Pin It
Favorite

How I spent My Summer Vacation 

by Janna Mauldin Heiner & r & I picked up the June 9 issue of The Inlander with no idea of the challenge lurking between its covers. I should have known that the summer activities suggested in there weren't going to be the cute, slightly silly pastimes one finds in so many other periodicals.


I read entirely through the Summer Guide section with pleasure but without an inkling of what was in store for me. When I turned to the final page -- the one with the checklist and cut-out badges -- I laughed out loud and had to apologize to some very confused and slightly offended people.


I am of an oddly competitive nature -- unable to muster the discipline to train for any true competition, but equally unable to resist any kind of a challenge, especially if there's fun (and a free T-shirt) involved. And as summer break means I am directly responsible for the entertainment and education of four other people (Seth, 16; Braden, 13; Nate, 9; and Miss Anna, 5) -- well, what the heck. I'd earn my T-shirt and they'd all join me. As would their conventional, conservative father, Brett, who is also a pretty indulgent husband.


Our quest began with the Summer Music badge, for which we enjoyed one of the concerts at Hayden City Park. We just finished up by purchasing a new kayak and paddling it around for five hours. (Which, I think, qualifies me for the Summer Sports badge. Is there a Summer Sports Injuries badge? I'd qualify for that, too.) Along the way, we had some great experiences.


For the Summer Arts badge, I went on a gallery tour with a group of women from my church. Several of the galleries in downtown Coeur d'Alene stayed open late just to receive us. Additionally -- although perhaps this comes under the Urban Fun badge -- Anna and I made art postcards, which we addressed to ourselves, stamped and hid in books in the Idaho Falls and Iona libraries. And finally, in the Sawtooth National Forest along a creek known only as the Outlet Creek, there's a Goldsworthy-esque (though certainly cruder) platform made of carefully arranged sticks hanging over a deep bend. Only you know who is responsible for its existence.


Our Urban Fun continued with the turnabouts. We rarely missed the opportunity to confuse other drivers.


We enjoyed several Summer Small-Town Trips. We stopped in Wallace for much-too-brief a stay. We spent Independence Day in Melba, Idaho, which has the best small-town Fourth of July anywhere. And we bought expensive groceries in Stanley, Idaho, where we also attended an unfamiliar church. Well, half-unfamiliar. It was a gathering of members of our own religion, but in a multi-denominational chapel built of logs and beautiful stained glass on the top of a hill facing the Sawtooths at close range.


The Summer Theater badge was mine even before the Summer Guide came out. Thanks to another tip from The Inlander, Brett and I attended both nights of the Playwright's Forum Festival. The Festival inspired me to write a short play based on my two crazy grandmothers, which my sister's grown kids helped stage in another sister's living room.


We aced Summer Food and Drink without even trying -- making our own ice cream and root beer are no sweat around here. We also made pancakes from huckleberries we picked ourselves.


For Summer Outdoor Activities, I think the huckleberrying qualifies, even though it wasn't on the list. If not, can we consider swimming? I'm pretty dang proud of some of the distances I swam this summer. They wouldn't impress any real swimmers, but my son Seth and I challenged each other repeatedly, swimming side by side in cold reservoirs and icy lakes.


Among our Summer Getaways, we visited Rhino Cave -- and if the definition of "adventure" is "an undertaking of uncertain outcome," this was the biggest one of the summer. We took an alternate route -- not the one described in The Inlander -- and it turned out to be much longer. But we finally arrived, only to be discouraged at every turn -- quite directly by a Forest Service employee, more obliquely by a resort owner. I began to feel I had dragged my entire family into the kind of experience they would never let me forget. But we finally found a helpful if none-too-friendly resource at Laurent's Resort -- a man who drew us a sketch map, took our three bucks and pointed the way. A very short boat trip later, all six of us -- even 5-year-old Anna -- made the full climb to Rhino Cave and peeked in. Braden even climbed inside and gave us a dramatic description in every detail.


So the only thing left is a Summer Hobby. Well, duh. Mine is finding great ways to educate and entertain my kids.





The Heiners live in Hayden, Idaho. Next time you see them, they may be sporting their hard-earned official Inlander summer T-shirts.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • OK, Hold Your Nose
  • OK, Hold Your Nose

    Everything you need to know before Election Day
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Base of Support
  • Base of Support

    Polling local leaders and opinion-makers about presidential politics
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • The Messenger
  • The Messenger

    Local leaders weigh in on how Donald Trump's campaign has impacted racism in America
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Sculpting Mammoth Animals with Peter Thomas

Sculpting Mammoth Animals with Peter Thomas @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Sat., Sept. 24, Sun., Sept. 25 and Sun., Oct. 2

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


trail mix


BRIEFS


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

  • Crash > Click > Cash
  • Crash > Click > Cash

    Lawyers and chiropractors already have your name, your address and the police report from your car accident — and they want you to hire them
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Why Idaho kids don't go to college
  • Why Idaho kids don't go to college

    And what that means for the Gem State
    • Mar 4, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation