An hour north of my school is a small mountain range and wildlife refuge. Feeling guilty about a son who’d rather grab a video game controller than a fishing pole, I decided to take a drive up on a misty Saturday morning with my little wingman to explore.
Thankfully, my days as a hunter left me with a pair of binoculars in my glove box, so he got to learn the art of safely seeing longhorns.
It’s a beautiful little park; founded in 1901, it’s the oldest managed wildlife park in the U. S. It’s worth a visit if you are in the area!
There are lakes to fish, rocks to climb, cow poop to jump over (Junior stopped calling them buffaloes and started calling the ‘poop’aloes), other rocks to flip over and investigate what was underneath them, prairie dogs to chirp at, Longhorns to admire from afar, and a lot of beautiful scenery.
Thankfully, papa Stowaway has been a hunter long enough to keep a pair of binoculars in the console. It was Junior’s first time using them (other than the pretend two hand model, and he always shut his eyes when he looked through them – thereby, decreasing their effectiveness even more), but he did well.
We got a chance to do a lot of cool things, and see a lot of amazing animals. We did find out later that we could have driven our car up on top of Mount Scott, but we have since decided to go back, camp, and watch the sunrise from atop it.
It wasn’t easy. I’d like to say Junior took to the outdoors like he’d finally found his heritage, but there was a bout of tears about hiking in the rain, and another random panic attack about the chances of accidentally falling on top of a random cactus (we covered the fact that his shoes were tough enough to withstand the tiny cactus that we did see. Freak-out averted). He isn’t the woodsman that his dad and uncles are, but I see him getting a lot more into it. I need to take the time, and start him on the path that we’ve all taken. Being a man is an effort and an investment. When you’re young, it isn’t totally an investment on your own – it takes people who care about you to form you into the man you need to be.
We capped off the day by trying to get to the castle by Jed Johnson’s lake tower. We hiked a long ways in, but found out that we had a narrow inlet to swim across, and we were supposed to be home 3 hours prior (guy time ran away with us). Later, with a little research, I found out that we didn’t miss much – the tower is supposedly haunted.
Between you and me, let’s keep that little fun fact away from Little Stowaway until he’s older, Like, 20.