Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The great outdoors

Recently, Brad and I spent a weekend camping together as a family. (ie. Chester tagged along.) Brad loves hiking and backpacking and roughing it outdoors-style with the guys, and I was excited to finally get to see him in action and even use some of his cool gear myself. We stayed two nights in his little backpacking tent. I say little, because it's made to be small enough to carry along on your back, and it was just big enough for the two of us in there, each with our own sleep pad and sleeping bag. Tight quarters call for snuggling up! Win-win!

But I think Chester enjoyed the adventure more than either of us did. Look how happy he was! Completely satisfied with himself and his roughin' in skills.

Bradley nicknamed him A.T. for being an "all terrain" dog during the weekend. He owned those trails like it was his job. At different times, he'd sprint, prance, gallop, and trot far ahead of us, as the leader of our pack. He was surprisingly efficient at deciphering the paths as well as climbing over rocks and crawling under fallen limbs. He run ahead the exact same distance every time; then he'd (somewhat impatiently) wait for us to catch up before he'd run off again. And if he ever lagged behind at our meeting points, allowing us to pass him up, he rudely barged his way back ahead of us, insisting that he be in front leading the way. He worked himself so thirsty, that he even drank water out of Brad's hand that was caught from a stream falling over the rock. He loved every  minute of it.

Chester was determined to not let his dad show him up, and to do anything and be anywhere that Brad was. Can you see his futile attempts to climb the rock wall that Brad scaled in the bottom of the left picture? With a little boost from his mama, he proudly dominated the challenge and joined us for a family picture.

When the sun went down, the temperatures dropped down right along with it. We bundled up, and tried to warm ourselves up from the inside out with some nice soup that we ate directly from the pot Brad used to cook it in over his little camping flame-cooker-stove-thing that he got for Christmas a few years ago. I didn't get a picture of it, but we also drank water that he purified straight from the river! Like I said, it was really neat to get to see how he survives using all of his tools when he goes out with the guys.

It got so cold at night, that Chester had to be covered up with a towel, even by the fire to keep from shivering. And once we were in the tent, he curled up next to Brad inside his sleeping bag! But I can't really speak. I had the hood of my 30 degree weather sleeping bag pulled so tightly that only my nose was exposed throughout the night. I woke up freezing, hoping it was nearly sunrise (aka, warm), only to be disappointed by the discovery that it was merely 2:30 in the a.m. Holy moly.

However, God definitely made sure that the weekend was worth my while! Look at some of His beauty that He showed us while we were out there. The river was steaming in the morning as the sun came up. And we saw so many beautiful, fall leaves decorating the trees along our hikes. I firmly believe that God created the color red just so He could demonstrate His awesomeness. (I mean, seriously, anything red always stands out from the background. You can't help but recognize His majesty!) I was so excited to see His glory all around me.

Oh, and as a special treat, I'll show you a glimpse of the Harry Potter tent that was a few sites away. It looks normal sized from the outside (well, more like gigantic compared to our little guy), but I'm positive that it's magically enhanced to be the size of a regular house once you step inside. That chimney is a dead giveaway. Wizards need to learn to be more discrete if they want to fool this muggle. I'm jussayin...

I love spending time with my husband, and my dog, especially amidst God's incredible creation. I'm definitely glad that we went. But I have to admit, I may leave that roughin' it in the cold stuff to the boys from now on. Brrr...
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