that all hope was not lost, but they would go to a different spot for a night. I had a quick errand to run (more about that later) and then they would leave again (no packing necessary since they were still packed from the previous attempt!!).
We had borrowed my father-in-law's truck for me to drive while the boys were out with our van. I just jumped in the truck for my errand and was gone about a half hour. When I got back, I noticed that our van's front tire was flat. Not quite un-driveable flat, but undeniably flat nonetheless. One more errand was added to the morning's happenings, and about an hour later, the boys were off again.
They went on a trail up on Mt. Hood (but not any of the trails on Mt. Hood - the ones where people almost die, just one that follows the Salmon River). A day spent walking along the river, splashing and playing, and setting up camp made for two exhausted boys. Ben said he and Treefrog were both asleep by 10pm. Ben was up and enjoying the sounds of the wilderness at 5:30. Treefrog joined him around 6:30 and promptly asked if it was time to go home yet (my little guy still likes a warm wake-up which is not necessarily afforded in the wilderness of Oregon). They made breakfast, packed and headed home.
Our dinner conversation centered around their trip and I think it was quite a success for Treefrog and Ben. Treefrog is all smiles when he talks about playing in the river and hiking. He tells of finding an injured bat and packing out an M & M that they found along the trail (because part of Leave No Trace's philosophy is to, well, leave no trace. Even if the trace was left by someone else, you have a duty to take care of it).
I am so glad that Ben got to do this with Treefrog. I can't wait (and neither can Fish!) for when he repeats this with Fish. We are undecided if Ben will take Pillbug or if she and I will get to go out together. Either way, I love the outdoors and the opportunity to instill that love in our kids.