Odin enjoying his favorite outdoor pastime.
By Stephen Haynes
Some of my best memories as a kid were of doing things outdoors with my parents. Fishing with my Dad, learning to surf with my Stepdad, camping with both sets of parents. All good times. A large part of me wishes I’d paid a little more attention to my Dad when teaching me the names of the trees, or what poison ivy looks like, but the love of the outdoors stuck. As my own children grow up, I’d like for them to be able to look back and smile at the same sort of memories.
The past few weekends my family has spent more time sleeping on bedrolls in a tent then on mattresses at home. This makes me smile. Three days at Raystown Lake for Dirt Rag’s Dirt Fest and the three days the following weekend at a remote site in George Washington State Forest in Virginia. Both sites centered around different activities but were enjoyed nearly equally by the kids.
Our home away from home. It was rainy.
My kids do pretty well out of doors. My daughter enjoys fishing and my son enjoys throwing rock into bodies of water. They both enjoy lake and river swimming, hiking, sitting around a fire and in general bicker less than you might expect. Perhaps we lucked out.
We keep a sprawling garden every year and are always investigating new bugs or digging up worms, building up our immunities to the creepy crawlies out in the wild. On the second half of our springtime outings my daughter did run upon a large, bright orange spider that made her do jazz hands and scream like, well, like a girl. She laughed about this fact for several days afterward “I totally screamed like a girl Dad!”. At least we can laugh about it.
In the age of the smartphone and ready entertainment, I thinks it’s becoming increasingly important to introduce younger generations to the natural world. I still don’t know the names of the trees and feel a little skeptical about my poison ivy spotting abilities but I love that my kids love going outside.
The sun finally broke through and we celebrated with ice cream. Darby also got to show off her big catch of the weekend.
There a gremlins out in them ‘thar hills.
By Stephen Haynes
A few weeks back my riding buddies and I got together at our regular trails to do a little early spring riding. It was just cold enough to still be considered cold, but not cold enough to consider doing something else.
The ride started off well enough; a few miles of rail-trail to the trailhead, climbing through the first portion of technical switchback, on into rock gardens and technical singletrack, more climbing, more singletrack, rinse, wash, repeat. Fantastic! Feeling spring in the air with each successive pedal stroke.
Then, about an hour into our ride, I broke my chain…
I had a chain tool and wasn’t in any major hurry to get anywhere, so no biggie. Cut out the offending link, lose a gear or two, be on our way. Continued humming along for another 20 minutes or so until, on a downhill section, my rear derailleur sheared off and lodged in my spokes…
Ok… This time, remove the rear derailleur (that’s not only destroyed, but has also tweaked a large section of my chain), cut out the offending section of chain, lose all but one gear that I might hobble back to the parking lot.
True to form, my friends offer both consolation and jibes at my expense in equal parts while I try, more or less fruitlessly, to get my bike ride-able again.
Wincing with every up hill section that put any undo strain on my questionable chain and rear wheel, I manage to guide my bike back down to the rail-trail whereupon my chain broke for the second time…
Laughing at the hilarity in my misfortune and feeling generous, my riding buddies decided to take turns towing me (and my 220 pounds) the four or so miles back to the parking lot.