I do not own seaQuest or its characters. I am not profiting from this story, it is for entertainment
purposes only.

The Call of Nature
By: Kaitlyn Rose

"Lucas, you can't take all this stuff!"

"But Dad, I need my laptop, and I'll be bored to death if I can't take my music. The rest is just
clothes, magazines, and food."

"Lucas, two boxes of Twinkies, a box of Ho-Ho's, ten candy bars, and three bags of chips do not
count as food. Plus, we are going to have to walk at least a mile through the woods to get to our camp site,
if you insist on bringing all this stuff, then you are going to have to carry it all yourself, on top of your
sleeping bag, tent gear, and the other camping supplies."

"I don't see why you are insisting on walking for a mile to stay in the middle of no where. Why
can't we just stay at the camp grounds where you can drive your car with all your stuff right up to your tent.
Better yet, why don't we stay in a cabin," Lucas groaned.

"The whole point of camping is to get away from people, see nature, not stay at a camp site with a
hundred other tourists, listening to radios and playing on computers!" Nathan retorted.

"Oh, and sitting on the ground, or going to the bathroom behind a tree while getting attacked by
bugs is so much better?" Lucas asked. "With my luck I'll get bit in the rear by a snake!"

Nathan just gave him one of his famous looks, the one that said, 'shut up.' Lucas threw his hands
up in the air and starting pulling things out of his back pack. Lucas couldn't believe that Dad was insisting
on taking him camping. He had never gone camping before! He knew nothing about nature except that he
didn't belong in it.

Kristin stood in the doorway and bit her lip in an attempt not to laugh, both of them were in a huff
and it would just irritate them if she did, but god they were funny. Nathan was insisting on this little father
and son trip, while Lucas was equally determined to make a fuss. She was only glad that she wasn't going
with them. Thank god for small miracles. Truth be told, she was a city girl, and camping was not her idea
of fun. Living on seaQuest was as close to roughing it as she wanted to get.

"So what time do I have to get you to the airport tomorrow?" Nathan asked her.

"I need to be there by 9 am." she said. "I can't wait to see Cynthia."

"I still don't understand why I can't go to California with Mom," Lucas complained.

"Lucas, do you really think hanging out with two women for a week shopping and going to the spa
will actually be more fun?" Nathan asked.

Lucas thought about that for a minute and then turned with a huff and left the room. Nathan
looked at Kristin and shook his head.

"I thought he'd be excited about this," he said. "He's acting like I'm dragging him back to the
dentist or something. I don't get it."

"Nathan, he's a city boy. You are taking him totally out of his element, not to mention he's going
to have to leave all of his computers and gizmos behind. You might as well just cut off the boy right arm,"
she smiled.

"I can't believe he's never been camping!"

"We both know that there are a lot of things he's never done. It's not his fault," she said calmly.

"I just thought it would be a good thing for the two of us to do while you were gone. It's the last
week of shore leave, and now that he's finally out of that wheel chair and his cast is off, I thought it'd be
good for him to get some fresh air and see the mountains. I never expected him to act like this."

"Well," Kristin said, "you don't have to go. It's not too late to call it off."

"Oh no!" Nathan said. "That boy's going camping even if I have to drag him. He's going to have
fun whether he wants to or not! He needs to learn a bit about nature, and considering he's spent almost
every waking moment for the past five weeks finishing the program for seaQuest, it'll even do him good to
go without his computer for a while."

"I swear, I don't know who's more stubborn, him or you," Kristin joked.

She broke down with the giggles when Lucas walked back into the room after hearing her
comment. Both Lucas and Nathan chimed in at the same time saying, "He is!"


Nathan loaded Kristin's bags into the trunk of the car. He noticed that her idea of packing closely
resembled Lucas'. Honestly, she had taken everything but the kitchen sink! At least her luggage was
stackable and on wheels, otherwise she'd never be able to handle it all. He closed the trunk in time to see
both Kristin and Lucas coming down the stairs. He noticed that they both looked a little glum. He
wondered what was wrong.

