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Los Padres, Father and Son, 1/22-1/23
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Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Los Padres, Father and Son, 1/22-1/23 on 01/23/2011 13:29:40 MST Print View

Setting forth into a sea of golden grasses, the sun getting low, extending shadows, a breeze beginning to stir. We pass a few quail hunters and wish them well, talking quarry and who’s seen what, where, when. My son stands on the periphery, a boy amongst men in conversation; he has nothing to contribute, yet looking up to us, he’s obviously interested in the tone his father strikes with the two other men. He’s learning without knowing he’s learning, soaking in life. I will likely have a more profound effect on him than he or I will ever know. Nearly 20 years after I lost my father, I’m still discovering the subtle ways in which he helped shape me.



This trip is for the two of us, to talk, to walk together, to share a sunset and a fire, coffee and tea in the morning. I can still hold his hand, though I’m sensing it’s not for much longer; he pulls away a little faster than he used to. It’s not that he doesn’t want to hold my hand, it’s that he no longer needs to, at least not as often. And the sadness dawns on me once again that our time spent holding hands is limited, that there will be fewer and fewer fires at which he curls up in my lap and starts to nod off. He doesn’t know this yet, he feels no sadness for the inevitable shift that will come in our relationship as we age.




So I have to take this time we have, make time for us to have, to make it count, to make it something we will not forget. I’ll bear the discomfort of a 70 pound boy on my lap at dinner beside a fire for the fleeting opportunity to feel him there a little longer; soon it will be another man sitting across from me. It will not be bad, but it will certainly be different.



We stay up late into the night, winds picking up in the pines, temperature dropping sharply. It still makes him a little nervous when I leave into the dark for firewood but he does a good job of playing it off. Eventually retreating to the tent, we couple our bags as best as we can and he uses my arm for a pillow. A long, black, restless night for the both of us, the wind flapping the tent too loudly to let us settle in. My thermometer reads 27 degrees, by 4 AM I’m thankful for his warmth. Tired of waiting, we agree get up in the dark to get an early start. I slither from my bag to boil the water; we share our drinks while looking out the door at the sunrise.




And we’re back home before we know it, back to chores and video games and the various distractions of daily life. But we’ve managed to carve out just a little time for each other again, good time, slow time, time spent purely together. The type of time that we’ll remember when it counts.




Beautiful Boy.


Los Padres National Forest, 1/22-1/23. Trekking for an easy overnight out of Lockwood Valley to Pine Springs Campground.

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Beautiful boy on 01/23/2011 14:09:24 MST Print View

Nice report! Beautiful boy indeed. And lucky boy. And lucky dad. Yes, things will change, little shrugs when you hug them, but not always. The rewards change but they are still there.
I do miss the days when her little body just molded onto mine, but I knew then that it was special.

old picture

JJ Mathes
(JMathes) - F

Locale: Southeast US
Los Padres, Father and Son, 1/22-1/23 on 01/23/2011 14:10:00 MST Print View

most awesome!

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Los Padres, Father and Son, 1/22-1/23 on 01/23/2011 14:23:12 MST Print View

No mention of miles hikes, elevation gained, gear, or pack weight. Little talk of flora or fauna. Just a few off-kilter and out of focus photos. Nonetheless...the best trip report I've read in a long, long time.

It's hard to realize how little time we have with our kids at those ages...partially because there are so many distractions in life and partially because it's a tough thing to face. Thanks for sharing.

Me & Chris

Edited by TomClark on 01/23/2011 14:28:38 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Los Padres, Father and Son, 1/22-1/23 on 01/23/2011 15:08:05 MST Print View

Craig, thanks for sharing. Memories are a very cool thing, both as we're making them and later, as we recall them. It seems you'll have many wonderful ones, and so will your son.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Los Padres, Father and Son, 1/22-1/23 on 01/23/2011 15:23:37 MST Print View

Hey, in one photo it's the MSR dromedary you gave me Douglas....thanks again!

danny chough
(puffdc) - F

Locale: Republic of Boulder
thanks on 01/23/2011 16:19:40 MST Print View

beautiful. thank you.

Brian Barnes
(brianjbarnes) - M

Locale: Midwest
RE: And folks say BPL bores them... on 01/23/2011 17:17:36 MST Print View

Craig - Simply beautiful. Your love for your son in the few words you have written is palpable. Perhaps only those who share that same love for their own children can "feel" it. I've shared similar moments with my children and they are unforgettable.

