I looked back up the river to where I’d heard his voice. The cry was both excited and a little nervous. “Fish on! Fish on!” My 12 year-old had hooked and was awkwardly stripping line to reel in his first “big” fish on a fly rod. Our guide ran back to help him and soon he was holding in his hands the slimy, beautiful prize.
A few hours later as we hiked back to the car, we found ourselves nervously high-stepping down the stream side path like a couple of drum majors, our hearts racing, adrenaline pumping, our subconscious kicked into gear by the unmistakable clatter of not one but five different rattlesnakes.
The beauty of the canyon, the thrill of catching some fish, the excitement of a little danger, a slightly warm turkey sandwich, a few melted Mint Milanos and some cold water to slake the hunger that we hadn’t even noticed until then--I looked at Brooks and said, “This is way better than X-Box!”
To my delight, my soon-to-be teenager agreed. And this was just one day of many of just one vacation of many that we have enjoyed together.
“Better than X Box.” It became our motto the past two weeks.
When looking at the blue of Crater Lake and then diving off a rock into the cold, clear water.
When going through a class 2 rapid with only our life vests.
When watching an osprey effortlessly pull a trout out of the Rogue River or watching giant Chinook break water for just a brief moment.
When staring silently at a bald eagle soaring to a lofty perch.
When riding our bikes across the Golden Gate bridge or looking at a full moon so big it seemed to make daylight out of night.
It was all “Better than X Box.” Not that my son doesn’t like X Box. In fact, he likes playing video games a lot. Since we don’t have an X Box or a PlayStation in our house, it is always a treat when he can play at his cousin’s house or at a friend’s. And sometimes I worry that he’ll become like so many kids who think the ultimate adventure is lived in cyberspace or through a video screen. So when we go on vacation, we are deliberate about trying to teach our kids that life is best enjoyed and true re-creation is best experienced as close to God’s earth as possible.
Over the next few days, I’ll share some more stories, some more pictures and some reflections from a book I am reading called, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.” In the meantime, please check out my photo albums for some updated pictures of some of the beautiful places that we were able to see.