Everyone got into the car and he started the engine. The drive to the air port was a relatively quiet
one. Nathan had tried to start a conversation several times, but it was obvious that his two passengers
didn't want to talk.

Halfway to the air port Nathan accidentally picked up a thought from Lucas. He was surprised to
find that the boy was truly sad that Kristin was leaving for a week. Nathan looked into the rear view mirror
at him. Lucas was staring out the window, arms folded across his chest, seemingly lost in his own

Nathan knew that Lucas and Kristin had become very close these past few months. Not that they
weren't close before, but with Lucas hurt and staying at home with Kristin day in and day out, their bond
had really become cemented. Kristin had taken care of Lucas, not to mention kept him entertained. They
had had a lot of fun baking different recipes from her new cook book, cookies being their specialty.

There had been a time when Lucas mainly needed Nathan when life got rough, but now he had no
problems about going to Kristin for comfort or help. Nathan was ashamed to admit to himself that he was a
little jealous. Of course he wanted the two to be close, but he also liked knowing that Lucas needed him.

There had been a couple of times when he wished he hadn't had to work so much these past weeks. But at
least he and Lucas would have the whole next week to spend together before returning to duty. He was
glad they had finished ahead of schedule.

Nathan pulled into the airport parking lot. He and Lucas walked Kristin to the terminal. She
turned to face them.

Nathan smiled at her and gave her a big hug, and then a kiss. "You be careful out there. Have a
good time and tell Cynthia I said hello."

"I will," she replied. "You two behave yourselves, and take care of each other."

She saw that Lucas had his hands in his pockets and was looking at the floor. She stepped over to
him and hugged him tightly. She kissed him on the cheek and said, "Be good, and listen to your father."
Lucas nodded at her.

"I love you," she said, "and I'll be back before you know it."

Lucas just nodded again, then looked quickly back at the floor. Kristin smiled in understanding at
both him and Nathan.

"Make sure he gets plenty of sleep, and that he eats," Kristin told Nathan.

"Mom," Lucas groaned.

Nathan smiled. "You best go before your plane leaves without you."

"I love you," she told him.

"I love you too," Nathan replied, and gave her one more quick kiss before shoving her through the
metal detector. They watched her collect her things on the other side and then waved as she walked
towards the concord.

"Well, kiddo, we may as well go," Nathan said.

"Okay," Lucas replied, hands back in his pockets.

Nathan draped an arm over the boys shoulders and led him back to the car. The ride back was just
as quiet. Nathan sighed. Lucas was slowly becoming his old self again, but it had been a long process that
still wasn't over yet. He had his quick wit and sarcasm back, along with his stubbornness, but he was still a
touch on the needy side. The nightmares had returned for a while, but luckily, they only lasted for about a

Lucas had really seemed to start to return to normal when Lawrence had been convicted of two
counts of attempted murder, for him and Lucas, and then one count of kidnapping for Kristin. Lawrence
would be spending a minimum of thirty five years in jail before he could even hope for a parole. Thank
god Lucas had bee able to testify through a live video feed, that way he didn't have to go into the
courtroom and see Lawrence again. It had been hard enough for him just talking to the camera. Nathan
had sat next to him during his testimony and Lucas had been holding his hand so tight that it hurt for
several days afterwards.

Nathan looked at his watch. It was just about lunch time. "What do you want for lunch?"

"I don't care," Lucas replied.

Nathan needed to get Lucas to cheer up a little. He saw a Big Boys and smiled. He pulled into the
lot and the two entered the restaurant. The hostess led them to their table and handed them menus.

"We don't need those," Nathan said.

Lucas looked at him curiously, but Nathan didn't say anything, he just smiled. A minute later a
pleasant waitress came up to them.

"Hi," Nathan said, "we need two banana splits with double the toppings and extra cherries."

"You got it," the waitress said, writing it down quickly on her pad.

"Banana splits for lunch?" Lucas said, finally smiling.

"Mom said I had to make sure you ate, she didn't say what it was I was supposed to feed you,"
Nathan teased.

"I won't tell it you won't," Lucas said.