A photo of one of the proudest moments I've had as a father

His first summit bid
Risk and danger overcome
Everlasting bond

kevin smith
father/son overnight on 01/23/2011 17:20:30 MST Print View

pt reyes 2010

little boys arent they great

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: father/son overnight on 01/23/2011 17:40:05 MST Print View

I had a love/hate relationship with my father. Backpacking was pure hell for a 5 year old kid in Yosemite for me. I did not backpack again until 2000 or so and took to it like fly on glue. In a strange way this was a way to connect with nature and to gain some perspective with my long deceased father. Craig, my dad did not have patience with me when I was little kid, exposing me on hikes way out of a little boys comfort zone. Nice to see that you are not doing that. Your son will cherish the memories and learn from these trips. Better yet, you will have a fun hiking partner if keeps interest in this for years to come. I don't have any children and see how my friends who I used to backpack with incorporate the outdoors with raising their children. It is something special. Good for you in making the trip fun for your son, you can tell by his smile that he is stoked. Right on!

Edited by kennyhel77 on 01/23/2011 17:41:21 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Los Padres, Father and Son, 1/22-1/23 on 01/23/2011 19:12:49 MST Print View


Looks like a great weekend for both of you. Keep doing them as often as you can. They grow-up and leave in the blink of any eye.

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Taking the time on 01/23/2011 19:43:03 MST Print View

So so good. I think about this constantly now as my girls get older. I have three girls, and some day they too will want to hang out with their friends instead of with their dad, just as I did. I wonder how we would change if we could just realize how little time we have together. If you ever wished you could stop time for a bit, just take them out there. Forget about time, distance, weight. All children have a beautiful way of just living in the moment, if we shut up and listen long enough we too can learn this. And somehow days seem just a little bit longer.

Beautiful boy, Craig. Love the photo, Kat.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Re: Los Padres, Father and Son on 01/23/2011 19:53:50 MST Print View

Great Craig, thanks.


My best day as a dad

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Los Padres, Father and Son, 1/22-1/23" on 01/23/2011 22:32:31 MST Print View

This trip is for the two of us, to talk, to walk together, to share a sunset and a fire, coffee and tea in the morning. I can still hold his hand, though I’m sensing it’s not for much longer; he pulls away a little faster than he used to.

Great words Craig. I appreciate you sharing some insight into your fatherhood and the quality time spent with your little dude. This trip report has a wealth of substance and I'm glad I didn't miss this one.

Steve S
(idahosteve) - F

Locale: Idaho
fathers and sons on 01/23/2011 23:28:04 MST Print View

Great report; I also see the tale of the tape, as a young boy becomes a young man. These trips are really special times in all of our lives...

sawtooth 08

Edited by idahosteve on 01/23/2011 23:30:10 MST.

Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
Thanks on 01/24/2011 17:51:42 MST Print View

Thank you for sharing that. I used to think I'd bang about in the woods like a wild man hunting and fishing.... till I met my love, and 6 kids later, it only gets better. To see it through my own eyes is experience, to see it through their eyes is true joy....... Keep it up.


Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Los Padres, Father and Son on 01/25/2011 16:45:31 MST Print View

Craig - nice story. Thanks for posting.

Edited by drongobird on 01/26/2011 16:37:10 MST.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Los Padres, Father and Son on 01/26/2011 15:18:09 MST Print View

Very cool post! I like that its theme is a bit different and the photography slightly unconventional. Excellent photography by the way.

Getting back to the conventional, lol may I ask what route you took? I'm in S. Calif. and might like to try it out with a little certain someone that I know.

Happy Trails,

--Hikin' Jim (and Hikin' Joyce!)

Edited by hikin_jim on 01/26/2011 15:27:26 MST.

Adam Kramer
(rbeard) - F

Locale: ATL, Southern Appalachia
great on 01/26/2011 19:00:48 MST Print View

excellent reflective writing. i have a 7 month old daughter and am already looking forward to her first trip. great to read this now. it is my hope and desire to create as many of those moments as I can.

sorry, couldn't resist

ben wood

Locale: flatlands of MO
great report on 01/28/2011 14:32:16 MST Print View

quite possibly the best trip report i have ever read.

anything i could say could only detract from those words.