Sunday, April 29, 2012

"In the Great Outdoors"

As I have mentioned before, I love the outdoors. I was reading my uncle Harvey's blog awhile back (I would give you the link, but I'm too dumb) and he mentioned that the average youngster these days spends 7 minutes a day outside. 7 MINUTES! And that wasn't all; the average youngster also spends 7 hours a day on electronic media. 7 HOURS!!! That's almost a sin. The poor, lousy, flabby, unimaginative average youngster!

When I was young my mama had a hard time getting me up on the five school mornings of the week. But on Sat. (when everyone else in the family liked to sleep in a little extra), I was up soon after daylight and out of the house roaming the woods before anyone else was up.

This past summer had the privilege of going to Northern Idaho for a men's seminar. Northern Idaho is beautiful beyond words. We camped in tents and rode horses each day up the trails into the mountains.

There were eighteen guys on horseback; I'm the second from the front of the line

While on top of the mountains we would have a session together and then spent some "alone" time by ourselves. During this time we were supposed to be contemplating what God was trying to tell us about our character and our spiritual needs.

Takes your breath away!
From the top of this mountain you could see to the west into Washington state, north into Canada, and east into Montana
Later when filling out an evaluation we had to rate the value of the different activities we had done. I said the "alone" time was the least valuable for fulfilling it's intended purpose in my case. I couldn't hear God whispering about my needs (which are many) because all I could hear and see was God shouting at me about the absolutely stunning beauty everywhere you looked.

The taller peaks still had huge snowbanks in places and this was the last week in July. The wildflowers were everywhere and gorgeous. The woods had a heady, heavenly smell like balsam. I left part of my soul out there in those high mountain meadows.
The woods smelled heavenly

This summer I decided I was going to do something about passing along to the next generation this love for God's outdoors. I realize that southern Campbell County isn't northern Idaho but there's still a lot of beauty if you look for it. So I lined up two young friends of mine for some time in the woods this summer.

I sent them an e-mail before our first get-together. It said:

1. To learn to love the outdoors. Most of this younger generation is spending waaay too much time indoors. A house is a good place to eat, sleep, etc. but the best living begins outdoors.
2. To grow in respect, admiration and worship for the CREATOR of the outdoors.
3. To appreciate how all nature works together in harmony to make the earth a hospitable place for mankind.
4. To learn to know trees and other plant life well enough so that a walk thru the woods feels like you're among old friends.
5. To learn to enjoy the solitude of the forest and being quiet long enough to develop your powers of observation.
6. To appreciate beauty wherever it is found, even in the smallest forms. Campbell Co. isn't exactly known for being the most beautiful place on the planet, but there is plenty of beauty all around us if we open up our eyes.
7. To do all of the  above and still maintain a positive energy balance. (in other words, have plenty of good food!)
Also, come prepared to:
Hike steep trails and wade thru creeks. Prepare to get scratched by the briars and poisoned by the poison ivy. Prepare to get mosquito bit, deer fly bit, chigger bit, tick bit, yellow jacket bit, spider bit and snake bit. (well, hopefully not snake bit) In other words , prepare to have a really good time.

This didn't seem to scare them off and we had our second session today. I sent this e-mail out before today's session: (We were planning to canoe but changed our plans because it was too cold)
Young friends,
My plan was for the Lewis and Clark Expedition along with French guide Charbonneau to explore the wilds of the Seneca Creek river basin beginning about 12:30 tomorrow. I wasn't sure if the Seneca Creek leads to the Northwest Passage or not but we were determined to find out. (Sacagawea was staying home; there wasn't room for her in the canoe)
Bring: your notebooks, river shoes, just in case, something to drink on the river or trail and you appetites. (don't think that one will be a problem!)
                                                                Mountain men forever,

A pretty spot on the Seneca
As near as I could figure, we hiked about 4 miles today. Up and down steep slopes. Through the creek once. Well, I waded the creek and carried them over piggyback one at a time. We backpacked our food in and stopped along the creek at a pretty spot to eat. We roasted bratwursts over an open fire. After maybe an hour I was thinking it was about time to begin hiking back out to civilization. One of my young friends was laying by the fire, having just consumed 4 bratwursts,(with buns) one pack of Doritos, assorted roasted marshmallows and a Pepsi. I asked if we were ready to go. He said, " Could I have just a little more time for some more digestion?"

It was a wonderful afternoon in the great outdoors.

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