A Classic Re-post from 2009
To portage and to paddle thorough the Canadian wilderness is incredibly beautiful and rigorous. If you haven’t tried it you really should, just because there are some beautiful places that you have to paddle for many miles to reach. Having paddled and carried your canoe and food and tent and gear to those places somehow makes them even more beautiful and more enjoyable. O how sweet is the sleep I have enjoyed on a bed of pine needles, on a rocky point, in a pristine Canadian lake, under a waxing moon, after a day of strenuous effort as the loons call to each other in the night. You go to sleep with a smell of wood smoke perfuming the chill night air.
I turned fifty this year so adventures like this come at a high physical price. It was helpful to have a strong 18 year-old-daughter work steadily at the paddling and a strapping 17 year old son help carry and the gear over long, rocky paths from waterway to waterway. With each portage and paddle stroke my appreciation and admiration grew. The strength of a young man justifies the on-going expense of all that vitamin-fortified Captian Crunch, pizza, Mountain Dew, peanut butter, and Tim Horton’s coffee. It is a miracle of God that he can turn such common fuel into such brawn.
We paddled and hiked and carried a hundred miles of wilderness late this summer with friends from the church and as each day passed my gratefulness for Daniel’s strength and character grew. Late one evening more than half-way through our adventure we were facing a long paddle before camp and a long carry. It was Daniel’s turn to take the canoe on his shoulders and stalk through the woods, over the rocky hills to the next waterway. I wanted to encourage him and thank him so I said; “Dan if you solo this next carry I will take you to Outback when we get back home.
In the wilderness, when you are carrying your own food it is usually ramen noodles, “mac-and-cheese, powdered drinks and soups and such. This food tastes like gourmet fare after a grueling day of work getting to camp, but the prospect of a thick steak and baked potato with all the trimmings is a pleasure almost too wonderful to imagine.
Tonight we make good on that summertime promise. It’s cold out today, January 9th. It’s been snowing all day. I’ve been watching what I eat because this evening a group of men will gather and keep a promise to our sons. And we will thank them, and honor them, and bless them. It’s just one of the ways Dad’s can help sons develop muscular character and a dynamic spirit strong enough to press through obstacles.
I just returned from the dinner. Each of the men stood at the table and shared a memory. Brendon told of the night, lying in his tent with Tom, after a long day of paddling, where he prayed to ask Jesus to forgive his him his sins and make him a child of God. It was a good night.
January 9, 2009