Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Little Yosemite Valley and Merced Lake in May

My amazing husband is our households biggest trekker, adventurer and nature enthusiast thus far.  When we were first married he enjoyed at least two annual back packing trips.  As our family has grown he is down to the must have annual trip; camping and road trips don't count.  I have to admit, while I've always enjoyed the photographs he returns with, I've never really thought that trekking into the back country with 30-40 lbs. on my back was all that interesting.  But, the more nature study, time spent outdoors and reading of natural history have become musts in our education...oh does it sound tempting and oh so interesting!

Vernal Falls,  Nevada Falls with Liberty Dome in the center

Last week he took a very quick two day 30 mile trek through Little Yosemite Valley with Merced Lake being his destination point.  The weather was amazing for this time of year.  He's been on these trails before and thought he would surely run into snow but instead he was greeted with 80 degree sunny weather.  He definitely did too many miles in just a few days and suffered for it; boy did he have the blisters to prove it!  Well, the blisters are all healed now so he finally got around to putting away his gear this morning.  And you want to know what  he said?  "I can't wait for next year's trip."   Look at these amazing pictures and tell me that hiking into the back country doesn't sound just a bit enticing:

almost there!

This weekend my in laws were over for dinner and my husband showed them his pictures.  As he and his dad exchanged memories of previous trips and locations I couldn't help but think of our dear Charlotte Mason.  Mind you, neither of these men know much about Ms. Mason and her works except for what I enthusiastically share with them; but, oh,  how clear it was to me how one father's love of nature lore and adventure has been passed down to the son.  I know I've quoted part of this before but the second half just resonated so much this weekend:
The Force of Public Opinion in the Home.––Some children are born naturalists, with a bent inherited, perhaps, from an unknown ancestor; but every child has a natural interest in the living things about him which it is the business of his parents to encourage; for, but few children are equal to holding their own in the face of public opinion; and if they see that the things which interest them are indifferent or disgusting to you, their pleasure in them vanishes, and that chapter in the book of Nature is closed to them. It is likely that the Natural History of Selborne would never have been written had it not been that the naturalist's father used to take his boys on daily foraging expeditions, when not a moving or growing thing, not a pebble nor a boulder within miles of Selborne, escaped their eager examination. Audubon, the American ornithologist, is another instance of the effect of this kind of early training. "When I had hardly learned to walk," he says, "and to articulate those first words always so endearing to parents, the productions of Nature that lay spread all around were constantly pointed out to me . . . My father generally accompanied my steps, procured birds and flowers for me, and pointed out the elegant movements of the former, the beauty and softness of their plumage, the manifestations of their pleasure, or their sense of danger, and the always perfect forms and splendid attire of the latter. He would speak of the departure and return of the birds with the season, describe their haunts, and, more wonderful than all, their change of livery, thus exciting me to study them, and to raise my mind towards their great Creator." -  Home Education, Volume 1 pg 58 (1906)
I see the enthusiasm between him and his dad; one that honestly sometimes is hard to understand  by those who haven't trekked the back country like that.  And while, yes, one of my goals is to join my husband on a back packing trip one day; I know that the love for it will really be passed down to the kids by him.  I've been fortunate to be able to provide the more scientific and structured part of nature observation in our schooling thanks to Ms. Mason's guidance.  Now, I'm looking forward to the trips that our children will take with him and who knows between both of our  influences we might just have a true Field Naturalist in the midst.  A nature lover at the very least! ; D


Jedidja said...

How beautiful is it there! never seen mountains ... I think its so great!

Amber said...

What a great trip! My husband tries to get out backpacking at least once a year. I encourage him to do a winter trip and a summer trip since he also enjoys snow camping, but that doesn't always happen. We used to backpack together, but haven't since our 10 yr old was a two year old. We are currently getting the kids (and ourselves!) trained up and ready for a short overnight trip sometime this summer. I am definitely intimidated by the idea of backpacking with four kidsapps, ages 10 to 8 mo, but so long as we don't have to go too far I think it will be fun for everyone. The kids are so excited - like you mentioned, the attitude in the parents makes such a difference!

Amber said...

I don't know where that kidsapps came from, it should be kids, ages

Darn autocorrect!

Grace'n'Chaos said...

Jedidja, I love living in CA. There are mountains everywhere and then the icing on the cake: an ocean near by!

Grace'n'Chaos said...

Amber, I'm so impressed! One day trip but a trip none the less will be great. My husband thinks our oldest is ready to do a short trip with him. Maybe next year and by then two of us can join him ; D