Tuesday, August 9, 2016

High Adventure

Summer!  So much fun!  So many activities!!!  It seems like things are non-stop around here during the summer:).  I guess things are non-stop around here pretty much year round.  But with church camps, visually impaired camps, sports camps, family reunions and other camping trips, we didn't haven't had too many nights since school let out when all 12 of us slept under the same roof.

Monday through Wednesday of last week was High Adventure for Taylor, Parker and Conner.  I was able to accompany them again, as was my brother, Tyler.  What a great trip!!!  We left Monday morning about 6:30am and drove up to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to the Boy Scouts of America Grand Teton High Adventure Base.  We got back home about midnight on Wednesday.  In between we did a high cope course, a low cope course, shotgun shooting, whitewater rafting and a hike and swim in Grand Teton national park.  We saw five moose, including two babies.  We saw the mother moose chase off another moose in a scene that you could have watched on a nature show.  We ate well, we were spiritually uplifted around a campfire, and we learned two fantastic new games:  Kubb and Gaga Ball.

One of the predominant themes of the week was how impressed everyone was with Conner's willingness, courage and ability to complete everything that everyone else did.  Despite being blind, Conner conquered the giant's ladder and the rest of the high cope course, got over, through and around the obstacles in the low cope course and even hit three of the clay pigeons (with some help from uncle Tyler) with a shotgun.  Everyone at camp was so inspired by him.  The kids in our own group, kids in other groups and adults and leaders throughout camp were amazed by his accomplishments.  Way to go, Conner.

It is such a blessing to be a dad!  I love all of my kids so much.  It was so fun (and exhausting!!!) to spend this time with Taylor, Parker and Conner.  I love these opportunities to develop stronger relationships with my children.  I am a lucky man.  Thanks to Christi for letting me attend activities like these.  And thanks to LaRita (Christi's mom) for coming and helping while I was gone!


Conner navigates the giant's ladder and other high elements:

Moose at moose pond in Grand Teton National Park (notice the two babies in the background):

Going for a swim in some refreshingly cool water:

Trying to get across an "acid river" using a limited number of moveable lily pads.  Once we were all stretched across, Conner walked over on our feet:

Me, trying to get across about 10 tire swings without touching the ground.  I was proud that I made it half way:)

Taylor made it all the way across without much of a problem, so he decided to add a new level of difficulty!

Parker gets pretty intense when he plays Kubb:

At the shotgun range:

Here is some video.  Note how tightly Conner clings to Uncle Tyler's neck as they swing across the "river," how nice it is to have a 6'5" son to be the last one to go over the wall, and look in the upper right hand corner for the very small clay pigeons that Conner blasts to bits:).

This is Conner ascending the Giant's ladder.  I edited down quite a bit, but still left it a bit longer than usual videos to give you a sense of the challenge this was for Conner.  The best part is at about 1:30 when I offer him the chance to quit and come back down.  He responds, "I believe I can do it."  Simple, inspiring, Conner!