The 5 of us have been hiking for 1.5 miles to check out this waterfall and we finally arrive. I lift my two year old son off my shoulders and assess the scenery. I need to get down close to the water to get the best photo I convince myself. The water is 200’ beneath us and I’ll have to navigate some scurry and boulders. No big deal! I do this kind of thing all the time. I make it down and snap a few photos, but when I make my way back up to the top my oldest son, who’s 9, has that longing look on his face. Dad? He says. Can I go down there too?
My immediate answer was NO WAY! It’s dangerous. BUT, as I look at him I see the deep desire for adventure that every boy needs. I say yes reluctantly and sit him down to go over the rules. You step where I step, keep low, and try not to kick any rocks loose. He nods understanding.
We begin our way down excitement abounding. He slides once but I put my hand in front of his foot and stop him. I see the rush of adrenaline flood into him and smile. We make it down to the water and our mission was accomplished, but then I spot another objective. We hike our way up the water line traversing boulders and hopping from rock to rock. Then we’re met by these three large boulders that lead into the middle of the waterfall rapids. I turn around and say lets go for it and jump to the first boulder. I look back and extend my hand out and he jumps to me. His eyes are the size of saucers and a huge smile on his face. Get low! I yell over the noise of the waterfall. I jump to the next one. Come on! I reach out my hands again and he jumps to me. Last one! We’re nearly in the middle of the waterfall rapids and I jump. You can do it! Done.
There’s a rule at my house. You may never touch Dad’s cameras. I reach into my camera bag, pull out my camera, and tell my son. You worked for it you deserve to take the pictures. Speechless. He grabs my camera, turns and begins to snap photos of the waterfall. I don’t know if I’ve ever been more proud of my son than at that moment.
And here is a photo he shot.
He handed the camera back to me. I stowed it away and took one last look before we made our way back to shore. In getting back to the rest of the family we did a four point climb up a rock face and ended up 500’ above where we started. Adventure!
Everything in me wanted say no, but then I realized it’s my job as his dad to show him the way…