I decided this Spring that when school was over Ryan (a.k.a. Buddy) and I would take our first Grandpa – Buddy camping trip. He is six now and pretty self-sufficient in all the important ways, like using the bathroom and dressing himself. He has some challenges but is usually pretty good for Grandpa or at least we seem to be able to work through them.
I have developed a pattern to my fishing since moving to eastern Washington and June (trout season opening) means fishing for small, but willing, rainbows in the Touchet River (pronounced TOO-she). While the rivers with headwaters in the Cascade Mountains are still running high with snow melt, the Touchet is usually at a nice level in June. It flows from the Blue Mountains in southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon.
Plans were made and a campsite reserved at Lewis and Clark Trail State Park for the week after school let out for the summer. Made the rookie mistake of telling him about the trip as I walked him to school on one of the last days, so everyday he thought it was time to go. He was pretty excited by the time I pulled the trailer up to the curb in front of the house and started preparing for the trip.
Not wanting to press my luck, it was just a three-day trip and I was going to attempt to do some trout fishing while keeping him entertained (and avoiding drowning him) – it sort of worked. Bought him water shoes and a new PFD knowing he would have fun splashing in the river, especially as it was in the 90s during our stay. I didn’t anticipate just how useless the traction on those shoes would be over the slippery rocks, since I always wear studded wading shoes when fishing there. However, the river was low and I kept him in the shallows where he enjoyed falling in.
I always stayed downstream of him, for obvious reasons, and he would check on my fishing success from time to time. That success was limited by his inability to resist throwing rocks where I was fishing.
Probably our most fun was the nightly campfires topped off with s’mores.
Ever the zombie slayer, Buddy armed himself with his “weapon” during our hikes, which doubled as an axe for “chopping down” the old-growth Ponderosa pine on the site.
He enjoyed hiking the short trails around the park, but when we woke up to rain drops on the trailer the last day of our stay he was pretty bummed. I suggested a road trip to Palouse Falls (Washington’s official waterfalls) that was a short drive from our campsite and would take us through Dayton where there might be things to entertain and feed a hungry boy. I made the mistake of mentioning the possibility of seeing rattlesnakes, so that topic pretty much dominated our visit. As usual, we didn’t see any.
As we drove through Dayton on the way back he spied the sign outside a pizza shop.
The only casualty of the trip was another lost tooth, which his mother noticed when we got back. He never mentioned it to me during the trip, saying later that he felt something hard in his mouth, so he spit it out.
Pretty sure he enjoyed himself and there will be many more Grandpa – Buddy adventures to come. We went boat shopping this week…