So, our lives are different now. For the past umpteen years on the final Saturday in October, I've either made a trek to Jacksonville or huddled around a television to watch the so-called rivalry game between Georgia and Florida. No more! This year, we went to High Valley in south central Idaho to hang out with some of our new friends at a rustic cabin. It was so rustic that it had no electricity and was heated by a wood stove.
Instead of agonizing over a football game for three hours, I was playing Paul Bunyan with Frank and Brook. What was originally supposed to include a mountain biking trip in the Boise National Forest turned into a burn pile, stick gathering, tree cutting extravaganza along the side of a mountain, interrupted only by text messages from fellow Georgia fans feeding me the exciting news of the Bulldogs' stomping of the Gators. So, just for all of you out there who don't believe me, here is a picture of me with a chain saw felling my first tree as Brook shoves it over.
On Saturday night, we slept upstairs in the loft of the cabin, which is also the preferred sleeping location for Dudley, the incredible snoring dog. After about one hour of him trying to wake the dead at the foot of our bed, Janel asked me to relegate Dudley to the living room downstairs. Kate and Frank both told us Dudley wouldn't mind. So, there I was, scooping up the snoring machine and transporting him down the stairs in the middle of the night in the pitch black. Dudley didn't wake up or even flinch, for that matter. But he did keep snoring. All night. ... Here's the unsuspecting snorer on the trail.
My new friend Frank is one bad dude. He jumps out of airplanes and helps fight wildfires. He's also a great leader, understanding his crews' strengths and weaknesses. He quickly recognized my inefficiency with a hack saw and switched me to pick-up-sticks detail. If there's one thing I can do, it's pick up sticks. Cutting down the tree with a chainsaw was my reward. I'm hoping to do more of that in the future. Now, before you freak out and think I've abandoned my environmentalist activism, thinning trees is actually a healthy thing for the environment.
On Sunday, we went for a hike with Frank and his wife, Kate, in the Boise National Forest. I forgot the baby carrier so Frank graciously requested to help carry Faith. We traded her back and forth--and as you can see, Faith made a new friend, too.
We had a chance to take in some of the beautiful Idaho mountain scenery, including traipsing through some early season snow.
On the way back, I had one of my favorite fatherhood moments to date when for the first time since Faith was an infant, she fell asleep in my arms like a sack of Idaho potatoes. I think she slept on my shoulder for at least a mile of the hike before I placed her in her car seat. She still didn't wake from her slumber.