Growing up, I was always the kid who was too afraid. Too afraid to jump off the high dive, too afraid to ride my bike to the shaved ice shack. I couldn’t help it! I didn’t want this scarlet letter. There really was no doubt about it - I was a scaredy cat.
When Jake was born, I remember thinking, “Jacob will be brave. Jacob will be bold. The curse of the scaredy cat ends with me!” And so I’ve endeavored to give Jake a more exciting childhood than I had. We could climb higher on the playground equipment than we were comfortable with. Jump into swimming pools that seem rather deep, actually, now that we get a good look at them. Oh yes, there would be adventure. Adventure indeed.
In all honesty though, the kid’s made it easy on me.
So with this adventurous spirit, off our little clan went to a local geological attraction, Craters of the Moon National Park. This trip was right up Jake’s alley - he is absolutely crazy about rocks. Rarely do we go anywhere and not come back with at least one rock. It’s gotten to the point where I find myself eye balling rocks when I’m by myself because I think Jake might like the shape of it. The collection has grown so large that it’s overflowed the egg carton containers in which they originally resided and can now be found on my desk at work, on top of our refrigerator, on the bathroom countertop, on the window sill... You get the idea. For weeks before we’d talked about what kind of rocks we would see. Words like pahoehoe and spatter cone were thrown around in our house with abandon. We were as good as geologists when we piled into our car Saturday morning and headed off.
The drive was picture perfect and we made great time. I was grateful for the modern miracle that is cruise control. We arrived just in time to take a quick stroll around the visitor’s center and have some sandwiches before our cave walk started. Ranger Gray led us through a winding trail of ups and downs that taught us all about life, in all it’s shapes and sizes, in the Park. At last though, the moment had arrived! She led us down into Indian Caves and we began exploring. Jake put his head lamp to good use and investigated the cave’s nooks and crannies. Our little spelunker lead the charge and ventured into lava tubes and onto piles of boulders, fallen from the ceiling. When we emerged into the sun, it was decided we’d spent enough time underground. Next stop: Inferno Cinder Cone! Standing approximately 10,000 feet tall (Or thereabouts. It felt that tall on the walk up.), Inferno Cinder Cone is a steep hill of rocky debris that collects around a volcanic vent. We enjoyed some seriously breath-taking panoramas, nearly took flight because of the wind and took some memorable photos.
Our last stop was the visitor’s center where Jake was sworn in as an official Craters of the Moon Lunar Ranger. He took a solemn oath to take care of Craters of the Moon and other special places on the Earth, to always listen to his parents, pick up his toys and eat his vegetables. He accepted his patch and donned the honorary astronaut’s helmet with well-deserved pride. With that, we were back on our way home.
Adventure is a funny thing. To one person, base-diving is a cheap thrill that gradually becomes mundane. To another, all it takes to get the heart rate going is an afternoon drive and a day trip. Whatever flavor adventure you choose, just make sure you adventure with people you love.