My Beamish Brood

My Beamish Brood

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Voyageur

One last post about our week in Ely, and then I'll be moving on to the start of the school year (lots to tell!). But bear with me, because you don't want to miss this! I'll be telling the story of Max's trip from my own perspective, but go ahead and ask him about it yourself- he will have lots to say.

The idea to take a vacation in Ely this summer started when Paul and my dad began hinting at taking Max into the Boundary Waters with them. They have been mentioning it for years, but when Max was four, I began saying that I might be O.K. with next year... when he's five... 

And then he turned five.

And they held me to it.

Honestly, I was not worried about his safety for a millisecond. I knew he was in capable, experienced hands, and that he would be well looked-after. But that doesn't mean I didn't have trouble sleeping the night before they left. My firstborn, five years old, was going to a place where I couldn't call him. I couldn't visit him. Communication between us was completely cut off for nearly two full days! I have spent time away from him before, but this was different. With no phone or internet between us, I could only guess at what he was doing, whether he was having fun, whether he had met a bear...

But Paul documented his trip well, as I made him promise. The look on Max's face in these pictures made it clear how at home he felt in the wilderness. He loved the lake, the canoe, fishing, swimming, helping Grandpa around the camp, eating food around a campfire, all of it. His daddy taught him how to whittle, and he made himself a spear to hunt for wild animals. Thankfully, none were found on his hunting expeditions, but he did manage to catch a real live chipmunk in a trap he set with Grandpa.

In fact, that was the first thing I learned about his trip; as they paddled toward the dock in the pouring rain, mosquito bite-ridden and soaked to the bone, he yelled out at the top of his lungs, "I caught a chipmunk! I caught a chipmunk! I caught a chipmunk!" We ran inside and dried off, but while I was dying to hear about every detail of his trip, all he wanted to do was read a book. Poor kid, he's never gone a day in his life without a book... I think of all the hardships, that was probably the worst for him. Ok, maybe second-worst, after the vicious killer mosquitoes.

Warrior Max with his spear and chipmunk trap
"I love the Boundary Waters!!"

The rest of the week, he seemed older. He got to go with "the guys" down into a mine, hard hats and all. He baited his own hook. He just grew up a little. But it's ok, because he still gives me hugs and snuggles whenever I ask for them. He is only five, after all.

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