Consider it Character Building...

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Blog entry by David Craig posted 07-05-2010 06:50 PM 1026 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Not a woodworking blog per se, but then again I believe in a holistic universe where everything involves working with wood :) I haven’t been in the shop for awhile, I have my boys this week for a portion of their summer vacation. I bought a raft last year so that we can “enjoy” the natural resources that surround us and we went out for our second outing yesterday.

Lesson learned – Look up the phone number that tells you the readings from the river gauge BEFORE you go on a ten mile raft trip. Normal readings are 2.8 and above. I found out today that the river rating was 2.3 which translates to very shallow water and much rotted river foliage. Which might explain why our 4 hour trip turned into a 10 hour trip. The boys were good sports though and they only cry a little when I mention the word raft. Should be a good motivation tool to improve their grades. “Better start doing your homework!” “Why should I?” “If you don’t, I am going to take you rafting…”

Anybody else smell Valedictorians in the works?

We did get to see a few interesting sites – a few does that made their way to the riverbed to drink while we floated by, different species of fish that became visible in the shallow areas (90% of the river), and some breathtaking scenery in areas not accessible but by water.

So now the kids know what “character building” is all about. I know one thing for certain, if the boys were asked “What did you do on the 4th of July in 2010?” the trip will be sealed into their memory for the rest of their lives. They can play video games and watch movies anytime :)

Boys and our raft

Happy belated 4th everyone,


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

11 comments so far

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3559 days

#1 posted 07-05-2010 06:58 PM

nice to see some character building. Even if they didn’t need it

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3078 days

#2 posted 07-05-2010 07:08 PM

I´m sure they will love you for that trip
when they discover how wild the river realy can be :—)

thank´s for the story David


View sras's profile


4790 posts in 3092 days

#3 posted 07-05-2010 07:26 PM

The events where everything goes as planned are rarely as memorable! My oldest and I just did a bike ride up to a mountain viewpoint – misjudged the temperature drop on the way up and it got too cold (we turned around). On top of that I convinced him he was not going to need a jacket!
You can bet I will be hearing about that for a while…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4209 days

#4 posted 07-05-2010 07:50 PM

I’ve done that in a canoe in the Looking Glass River and with the downed trees and shallow water that Gilligan Island song kept playing through my brain, “For a three hour tour, a three hour tour.” That lasted more like ten hours. I’ll bet the boys were swattin bugs and laughing and having a grand ole time. It’s probably Dad that’s gonna have a hard time forgetting that foray. Those two are happy just being anywhere you are. Great pic.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3635 days

#5 posted 07-05-2010 09:11 PM

Looks like fun.

View degoose's profile


7228 posts in 3317 days

#6 posted 07-05-2010 10:30 PM

From what I understand your boys have been brought up real proper and don’t really need character building… but that is a catch 22 if you need it you don’t already have it.. and If you don’t need it.. its because you already had it.

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3127 days

#7 posted 07-05-2010 10:40 PM

I have done white water rafting, not on my own, and a lot of canoeing, and ended up carrying that canoe over a lot of unplanned portages, courtesy of the beavers in northern Minnesota, especially. My substitute for rafting while raising my kids (now all married and having grandchildren) was tent camping, the old gold miner’s cabin near the Arctic Circle (Central , AK), and later the motorhome. Cherish those times, they grow up fast.

I think one of the advantages of trips in wild country is finding the unexpected, and overcoming obstacles. My kids remember those times better than the easy times. And they learn to improvise, suck it up, and be a little bit tough and resourceful.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Skylark53's profile


2661 posts in 3023 days

#8 posted 07-05-2010 11:21 PM

Time well spent. Good choice; you’ll never regret it.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3071 days

#9 posted 07-06-2010 01:36 PM

Thanks for the kind comments all. The boys are gems and when they relayed the trip to their mom, they made comments about the animals as well as other positives. While they freely confess that they found the trip overly long, they did not lose sight of the more enjoyable aspects.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3127 days

#10 posted 07-06-2010 04:14 PM

By the way, the time my son in particular remembers best, was when we made things in the shop together, worked on the lawn tractor and its implements, and put in about an acre of lawn. Chris got to put a lot of time in on that tractor and really enjoyed it, and learning the skills. He is 41 years old, today, and I will be giving him a call later.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View swirt's profile


2640 posts in 2934 days

#11 posted 07-06-2010 08:56 PM

Sounds like you “made the best of it” and taught them to do that too. That really is a skill that must be taught but often goes overlooked. Way to go.

-- Galootish log blog,

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