There’s a Wolf in my tent…

This Saturday, we went for a quick overnight camping trip to Camp Currier, a Boy Scout camp located in Eudora, MS and operated by the Chickasaw Council.  Currier was established by the Council in the 1920s and we went there this weekend to take part in Joe’s Cub Scout “pack” graduation ceremony, when each rank advances to the next level.

Joe transitioned from a Tiger Cub to a Wolf, where he’ll remain throughout the next year.  It was pretty special for us to get to watch him and his friends advance to the next level and with any luck, they’ll stick together over the next four years as they cross the line into to the Boy Scouts.  It’s been interesting to watch each of them grow as individuals and as a “den” throughout the year.  It’s also been great to meet other parents, the older boys, and the “leaders of the pack”, who put a lot of time and energy into providing a good program for the boys.

Our trip to Currier brought back memories for me, as I was there as a Boy Scout in the late 1980′s and early 90′s.  I remember thinking to myself the first time I rode to Currier with my troop, how far away it seemed (only about an hour back then, 20 minutes today).  But then I had such a good time while I was there, I didn’t want to go back home when it was time to leave.

So, it was nice to get to be there with Joe’s for his first time at Currier.  It was a short first time though , too short—less than 18 hours from the time we pitched the tent to the time we pulled in to the driveway back home, just in time for Mother’s Day.  But it was good to get back out under the stars for a few hours, while we left the rest of the world—and it’s worries—far behind.

See you on the trail…

Joe and Mom – a Happy Mother’s Day weekend, indeed…

Getting advancements during the pack meeting…

Puleeaaaaazzzze – just a few more minutes?!?!?!?!?!

Digging in the “mine”….

 

BP MS 150 – Ride for a Cure…

TXH_2014_BP_MS_150_-_Logo_-_Full_Color(1)I have some camping posts in the pipe, but realized I had not written about the results of the BP MS 150 fundraiser and epic bike ride I was involved with in April, so I will share bits of an email I sent following my return—pictures are at the end!


First, thank you for your support of my fundraising effort for the BP MS 150 event this past weekend in Texas.  In less than 10 days you helped me raise just over $2,600 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.   This is an amazing thing, and each dollar you sent will directly benefit research towards a world free of MS. I’m so grateful for your support.

Second, I received many well wishes during the ride and appreciate that very much; your encouragement kept me going during the entire weekend.  The ride is 48 hours of running on empty, so your words helped fuel me — along with more carbs than one should possibly ingest over three days. [Read more...]

The wet shoe…

Joe wanted to write a blog post for our website, so without further ado, here it is!

My favorite part about camping with my grandfather was when we went to the Mather lodge and ate breakfast. But mostly I loved when my shoe got wet.

Joe

Just about the spot where the shoe got wet.  We didn’t actually go in there.  But we thought about it!

 

The fight against Multiple Sclerosis. I need your help…

No matter how good or bad you think life is, wake up EACH day and be THANKFUL for it.  Someone, somewhere else, is fighting just to SURVIVE…”

When I was a kid, I used to sell books door-to-door to raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) research because one of my mother’s best friends, Sharon, had MS.  Sharon has struggled with MS for many decades; every day is filled with pain, limited mobility, and uncertainty for her and her family.  There are hundreds of thousands of Americans just like her.

In 10 days, I’m heading to Texas to volunteer in the 30th Annual BP MS 150 fundraiser.  The MS 150 is the largest Multiple Sclerosis (MS) fundraising event in the world and in 2013, more than 13,000 cyclists (many of whom have MS) and 3,000 volunteers participated in the 180 mile bike ride from Houston to Austin.  They raised more than $18,000,000 for MS research, program support, and individual assistance.

Seeing 16,000 people join together and push the limits of human endurance for a single cause is such an inspiring sight that words cannot do it justice.

For the second year in a row, I’m volunteering as a part of the “Special Assistance Group”.   SAG volunteers operate support trucks, vans, and buses to transport cyclists and their bikes when they are unable to ride due to injury or fatigue – a 180 mile bike ride is no walk in the park.  As one SAG leader put it, we are the Marines of the MS 150; the first in and the last out.  SAGs don’t stop until the very last rider has crossed the finish line.  Then and only then do we get to cross the finish line.

SAG

No rider will be left behind as long as there is a SAG team member alive to support them…

When I joined my dad as a SAG driver for the first time in 2013, it was to fulfill a personal challenge and spend time with him.  Turns out, it was one of the most rewarding (albeit exhausting!) 72 hours of my life.  By volunteering, I helped the National MS Society further their own cause to help thousands of individuals who have MS.

Many SAG veterans have been volunteering for decades.  This year I’m heading back to do it again in SAG Box Truck #7.  It’s an honor to be part of this team.  One day, I want to get Joe involved when he is old enough to volunteer.