In his foolish attempt to spoil Lucas a little and score a few brownie points with the kid, he had
taken him to an arcade, one sporting the latest in Virtual Reality games. It was now two hours later and he
was seriously starting to regret this idea. Lucas was having a blast, shoving dollar bills into games at
lightning speed, and no where near ready to go home.

Nathan was amazed at Lucas' ability to play these games. He had tried to play a few and had died
almost instantly. Lucas on the other hand was incredible, literally drawing crowds of people to watch him
as he beat game after game.

Nathan looked over at the concession stand and saw that they sold hot dogs here. He decided to
grab a couple.

"Lucas, do you want a hot dog?"

"Huh," Lucas said, deep in concentration as he piloted his space ship through a meteor field while
fighting enemy ships.

Nathan was about to tell him he'd be right back, but then figured why bother. Lucas probably
wouldn't hear him anyway. He walked over to the stand and ordered two hot dogs and two Cokes, figuring
Lucas could probably go for something too.

Someone bumped into Lucas accidentally, causing him to crash into a meteor. He turned to talk to
Dad and realized that he wasn't there. He knew Dad had just spoke to him a moment ago, so where did he
go? He looked around and didn't see him. He felt the now familiar feeling of panic start to set in but
quickly pushed it down. 'He's around here somewhere,' he told himself. He took off walking towards the
bathroom. Dad was probably in there.

Nathan headed back to the place where Lucas had last been and saw that he wasn't there anymore.
Nathan looked around, trying to find which game to boy was playing now.

Lucas entered the bathroom. "Dad?" he called. When he didn't get an answer he tried calling,
"Captain?" since the men's room probably had at least twenty dads in it. Again no answer. He stepped
out. He couldn't help but think that something bad was happening. Had someone taken him? Dad
wouldn't leave him all alone, not after what happened. He quickly started walking through the arcade.

Nathan was getting frustrated. He'd been looking for Lucas now for the past five minutes. He'd
tried to feel for Lucas, but honestly there was too much noise and commotion in here for him to get it to
work. Finally he saw Lucas. It was obvious by the way Lucas was turning his head back and forth that he
was looking for him as well. He made his way through the busy arcade and came up behind him.

Nathan set the food down on a near by table and then reached out and put a hand on Lucas'
shoulder. The kid practically jumped out of his skin.


"Sorry kiddo, I didn't mean to scare you," Nathan said, noticing the frightened look on Lucas'

"I wasn't scared," Lucas quickly replied, "you startled me is all. Where'd you go?"

"To grab some food," he said, pointing at the table.

"Oh," Lucas responded. Dad motioned for him to sit down and he did. He drank some of his coke
and stared at the hot dog. His stomach still had butterflies in it.

Nathan stared at the boy. He felt bad. He should have tried harder to get Lucas' attention before
he left him alone. He knew Lucas hated being left alone still, but it had simply slipped his mind at the
moment. Lucas was okay with being alone in the house or on seaQuest finishing the computers, but
anywhere else he felt vulnerable, jumping at shadows. He had yet to go back inside the building where the
bomb had gone off. Nathan had to arrange for Lucas' things to be moved to seaQuest so he could finish the
work there.

Even with Lawrence back in jail he knew that Lucas still wasn't totally convinced that Lawrence
couldn't still get to him. The new restrictions meant that Lawrence only had supervised phone calls and no
internex access. Also, all of Lawrence's bank accounts and properties had been seized and put into a trust
for Lucas, which he would get when he turned 18.

Even Lawrence's visits from lawyers were supervised to make sure he couldn't hire someone to
hurt Lucas again, but all these safe guards did little to make Lucas feel safe. As far as Lucas was
concerned, Lawrence Wolenczak was evil incarnate and he would always fear the man.

"Come on, kiddo, eat up. We need to go soon so we can finish getting ready for our trip

"Yes sir," Lucas replied.


"Yes!" Lucas exclaimed as he watched Wolfman's and Juliana's armies fall. As he had expected,
he and Dad kicked the pants off of them with the SIM game. "I knew we'd win!"

"Good job," Nathan said.

"Actually, you deserve most of the credit. You're the one who saw the weaknesses in their
defenses," Lucas said.

