Saturday, December 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad!!!

Jas 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

One of the best gifts I've ever received from heaven is my Dad.  He is the coolest guy you could ever hope to meet.  He can do anything, make anything, fix anything, and he surely loves a great adventure.   He loves me, and when we are together - look out adventure for sure, maybe even a little danger. If it's not exciting enough, he's likely to go off road, two-wheel drive, don't matter.

Here's a story:

When I was maybe barely eight, we donned our winter clothes, and pulled our terra-tiger out to the river.  I had no idea what was in store.   The river was low, mostly ice covered.  No way to reach our duck blind by boat. So we hopped in the ATV and drove right into the river.   ATV  used to mean exactly that.  Drive on land, drive in the water.  The thing could float, and its six wheels served as our propulsion.  I don't remember much except that after a nice time heading up stream the six wheels paddling along and our ATV kind of like a little bobber we reached a point where it was time to drive up out of the water and onto the sand.  Only problem, the ice extended out from the sand over the water.   We thought would could simply drive the terra-tiger up onto the ice and out of the river but as we attempted the little bobber with six paddling wheels kept breaking through the ice.  UP we would climb at a precarious angle and then FWOOSH the ice would break and we would crash down into the water.  Seems like water was coming over the side and it was cold.  We tried and we tried maybe five or six times.  But discerning that this would never work my lowly status in life suddenly was elevated from passenger in an ATV to driver.  Never,  had I squeezed the accelerator on the handle bars of the craft, nor revv'd the engine, nor spun the wheels.  But the time had arrived, stranded in the river unable to climb out I was now the driver.  My Dad leaped from the ATV onto the ice which extended out from the sand bar and over the river.  He stood on this ice which could not quite support our craft and grabbed hold of the front of the Terri Tiger.  He pulled on the machine to help it up onto the ice while commanding me to gun it.   The whole thing is a blur to me now.  I can see him above me as the trajectory of the atv changed.  Front up in the air back down in the water.  I think I was getting wet.  It seems that things were happening fast.  I was squeezing on the gas for the first time - loving it.  Oh how  I loved the power.  But I think I saw some fear in my Dad's eyes at some point in the whole ordeal.  I don't remember getting out of that river.  But I'm sure we did.  We must have visited that duck blind.  We must have checked our decoys.  That's all gone from my memory now.  But I can see him pulling that craft up and out of the water.  Pulling me to safety.  Saving us both.   Hey, if it's boring you can always make it a little more exciting.

Below is one of my favorite pictures of my Dad.  It was created quite by accident.  I think it actually exists as a "slide" and I have this from taking a pic of that slide.  Appears that the film in his camera failed to advance and at least three pictures were super imposed over each other.  It shows my Dad having returned from one of his great and extremely successful adventures, reclined at home, enjoying a hot a cup of black coffee.  While at the same time, memories from that adventure are on display demonstrating a hunt successfully completed
 My Mom titles this pic, "Coffee-Lope" and by that name I have long remembered this picture.

A couple of years back, we were elk hunting and decided that we would set up a spike camp 12 or so miles deep into the national forest following the Wyoming Trail right on top of the Continental Divide.  Though, I'm 21 years younger than my Dad - he's tougher and he knows it.  My cousin Alex was along with us.  We had one horse set up to pack all our gear and two others to ride.  The plan was to take turns leading the pack horse so we could equally and evenly spend our strength.  The air was thin, we weren't quite acclimated yet, and it's just plain hard going.   A couple of times along that long trail, my Dad  traded off with my cousin, but when it came my turn to lead the pack horse.  My Dad would say "No, not yet.  Just keep riding, I wanna walk a little longer."  The whole day went along like that.  And except for a couple of spells my cousin gave him, he walked the whole way in.  10,500 feet elevation, up and down mountains as we followed along the continental divide.  Tough Man.  He said later, he wanted to see if he could do it.  But I think actually he wanted to spare me so that I would have a little energy left to hunt during our spike camp soiree. 

That spike camp proved to be an incredible several nights.  Camping almost at 11,000 ft just off the Continental divide next to a beautiful lake.  We were raided by some crazy horse terrifying animal in the middle night.  We weren't sure what - a pack of something.  the Pake woke us with the running padding of their feet.  We saw the tracks in the morning next to our tent.  The horses were sure spooked and very relieved when seeing us exit our tents and come to their aid, soothing them.  We hunted in a very heavy snowfall one day. It was beautiful, it was wet, amazing.  One night as we slept, a thunderstorm rolled over the mountains.  We heard the burst of thunder and we felt the mighty power of it all rolling over us.  We weren't just experiencing thunder we were in the very center of it, with it, not below it, but right there a part of it, one with it, the sound waves crushing down and around our chests.  Amazing and never to be forgotten.

Please take special notice of the lean-to just behind my Dad and back a ways.  In this picture it's keeping our saddles and gear dry.   The lean-to was my Dad's invention and proved a boon to us.   This was a very wet camp.  The next day we sat  huddled under that lean to rain coming down using those two buckets at my Dad's feet as our chairs.  There we cooked our meal over a mini-backpacker stove.  We were very close that day for sure.  Wasn't much room under there.  But enough to sit, to cook and to eat and to enjoy and to remember.

Praising God this day, thanking him for every good and perfect gift that comes from heaven and especially this Dec 8th, for my Dad.
  Happy Birthday Dad and many more amazing adventures:

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