Yesterday the boys wanted to go take a boat ride on Jenny Lake. I told them I was only doing the boat ride if we could hike up to Inspiration Point on the other side of the lake where the boat would take us. Given our long hike the day before and the exhaustion after, I expected them to decline my deal. But with great excitement, they accepted.
Ian has turned into quite the little hiker. There was a turning point in the hike the day before when he decided he was going to run the trails, no matter how steep and rocky. That continued into our hike yesterday. Elliott, on the other hand, not as much. We were only a few minutes into our fairly steep climb yesterday when Elliott said "I wish we wouldn't have said yes to that deal."
Even if they didn't say it, or even know it at the time, the climb to the top proved to be worth it. There's no question the best views of the Tetons are found the higher you go. And I prefer climbing to them over a ski lift.
At the bottom of the trail waiting for our boat ride back, I had a small world experience. There was a gentleman directing visitors on the dock where the boats arrived and departed. He was standing there alone, so I asked him if he was lucky enough to man that spot everyday. He said not every day, but many. Then he began to tell me a little bit about the area we'd just visited. After he was done, he asked me where I was from.
I told him I was from a small town north of Richmond, Virginia. When I did, his eyes got a little wide. What town he asked. Ashland, I told him. His eyes grew wider when he told me he'd graduated from Randolph-Macon College (the small college in Ashland) back in the 70s. His eyes fell out of his head when I told him I started a part-time job there last week as the Alcohol and Drug Education Coordinator. When I told him about my job, he told me I would have had my hands full when he was there. We laughed.
He went on to ask me if I knew Jack Luck. I told him he was one of Elliott's best buddy's grandfathers back home. Turns out my new friend Doug played football with Jack at Randolph-Macon. We had a wonderful chat in our short time waiting on the boat. When we were all loaded, Doug poked his head in the boat, and loud enough for everyone to hear, said "good luck with that alcohol program back home Keith." He and I knew what that meant, some of the blank faces sitting around us and staring at me didn't. He was a character, so I think he knew what he was doing.
It's a small world. To meet a man a couple of thousand miles away that walked the grounds of the small town you currently live in forty years before you arrived there. On the walk back to the car I told Elliott that's why I encourage him to talk to people, to break out of shy. Because you never know the story you'll bring out of someone else. Not sure he bought that. And I realize he's still too busy working on his own story to care about someone else's. It wasn't wasted breath, though, sometimes sharing advice with our kids carries its punch in the reminder it brings us.
Getting insider information about the Tetons from Doug Colonel
Still home to Sunday services. Few churches could beat this for location.
A big hike up the cascade valley today made for some great climbing opportunities.
The boys took advantage of most of them.
From up top, the water falls fast.
I think they may have their sights set on the mountains over yonder.
Up high with my gang. Couldn't have better traveling partners.