"But you were the one who guessed what Wolfman would do," Nathan countered. "It's important
to know and anticipate your enemy."

"I guess we make a good team," Lucas said smiling.

"Yeah, I guess we do."

The vid-phone rang and Lucas jumped up. "I bet it's Mom!" Lucas was only wearing his socks
and he was moving so fast on the hard wood floor that he slid right past the phone and almost crashed into
the chair.

"Slow down before you put yourself back in that wheel chair!" Nathan warned.

"That's not funny," Lucas replied, smirking slightly.

"It wasn't meant to be," Nathan said as he clicked on the vid-phone. As Lucas predicted, he saw
Kristin's smiling face staring back at him.

"Hi hon," Nathan said.

"Hi," Kristin replied.

"Hi Mom!"

"Hi Lucas. How was your day today?"

"It was cool," Lucas said. "We had banana splits for lunch, and then we spent hours at the arcade
playing VR games. Plus, we beat the crap out of Wolfman and Juliana with our SIM game!" Lucas was
talking a mile a minute.

"Banana splits for lunch?" Kristin said, glaring playfully at Nathan. "I've been gone mere hours
and your already spoiling him like crazy!"

"I'm not spoiling him," Nathan replied.

Kristin just gave him that famous Westphalen stare.

"Okay, so I spoiled him. We had hot dogs later," Nathan said.

"Yes, and that's so much better," she laughed.

"How's California?" Nathan asked, trying to change the subject.

"It's lovely," she said. "You'll be happy to know that I only maxed out one credit card so far,"
Kristin teased.

Nathan just rolled his eyes. "Thank god you have your own money! I don't know if I could
afford both yours and Lucas' spending habits."

"Hey, I make a salary too! I pay for a lot of my own stuff," Lucas said.

Nathan just smiled. Lucas idea of paying for his own stuff was buying his own lunch at the mall.
The really big things Nathan paid for, not that he minded. Truth was, he did enjoy spoiling the heck out of

"How's Cynthia?" Lucas asked.

"She's doing fine," Kristin said. "She's actually thinking of opening an orphanage out here for
refugee children."

"That would be really cool," Lucas said.

"Yes, I was thinking that maybe we could help her cut through some of the red tape. You'd be
amazed at just how difficult it is to do what she wants. It seems that the UEO has several regulations in
place that makes it very difficult to it."

"I might be able to help with that," Nathan said. "At the very least I can try."

"Thanks," Kristin said. "Don't do anything till I get home, though, so we can talk more about the


"Well, I better go. We're about to leave for dinner," Kristin said.

"Alright, I love you," Nathan told her.

"Me too," Lucas added quickly.

"I love both of you too. Talk to you after you get back from your trip." Nathan and Kristin both
cut the connection.

"I guess we should head off to bed," Nathan said. "We'll be getting up bright and early tomorrow
to avoid the rush hour traffic."

"How bright and early?" Lucas asked.

"Five am," Nathan replied.


"I want to get past the city before the rush, besides, I want to take you up the Skyline Drive, and it
actually takes a while to drive it."

"Why?" Lucas asked. "I looked at the map, it's not that long."

"It's not that long on a flat map, but the drive itself isn't flat, nor straight. It takes a long time to
drive around the mountain tops. You should know, you used to go to the mountains in Pennsylvania."

"Yes and no," Lucas replied. "We only spent one week a year there, and we stopped going when I
was seven, so I don't really remember the trip so well, and once we were there, I was almost never allowed
to leave the house."

"Why?" Nathan asked. "I just assumed you would have walked the trails or something around
your summer home."

"Well, I was usually had black eyes and other bruises, so Dad kept me locked in the house so the
occasional neighbor wouldn't see. When we were at home, Dad at least had to make sure that the bruises
were in places that could be covered by clothing, but the privacy of the summer house allowed him to hit
me any where he wanted."

Nathan didn't reply, he simply listened and nodded.

"I guess five really isn't that early," Lucas said. He got up and went to his room to change. It
wasn't long before Lucas went to the bathroom to brush his teeth.