I believe in this cause, want to be an active part of it, and I want to ask for your help in fighting MS.

Like other diseases, it costs a lot of money to fight MS.  Even few dollars will go a long way towards helping someone with MS.  For every dollar donated, 78 cents goes directly to programs, services and research to benefit people with MS.

It also costs money for my SAG team to be there supporting the riders during the MS 150.  Think about it, the cost of trucks, vans, fuel, buses, lodging, food, radios, manuals, and the list goes on.  And a lot of us SAG Volunteers pay to play.  I’m personally spending hundreds of dollars in airfare and lodging, taking vacation time from work, and spending time away from my family to do this.

Riders in the MS 150 are asked to raise at least $400 to participate in the event.  On average, they raise $1,250. While volunteers aren’t required to raise money, I want to double what the average rider raises – and do it in 10 days.  Can it be done?  Can a SAG volunteer actually raise $2,500?  Only with your help.

Please join me in the fight against MS by donating today

Remember that quote at the top of this post? It came from one of the 2013 SAG support vans.

@sag
“No matter how good or bad you think life is, wake up each day and be THANKFUL FOR it.  Someone, somewhere else, is fighting just to SURVIVE…”

Imagine someone who has just pedaled her 125th mile after sleeping the night in a tent in the middle of Texas. Those words help her pedal to the 126th, and ultimately to the 180th mile.  The SAG Team helps get them there, sometimes with a hand up, sometimes with a hug, and always with a smile.  Your donation helps the National MS Society defray the costs of my participation, meaning more money can be put to good use fighting and one day curing Multiple Sclerosis.

Think about that for a minute as you consider donating.   Even if it’s $1.00.  Every dollar you send helps someone who is fighting just to survive.  Like my mom’s friend Sharon.  Sharon is real, and there are lots of folks like her that need our help.  Here’s another quote for you, a favorite of my grandfather’s, who stole it from his close friend and Rabbi, Micah Greenstein:

“If you look out your window and don’t see someone in need, you aren’t looking hard enough….”

Help me reach my goal.  Sponsor me and SAG Box Truck #7 for the biggest bike ride of its kind in North America.  I want to see your name in my fundraising honor roll.  Or, you can donate anonymously.

Look, I know you are busy.  I only ask for another two minutes of your time.

Won’t  you join in this fight by donating RIGHT NOW?

Thank you for reading and for your help fighting MS.

See you on the trail…

Brian

@sag bb

Me at the 2013 BP MS 150.  This bike’s owner had to go to the hospital because of a wreck.  We carried his bike across the finish line in a SAG truck.  No rider – or bike – left behind…


 

My personal MS 150 page can be found at: http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Bike/TXHBikeEvents?px=13000014&pg=personal&fr_id=22598

Pictures of my 2013 MS 150 experience can be found at: https://picasaweb.google.com/101319989760585316755/2013MS150?authuser=0&feat=directlink

More on the MS 150 can be found at:  www.ms150.org


All donations go directly to the National MS Society and are tax deductible and a receipt for your records will be sent after you make your donation.

 

BP MS 150

 

 

The curious case of the confounding crick…

Earlier this month, my dad met Joe and I for our third-annual spring camping trip to Petit Jean State Park in central Arkansas.  Joe’s mom was nursing a sinus infection and starting a new job (woot!) the following Monday, so she decided to let the boys fly solo this time around.  As it turned out, this was probably for the best.

All’s well that begins well, right?

Joe and I had a leisurely drive over to Petit Jean and after checking in, we went straight to Rock House Cave to make sure everything was as we’d left it since our 2013 trip.  After Rock House, we quickly set up camp, gathered some kindling and had ourselves some canned goods for dinner.  Before bedding down for the night, we managed to build a nice little fire without too much effort.  My dad was running late, so it looked like we would spend our first night sans Pops, which was disappointing, but not a big deal. So far, so good.

But at approximately 2:43(AM!) I was awakened by an anything but good and totally blood-curdling, scream.  Still half asleep, I quickly realized that the scream was emanating less than 18 inches from my head — by my own flesh and blood. [Read more...]

A Hike in the Snow…

It’s 2014, and high time to catch up on some posts.  A conversation today inspired this one, written with just a dash of my world famous sarcism and dedicated to my Dear Ole Dad.  Happy New Year!

=========================================================

While cleaning out some boxes at my grandmother’s house several years ago, I came upon some photographs my father had taken during my childhood. He had them organized into envelopes, each with a title and date.  I went through them until I came to the last one:

A Hike in the Snow, January 1987.  

This was the one I had been looking for. It happened so long ago, it seemed like one of those bad dreams that just.wouldn’t.stay.away.  But finally I had the proof. [Read more...]

2013 Great American Backyard Campout…

Our 2013 Great American Backyard Campout was a success!

