Scrambling boulders around Devil’s Tower with the boys


Devil's Tower, Bouldering, Scrambling
Nate & Roald in the west boulder field

Every first Wednesday of the month during the school year Spearfish schools let out early for teach meetings. What’s a dad to do? We’ve got this free time, in the middle of the week, on a warm winter’s day. Devil’s Tower NM is only hour away, lets head over and do the short tower hike. With added diversions to climb & scramble boulders around the tower’s base. And of course a sunset trailside dinner on the west side as the sun sets.

The great thing about places like this in early March is that tourists are virtually nonexistent and this popular, crowded, summer trail is practically yours alone. One down side is that people do walk this trail all year long so even when most of the trail is clear there can be several sections packed with ice. A few machine screws in the soles of your hikers or runners will give you the traction you need without inhibiting your ability to do some bouldering. Check out this post on adding those screws to your shoes.

I’ve written often about Nate and his fears, anxiety and oppositional behavior. Getting outside and into nature is one of the best things for him. But it can be difficult to get started and at times he can crater. Requiring patience and a soft touch to bring back up. Bringing a friend along can really be a benefit. Especially when it’s the right person for the job. Nate’s friend Roald is a perfect fit for these types of outings. Roald is part of a family that we, as a family, are close to. He is 2 years older than Nate, so old enough that Nate looks up to him while young enough to want to spend time with Nate. He’s adventurous without over confidence and is always encouraging. Best of all, Roald carries an easy going personality that adapts well to Nate’s idiosyncrasies.

Little adventures like these can be great bonding opportunities for families as well as confidence boosters for your kids. It’s a perfect excuse for you to get out and get some time in the fresh air and explore. Many of us loose site of the reason we work, I mean really, is it for the work? For me it’s the family. And taking a half day away from the computer and out of my office is a great reminder of what it’s really about.

father, son, friend, devil's tower
Nate, Roald and me [Rob] getting ready to start dinner

Don’t forget to have fun, get out on the rocks !

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is the amount of spectating parents do. So used to driving kids to soccer practice and sitting in the bleachers that I think many of us forget to get moving ourselves. Believe it or not, your kids want to play with you. And doesn’t it look like fun? So go ahead, be a kid, live a little. You’ll be back at your desk tomorrow, you can be a grown up then. Right now, literally right now. Go be a kid, with your kid.