Nathan also changed. He was laying out his clothes for the morning when Lucas entered his


"Yeah, kiddo?"

"Uh, well, can…can I"

"You can sleep in here," Nathan said for him.

"Thanks," Lucas said softly.

Each crawled into their own side of the bed and Nathan turned off the lamp.


"Goodnight, kiddo."


Nathan had been driving now for the past two and a half hours. The mountains were beautiful as
always, and the morning air was crisp and clean. He looked over at Lucas in the passenger seat. The boy
had laid the chair back and gone back to sleep five minutes into the trip. Even with the seatbelt on he had
managed to wiggle onto his side somehow and had a thin blanket draped over him.

The clock on the dashboard read 8:15. He figured it be okay to wake Lucas up now.

"Hey, kiddo, wake up," Nathan said.

"Mmmff," Lucas said.


Lucas stretched his muscles and yawned loudly. "We there yet?" he asked sleepily.

"Soon, I thought you might actually like to look around a bit," Nathan said.

Lucas took a moment to look around as the car drove up a mountain road, twisting and turning.

"Wow," Lucas said. He couldn't believe how the landscape had changed from when they had left
the beach house.

They were coming up on a little town, if it could even be called a town. Truthfully, it was more
like and intersection with about a dozen buildings. Nathan turned the car into a little truck stop and parked.

"I don't know about you, but I'm ready for breakfast."

"Sounds good," Lucas agreed.

They went inside and had huge breakfasts, Nathan getting eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage, and
ham. Lucas decided on strawberry pancakes smothered in whipped cream.

"You have to admit, with Mom not here, our eating habits are sure different," Lucas said, smiling.

"Speaking of eating habits, what was the big idea of telling her I let you have a banana split for
lunch," Nathan teased.

"Sorry, it slipped," Lucas laughed.

"Yeah, I'm sure, more like you wanted to see me squirm when she found out," Nathan joked.

Lucas laughed, but he couldn't hide the guilty sparkle in his eyes. "So, what are we going to do
today exactly?"

"Well, we're almost at Skyline drive. I figured we'd take it north. Then we'll get off and park the
car at the car park. There is a place that we used to go to, it's beautiful, and a little secluded. We'll have to
hike for about a mile, but trust me, it'll be worth it."

"Why, what's there?" Lucas asked.

"You'll see," Nathan said.


"Nope, I'm not telling you. You'll just have to wait."

After they finished their breakfast they headed for the restroom before continuing their drive.
Nathan drove up to the booth to pay to get onto the drive. Nathan was surprised when Lucas actually
turned the radio off so he could concentrate on looking around.

It wasn't very long before they came to the first over look. Nathan parked the car next to the stone
rail and they both got out of the car to enjoy the view.

"It's beautiful," Lucas said, amazed by the view. "You can see forever." Then Lucas looked over
the side at the huge drop off and whistled. "It's a long way down." He turned to see Dad walking back to
the car. He grabbed something from the back seat and came back.

Nathan was glad he had thought to bring the camera. He quickly snapped a few shots of the view,
and then two with Lucas standing in the picture. Lucas then took the camera and took a couple of Dad.

"It's too bad Mom isn't here to see this," Lucas said.

"Maybe we can convince her to come next time. We best get back in the car. We still have a long
way to go."

They spent the next several hours driving, stopping occasionally to take a few more pictures and
just enjoy the views. Finally around noon Nathan exited the drive and took a narrow road deep into the
woods. It didn't take long for the pavement to give way to dirt and gravel.

"Wow, I didn't think there were any dirt roads left in the world," Lucas said.

"Oh, there's still dirt roads. Actually, new laws have been put in place that actually protect them."

"There are laws protecting dirt roads?" Lucas asked, thinking his Dad was trying to pull one over
on him.

"Oh yeah, people wanted to make sure that some of the landscaped remained the way it was, so
they put laws into place halting the development of certain areas."

The ride got bumpy as the road turned from gravel to just outright dirt. Nathan slowed down to
ease the drive.