After setting up our big tent (which I’ve renamed “Monster”) in the afternoon, we went to a birthday party and then swimming at the Y.

Following dinner Joe, Nitro, and I went outside for the evening and made pretend bow and arrows, watched bats dive for bugs,  and chased a few lightning bugs around.  We also went for a walk down to the stop sign and back on what Joe dubbed the “Appalachian Trail”.    We did a thru-hike in case you were wondering.

On the trail, we talked about how we would fit everything (yep, everything) from our house into our backpacks, what we would eat, where we would sleep and how we might avoid bears (Joe decided the best way would be to become invisible), and of course, Que Horrifico from Scooby Doo.

After our .33 mile walk on the AT, we had some popsicles and hung out in the backyard looking at stars.  When it was time for bed, Mom, Joe, and I slept under the full moon, finally rising at about 8AM.   It was a quiet, peaceful night, with perfect camping temperatures.

Before breakfast, we started a small fire and made some coffee and hot chocolate, bringing our first Great American Backyard Campout to a close.  You can look at pictures from other campouts on their official Flickr page.  From the photos, it looks like there was alot of good times shared with families across the Nation on Saturday night.  Next year, we may try to organize a neighborhood campout.  We hope you’ll join us!

See you on the trail…

Monster the Tent

Monster the Tent and our fire ring…

A happy camper...

My happy camper.  “Dad, can we do this again tonight?”

Roughing it, instant Starbucks style

Roughing it, instant Starbucks style. That garage-sale torch is my new campfire-starting best friend…

Great American Backyard Campout – This Saturday!

Great American Backyard Campout

This Saturday, June 22, 2013 is the “Great American Backyard Campout” organized by the National Wildlife Federation.  The idea for the Campout is simple:  on Saturday (or another night that is better for you), pitch a tent in the backyard, or setup your ENOs, and sleep out under the stars with your kids.

Doing so gives you an opportunity to spend time doing something different together, unplugged from Kindles, TVs, laptops, iPhones, and all the other “screens” that now occupy the majority of our time these days.  According to the Campout website:

“The nature of childhood has changed. There’s not much nature in it. The American childhood has moved indoors during the last two decades, taking a mental and physical toll on today’s kids. But you can help change this trend. Think how good you’ll feel giving your children the benefits of spending more time outdoors, providing them with memories to last a lifetime…”

You can register your participation in this event on the GABC website or, just pitch a tent and let the fun begin.  You can also visit the Backyard Campout Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.

If you are a mom and have a teenage girl who isn’t into camping, here are some things you can do while the boys are roughing it:  13 Crafts for your Teen Girl from childpsychmom.com

Otherwise, I encourage you to join thousands of others in this fun and FREE initiative.  Your kids will thank you for it, and you’ll have a fun time too!

See you on the trail…

Backyard Campout


Last fall, Joe, Nitro and I spent an evening around our fire pit and in the new tent in our first backyard campout. We are looking forward to doing it again this weekend!

Parkin Archeological State Park, Oct. 2012 (or Happy Father’s Day 2013!)

I was talking with a friend the other day about how I have several blog posts I’ve been meaning to write, and realized that I’d better do it soon, before best intentions become forgotten ones.  The intent of my blog, after all, is to keep a record of camping and fun experiences with Joe, for Joe.  So for Father’s Day this year, I’m picking up where we left off –father, son, and dog- in Arkansas.

On the drive back from our trip to Village Creek State Park, Joe, Nitro, and I stopped by Parkin Archaeological State Park.  Parkin is located in northeast Arkansas, along the St. Francis River.  While they don’t have camping  there, they do have an informative museum and a short walking trail.

The park is located on what was once Sawdust Hill, a 20th century African-American community of timber and sawmill workers. As early as 1000 AD, it was a bustling Mississippian Native American village named Casqui, according to some archaeologists.  Proximity to the river made this space a valuable piece of land, once upon a time.  Today the Parkin site is on the National Register of Historic Places. [Read more...]

A foraging we will go….

Well, I guess 2012 is just about over and done!   When I started this little adventure log, I wanted to write at least one post a month.  I’ve only missed September, so I’m pleased with that.  I’m looking forward to 2013 – we already have several expeditions in mind, and I can’t wait to see what they hold in store for us.

For December, I thought I would write about our mushroom investigations during our “recent” trip to Village Creek State Park.  While on our trip to Petit Jean, Joe was enamored with all the different varieties of mushrooms we found in the woods.  My dad played the role of instructor, and taught Joe a few key do’s and don’ts to follow when looking at wild mushrooms.

Later, Pops sent Joe a Pocket Naturalist Guide to Mushrooms in the mail, which Joe studied and learned how to identify various mushroom species.  To my surprise, while we were on the trails at Village Creek, he (correctly) identified several different species.  [Read more...]