View Full Version : Rights of passage

06-20-2013, 06:45 PM
Since Ralph posted about the young girl that went off to test herself, I thought I would share a story. This is about my 13yr old son. School finished up the year a little over a week ago. Well 2 days afterward his girlfriend broke up with him & he was bummed out. So the wife sent him to the grandparents for a few days. This would give him a chance to see old friends & such. After returning home he told me he was thinking of going camping. I ask him where & his response was "duh, we live in the woods". I didn't respond as I knew where, I just wanted to see how his thought process was working. A few days pass, many questions were asked, & things were gathered up. I assume he has decided to do this as a test of himself. He took some food but plans on fishing in our pond & took a 22 rifle with him for hunting. He is also packing a 38 with hot loads for protection. Funny thing, he is more accurate with that snub nose than any other gun. His pack is a Kifaru E&E with a long pocket docked like a back pouch in highlander. He quickly realized that this isn't a camping pack on it's own. Back on track; a few days ago he decided to cook our dinner on the grill. While cooking I was telling him about bushcraft & encouraged him to look into it. I figure this will give him something creative to do while out of school that wasn't a video game. In short order he asked me to make him some eye stakes at work. Then he studied on cooking fish over an open fire. I also showed him different ways to quickly start fires. I also gave him a Tactical Tailor hydration pocket that I picked up a little while back. Moving on, he decided today was the day! He took all his gear down in the woods & said he would see us in a few days.

I will update this & hope any of you with stories will share also.

I'm sure some of this is inspired by the fact he is dead set on getting a work permit when he turns 14 in August. I've always told him the world is his & anything he wants can be had a as long as he had a job to afford it & the will to work for it!

06-20-2013, 07:05 PM
Good for you and good for your son. I think he just embarked on a trip that will last the rest of his life.

06-20-2013, 07:38 PM
Ralph I thank you for your response & I believe this is a pivotal point in time for him.

06-20-2013, 08:00 PM
Waiting for the day mine ask to do this... my only regret is not living somewhere that makes it that easy...

06-21-2013, 05:07 AM
Good on him! AND good on you for encouraging him an having faith in him to do it.

When he comes home, have him shower and ask him "Are you here for re-supply & heading back out?" Interesting to hear his response...

06-21-2013, 11:40 AM
Well, he came home early this morning. We talked about why he only made one night. He is used to hearing coyotes in the distance & such. Last night being he was on his own, out was different. Plus some different noises that he didn't know what they were. He described them & I told him what they were. He was concerned because they were so close. He looked slightly disgusted since the noises came from harmless critters like tree frogs & bull frogs. Having had a lot to do today we didn't talk much more about it, but I will encourage him to go back out again. Going out one night at a time is great for building his courage & feelings of self reliance. Thanx for the replies & I hoped more stories would've been shared.

06-21-2013, 12:05 PM
Good on him! AND good on you for encouraging him an having faith in him to do it.

When he comes home, have him shower and ask him "Are you here for re-supply & heading back out?" Interesting to hear his response...

Thanx, he is a good kid. Very responsible & respectful too.

06-21-2013, 12:58 PM
Mike, I too was 13 years old when I started packing out on my own. .410 shotgun with #6's and slugs. Cooked rabbits...the whole deal. And yep, was "concerned" about those sounds. Bravo to your son. And heck, bravo to you, Dad. Do keep us informed.

06-21-2013, 04:23 PM
I remember being 13 and doing a similar expedition in Scouts for Wilderness Survival merit badge that my dad was teaching. The manual showed how to make a lean to shelter, what it didn't discuss was the prolific number of "seed ticks" that live in cedar trees in August in Missouri. Each of us had to head out on our own, no guns, and spend 24 hours with a possibles pouch and live in lush woods and just live. I caught crawdads, found pawpaws, and poke and cattails, and gooseberries, I made a really nice cedar lean to shelter with my Victorinox Huntsman, discovered the ticks, then proceeded not to sleep in it, and felt safer. Saw a lot of cottonmouths and copperheads, but only was bitten by chiggers and ticks..

Having heartbreak at 13 hopefully teaches him about the evil of women (said very jokingly) and to revise what he values from them. For me, it shifted my values from physical appeal to being at ease, from lust, to being able to smile, and to see that the prettiest thing about a woman is her smile, it's immediate feedback that seems to validate you.

06-21-2013, 05:15 PM
Tell my boys women are the devil!

Make you do all kind of crazy things.

My wife agrees!

06-22-2013, 04:44 AM
After talking with my son again later in the day, he is up for going back out on his own again. His birthday is coming up so I decided to get him something early. I ordered him a Zebra light headlamp & will also get him a good flashlight. I've pretty much standardized all the flashlights to using the 18650 batteries. With desire he will do it no matter what gear he has. So it's up to me to make sure he has good gear. That helps relieve some stress of how he is doing. He has basic knowledge, drive, & a good foundation of good gear. I'm thinking for Christmas a full size pack. His next outing I well offer him my xray to see how he likes it. I will let him pick the pack, I already know it will be in highlander. I will ask him to plan a trip for the 2 of us & let him take charge.

07-03-2013, 08:40 AM
amazing!! my parents didnt give me a whole lot of "stuff" just lots of love, direction, etc. you know? parent stuff.

i wanted to hunt, fish and hike at an early age. i fantasized about it, and i collected catalogs. i dreamed of some single shot 20ga. (which i might try to find now!). occasionally, i would break down and ask my parents for things. disappointment was a bitter lesson.

i remember my first backpack. got it at 15 when i was tossing papers, and cleaning a church on weekends. cost me $40. jansport! dark blue. i think it was called the cascade or something. it was game on!! my friend and i split everything. stove, pots and pans..community stuff. my mom took us into the woods and dropped us off. she thought we were insane. our gear was awful. i had this huge slumberjack sleeping bag. no pad..tennis shoes. most fun ever. i was in college when a professor loaned me he mountain smith pack. that was when i became a gear freak. hahah.

great story..sometimes i wish i had some kids. sometimes.

07-03-2013, 09:49 AM
I don't remember any specific "rite" but one long trip to adulthood. I was hunting and fishing with my Dad at 5 and outdoors all of my young life. At 10 I was with a group of older men (all my Dad's friend and hunting pals) in hunting camp and grew up a lot there. I guess I felt I had "grown up" when I was trusted/tasked with doing all that things the older men did and (this was a big deal to me) when I was able/allowed to call these older men by their first names instead of sir or Mr. ____. That was when I felt I was an "equal" (even if I wasn't yet). They taught me so much and I owe them. I am sure everyone has some kind of "passage" like this in their lives that shaped who the became. For the most part we turned out well but I wonder/worry about this generation, their mentors seem to be computers and the internet.