"Now I see why you said the drive takes long. Going up the mountains you have to battle the
twists and turns, then you have to ride the brakes going down so you don't fly off the road, and only a
hummer could drive fast on this."

"Yep, that pretty much sums it up," Nathan agreed. "But we only have to drive for about an hour,
then we'll be able to park the car and start hiking."

Lucas nodded. He had actually put up a big fuss about this trip, but he had to admit that he was
having a lot of fun, and was suddenly looking forward to camping out.

"I'm sorry I didn't want to come," Lucas said.

"So does that mean you're enjoying yourself?" Nathan asked.

"Yeah," Lucas said. "I guess…I guess I just always associated the mountains with Lawrence, and
the house in Pennsylvania. As you know, those weren't exactly pleasant memories."

Nathan knew alright. He had seen enough of Lucas' nightmares of that place to know exactly
what Lucas was talking about.

"Well, hopefully we can make you some new memories to associate with the mountains," Nathan
said. "Just remember, Lawrence hurt you, not the scenery."

Some time later Nathan parked the car and they both got out. Lucas couldn't believe the smell of
the air. He was used to the smells of the ocean, but this was different, richer, deeper. Gone was the salty
smell, and in it's place was rich pine, earthy moss, and even the dirt itself seemed to have a smell.

Nathan popped the trunk and started pulling out their supplies. He had gone through Lucas' back
pack himself and had made sure it wasn't overly heavy, which meant that Lucas' laptop and music
collection would be staying in the trunk. He double checked the dried food rations to make sure they'd
have enough for the next three days, and then he checked that the folding fishing poles and hooks were all
accounted for. Finally he made sure the water purification tablets were in his pack. He had done all this
last night, but the military man that he was demanded that he do it again.

Even with just taking the bare minimums, the camera being the only luxury item, the packs were
still heavy, but they should be able to manage just fine.

"Okay, let's get your pack on," Nathan said. Lucas stepped over and Nathan helped him to sling it
up on his back and then tightened the straps so that it wouldn't shift on him. Lucas in turn helped Dad with
his pack.

"Well, here we go," Nathan said. "We have to go about a mile up and to the left."

"We're walking a mile up hill?" Lucas asked.

"Yeah, don't worry, we'll take plenty of breaks. At least on the way back it will all be downhill."

They started walking, Nathan taking the lead. Lucas was careful to watch where he put his feet.
He didn't want to trip on a root or anything. Ten minutes into the trip he was glad that Dad had insisted he
wear hiking boots instead of his sneakers. They helped to cushion the steps and support his ankles.

They had gone about a third of the way. Nathan wasn't even winded, but he was shocked when he
turned around and saw Lucas. The boy was puffing hard and flushed in the face, sweat glistening off his
skin. He stopped walking and quickly unhitched his pack.

"Lucas, let's take a break," he said. He helped Lucas to slip his pack off and set it on the ground.
Lucas sat down on a fallen tree and quickly drank out of the canteen that Dad handed him

"Are you okay?" Nathan asked.

"Uh huh," Lucas said. "I guess spending five weeks in a wheel chair and having your arm in a
cast isn't exactly the best way to stay in shape," Lucas huffed, handing the canteen back.

"I guess not," Nathan said. "Here, drink some more so you don't dehydrate. I'm sorry kiddo, it
never even crossed my mind that you might not be physically up for this."

"No, I'm up for it," Lucas said quickly. "Really, I'll be fine."

"Okay, but any time you need to stop and rest you just say so. I mean it."

"I will," Lucas said, taking one last swallow of water, then putting the top back on the container.

Nathan scolded himself in his head. He should have thought of this before. Lucas had only been
out of his wheel chair for a week, and the cast had just come off three days ago. His wounds and breaks
were healed, but he was hardly strong at the moment. They spent a good fifteen minutes resting before
starting the trek again.

Lucas never complained, but Nathan kept a close eye on him to make sure he didn't over do it, and
they stopped three more times before they finally came to the spot that Nathan remembered.

