Monthly Archives: April 2011

A Winter 14′er »

Posted on April 4, 2011

Last month, Alex and his friend took us on a family adventure to practice winter 14ing.  While Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks are hard enough to climb in the winter, they become even more challenging when they are snow packed.  As you’ll see on the video, this day’s climb was made even more challenging by the wind!

While snowshoeing the two miles to the base of the final ascent was a fairly standard activity for us, the climb up packed snow and ice was a completely different experience and required some on the mountain lessons with the new equipment we were using.  Having done it before, Alex taught the rest of us how to put on and climb with crampons (a basic set of razor sharp claws which strap onto your boots) and how to handle the ice ax for going up and for glissading down.  He also carried a couple of emergency harnesses, rope and some specialty tools for stabilizing holds in the snow.

While the techniques are fairly straightforward, the on the mountain gearing up in the wind and the actual implementation the techniques was a bit challenging.  You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to poke a hole in your bibs with the crampon claws!  It was also a challenge to get use to the angle of the mountain and the pull of gravity on your body when standing up as demonstrated by the short length of the video, a near backwards head over heal filming incident was the end of my recording for the day!  I also managed to blow out a crampon and decided to take shelter under a rock as I recorded the others heading on.  

To be honest, the constant wind and the unknown of coming down, were a bit too much for this adventuredad.  It was with great pride however, that I watched my son, his friend and my wife tackle the steepest slope.  Glissading down, it turns out, was a lot of fun and much easier than I thought.  It’s amazing what a little force and a six inch pick can do for you in snow. As spring has begun, I’ll  be looking forward to trying again next  year!


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King For a Day »

Posted on April 3, 2011

Several months ago, my wife and I started down the road for adopting a sweet young pre-school girl.  Our time with her increased with the frequency of our visits resulting in a play date in her territory this past week.  What a great opportunity for adventure time.

We quickly went through books, dolls and the latest electronic toys for young ones.  Eventually, we settled into a delightful adventure of the dressed up princess being held captive by the evil rubber snake.  Dressed in my terra for a crown and yellow plastic bat for a sword, the King jumped into action to save his princess daughter and return her to her castle.  Fortunately for the snake, he was changed into a worm with her magic wand and moved to the castle with her.

What a warm, tender and fun adventure in our path of bonding together.  Sadly, we learned several days ago that the adoption process will not take place.  Through my sadness, I’ve held onto that adventure and the joy of being King for one day.  It’s a memory I will cherish.  More importantly, it’s a lesson for all dads.  Take time for adventures with your kids today.  Then hold onto the memories of those moments as if they could be your last.

Shalom McKenna

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Monster Time »

Posted on April 4, 2011

I recently had a pleasure of being on Captain Coy Theobalt’s radio show, Man Alive! (  His guest for the day was the Grateful Dad, Doug Gertner.  That day’s program was on creating adventures with your kids and I got to speak about the roots and programming of  Unfortunately, the sound didn’t transfer well, but I’ve attached a brief clip of the program 1Man_Alive_2_28_11.

One of my favorite parts of the show was when Capt. Coy was talking about the monster game he played with his kids every day when coming home from work.  Upon entering, he would flop down on the hall floor and pretend to be asleep.  The kids would run into the kitchen to get some of the monsters special wake up pills (M & M’s) and feed them to the monster.  Upon waking, the monster would then spend the next ten minutes wrestling the kids in a big pile on the floor.

As he talked, I quickly recalled the many joyful experiences I have had with Alex and his friends, as well as, the countless numbers of group kids I’ve taken swimming as part of my work.  At the lake, the monster lives in the water waiting to challenge the children.  He starts out strong, but quickly tires with the hoard of kids on top of him.  All clutching his arm to prevent what is going to happen next, the monster fights to bring his hand to his mouth and take the magic power pill he needs.  The ensuing mayhem is one giant laugh and soaking as children fly through the air and struggle back for control.  The best part for the monster, is knowing the physics of water and how much easier it is to wrestle those buoyant kids.  My hat is off to you Captain Coy for doing it on dry land!

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