I don’t recall from my years of being a Boy Scout or even as a boy scout leader that I went on that I ever took a book (aside from the Scout handbook) on a campout. But as McKinley, my oldest son who just turned 11 and joined the local Boy Scout Troop, was packing for his first campout he asked if he could take his book along. He was asking his mother, a devote reader herself, if it would be ok and although she thought there was no way he would have time to read, how can you say no to a child who wants to read? So he packed his book.

This campout was the Klondike Derby with winter camping in snow caves that the scouts had built the previous week. I arrived at the camp after work on Friday night and once the evening activities including dinner were done I found the cave that McKinley and I would share. Upon entering the cave to find an uneven floor, stalactites on the ceiling and about 18″ of headroom we commenced to sculpt the cave.

McKinley kept insisting it was fine, but I knew better. About an hour later we moved into our cave, complete with a shelf for gear, enough headroom that I could sit up without becoming claustrophobic, and enough space that both of us fit with ease. McKinley knew that I had a Mountain House Blueberry Cheesecake in my pack and a Jet Boil.


As we got settled into our bags, with my ultra bright Coast H7 headlamp making it as bright as noon, McKinley asked if he could read. Of course I said yes. So while he dove into a book, I boiled up a little water and made dessert. When it was ready, with some music from my iPhone playing, we downed some awesome Blueberry Cheesecake. He turned to me and said, “Dad, I’m pretty sure that the other kids aren’t having as good of a time as I am. I’m pretty lucky to have my dad here.”

I was the one that felt lucky.

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