Lucas dropped his pack and just stared in amazement. The place was incredible. They were on a
large shelf made into the mountain, but the trees provided a block from the wind. The most incredible sight
was the waterfall. It wasn't overly large or raging, but it was beautiful still. The water fell for probably
thirty feet before it collected at the bottom in a small lake that then turned into a river that continued on and
turned into another gentle waterfall that that flowed over smooth rocks, so the water didn't fall as much as
it flowed down the second falls which seemed to go on for about twenty feet before it turned into another

"So, what do you think? Was it worth the hike?"

"Oh yeah," Lucas said, still panting softly. They both shrugged off their packs and Lucas
immediately started to look around and explore the area right by the falls. He reached down and tested the
water. It was perfect, not to hot, not to cold, as they say. Without a word Lucas started pulling off his shirt
and kicking off his shoes and socks. He looked back and saw that Dad was doing the same thing. He
thought about how long it took wet blue jeans to dry, so he pulled those off two, leaving on his boxers, and
then jumped into the small lake.

As he rose to the surface he heard a splash and knew Dad had jumped in too. He started
swimming over to the falls. The water here was churning and it felt so good against his skin, almost like a
whirlpool spa. Lucas watched as Dad swam even closer to the falls and actually swam into them. Lucas
smiled and joined him. He was surprised to see that behind the falls was a small ledge with a cave. Dad
had pulled himself out of the water and was sitting on the rock ledge, legs dangling in the water.

Lucas followed Dad's lead and sat down next to him. The roar of the water falling as it echoed in
the cave behind them was incredible. It was fun to try and look through the wall of water.

"How did you find this place?" Lucas shouted over the noise.

"Quite by accident actually. We were camping here long time ago when Robert was probably ten,
and our second day here Robert disappeared on us. Scared the heck out of us. We were looking
everywhere. Then and hour later a soaking Robert walks up to me and tells me he found the coolest hiding
place. After the urge to wring his neck passed, I finally followed him to this place."

Lucas smiled, making a mental picture in his head of the story Dad had told him. "Thanks for
bringing me here, for showing me this."

Nathan smiled at him, Lucas could see the love in his face and was glad that he had thanked him.
It obviously meant a lot to him for the both of them to be here. They continued to sit for another minute or
two. Lucas felt the moment was about to turn sappy, so he did the only logical thing he could think of. He
pushed Dad off the rock ledge. He couldn't stop the giggles for taking over.

"So you think that's funny!" Nathan said, spitting out a mouthful of water. He grabbed Lucas'
foot and pulled him into the water too. The next ten minutes was spent playing tag.

"What do you think Darwin would say if he saw a waterfall?" Lucas asked.

"I don't know," Nathan replied. "I'm sure he would think it strange. Ocean water doesn't fall
from the sky."

They swam to the water's edge and walked back to their packs.

"We best get our tent up and start a fire. We only have a few more hours of sunlight. Plus we
have to secure the food."

"What do you mean, secure the food?" Lucas asked.

"In the woods you have to hang the food from a tree branch so bears can't get it. Plus it's
important to place it away from the camp so if the smell does attract them, they won't come right up here."

"There are bears here?" Lucas asked. "Real honest to god bears?!?"

"Well, the woods is generally where they live," Nathan teased.

"But, it is safe to camp out here, right?"

"Trust me, it's safe," Nathan couldn't help but laugh. It still amazed him that Lucas could be so
intelligent, but still not know about basic things.

They spent the next hour and a half setting up the tent, collecting fire wood and stones, and boiling
drinking water to refill the canteens and use for cooking later.

"Uh, Dad, where do we go to the bathroom at?" Lucas asked.

"Just go behind a tree for goodness sakes."

"No, I mean when you have to do the other one."

Nathan handed Lucas a small shovel and the roll of paper.

"What's the shovel for?"

"Go do what you have to do, then bury it," Nathan told him.

Lucas just stared at him.

Nathan was about to laugh, but he could see that this was a serious subject to Lucas. "Go on," he
ordered the boy. Lucas still looked dumbfounded, but finally did as told. Nathan unrolled the sleeping
bags inside the tent and put the two high beam flashlights inside it. He stepped back out of the tent and
walked over to the food. Hanging it up was the last thing to do, but he knew not to leave the camp site until
Lucas came back. He didn't want to scare him again like he did yesterday.

