|Unscripted Moments...boys chasing outlaws|
Pine Valley Mountain hides her glory from all but the most ambitious travelers. Nested in heavily guarded, densely timbered peaks atop the world's largest laccolith, several lush valleys offer a taste of summer paradise that can only be experienced in a few places. These valleys carry simple names: South Valley, Whipple, North Valley, West Valley, and Katy Lane. There are others, but these valleys lie in the heart of the heights--and getting there requires significant effort. The trails are steep, rocky, and often covered in downed timber. The reward for breaking out into Pine Valley Mountain's valleys is pure mountain air. Thin, laced with sweet pine and salty marsh, breathing it is sheer joy.
Leon and I don't need much excuse to get out of the 105 degree heat that is here already. We have a scout camp coming up that needs to be scouted out so that we can be prepared for 25 or so teenaged boys who lack experience, but want a high adventure trip in a couple of weeks with pack stock on Pine Valley Mountain. So, we took our own little guys up for Father's Day weekend. High adventure with young boys still brimming with imagination and toothless grins reminds me of why I love the title 'Father' more than any of the other titles that I claim. Observing the movement and bearing of small boys is a taste of Gilead's Balm:
Little boys ride horses and mules like men, with fierce determination... while they laugh and whack at the old names carved in the stands of quaking aspens with some stick they picked up on the trail.
Little boys camp and cook like men, with dirty-faced pleasure... while they chase each other over rock and log with toy guns that they created by the sheer force of imagination from punkwood lying around our heavy canvas tent.
Little boys lead and pack stock like men, with John Wayne's true grit... while they hold the lead rope from a pack mule in their teeth and squeeze aside hidden, dusty tears as they use both hands to remount a dancing saddle mule that wants to go.
Fatherhood hides His glory from all but the most ambitious travelers. Secretly nested in a culture that entices men with fortune, fame and vice, while providing a cacophony of sensory numbing entertainment for little boys, lies the Valley of Fatherhood. Climbing the barriers to good fatherhood requires significant effort. Today's rocky trails soften our boys and forge compliant men with effeminate temperament, who fear rugged individualism. Life's downed timber enforces group-think and squashes critical thought. Like the short summer season at altitude, the opportunity to BE father is fleeting. Fatherhood. It is far too short. And the moment where a boy can learn to be a man, from his father must be seized without delay. But the reward for breaking out into the Valley of Fatherhood is sweet fraternal affection and salty masculine jocularity--and breathing it is sheer JOY!
|Kolob formations to the East|
|Always time for a little trick riding|
|...and always a stick to whack whatever needs whacking|
|That sweet mountain music|