"Well, that was a new experience," Lucas said, walking back to the tent.

Nathan decided not to comment on that one. "Put the paper in the tent so we can find it in the
middle of the night. Set the shovel by the fire." Lucas did as told. "Why don't you come with me so
you'll know where the food is too."

"Sure," Lucas said.

Nathan led Lucas upwind about thirty yards away. The food was in a zip up pack that had a
special strap. Nathan wrapped the strap around the tree branch and secured it in place.

"That doesn't look like a whole lot of food," Lucas said.

"That's because it's dehydrated. It get's bigger once it's cooked. Besides, tomorrow we'll catch
some fish to help supplement it."


"Come on, let's go explore a little," Nathan said.

He and Lucas walked around and took in the scenery. Nathan pointed out several varieties of
birds to him. Lucas also saw a lot of squirrels and chipmunks. He thought the chipmunks were cute. He
froze when Dad grabbed his arm and motioned for him to stay perfectly still.

Lucas' followed to where dad was pointing and saw that in a small clearing were six deer, two of
which were fawns, covered with small white spots. They were beautiful and so gentle looking. They made
their way over closer to them, moving slowly and quietly, staying hidden by the bushes. They watched the
animals for quite some time before for some reason they all became startled by some noise to quiet for
Lucas and Nathan to hear, and then dashed off into the woods.

"That was neat," Lucas whispered, trying not to break the wonder of the moment.

"Yes, it was," Nathan agreed. He looked up at the sky and said, "We should get back to camp and
cook dinner." He led Lucas back in the direction that they had came from.

Lucas looked around and realized that he had no idea the way back to the camp. "How do you not
get lost?" Lucas asked. "I mean, honestly, if you weren't here right now I'd have no idea how to get back
to camp."

"I know this area pretty well, so it's no big deal for me, but basically you have to pay attention to
where you're going so you can retrace your steps. Just be sure not to wander off while we're here, okay."

"I don't think that will be a problem," Lucas said. "Trust me, I have no intentions of getting lost
out here."

Lucas couldn't believe how starved he was. All the fresh air, on top of the hiking and the
swimming had caused him to work up one heck of an appetite. He watched Dad assemble the food,
cooking it in skillet over the fire. They were having chicken and vegetables over rice. When Dad tore
open the package of dehydrated stuff it had looked pretty yucky, but now that it was almost done it looked
pretty good.

"There are tortillas also," Nathan said, pointing to a bag sitting on the ground. "You can have
coffee, or there is Kool-aid mix if you want that to drink. Lucas decided on Kool-aid. He really only liked
coffee in the morning. He opened the container of red powder and tossed a spoonful into his tin cup and
then added water. Then he set two tortillas on each plate. Nathan spooned equal portions of the chicken
stew onto their plates.

"This is good," Lucas said, "I can't believe how hungry I am."

"It's the fresh air. It'll do it to you every time."

By the time they finished their dinner it was already starting to get dark. Nathan and Lucas took
the dirty dishes and washed them in the lake. They walked back to the fire and Nathan threw two more
logs onto it.

"It's so peaceful out here," Lucas said.

"I've always thought so."

"I always thought the only thing that could relax me this much was the ocean," Lucas said softly.

"This place is so different from the ocean, but it's every bit as relaxing."

"So, does this mean you now have new memories to associate with the mountains?"

"Oh yeah," Lucas replied, letting out a big yawn.

"I'm glad."

Nathan started to point out to Lucas the different constellations in the sky, telling him how sailors
used to use the stars to navigate by. Occasionally Lucas would ask a question or two, and then just be
content to listen. Nathan smiled when Lucas rested his head on his shoulder. He knew Lucas was sleepy,
so was he, but neither wanted to go to bed yet, they were having to much fun together. They talked for
about another half an hour, until neither of them could hold their eyes open any longer.

"I guess we should go to sleep," Nathan said.

"Mm mm," Lucas mumbled.

"Come on, son," Nathan said, nudging the boy softly. Lucas sat up right and then stood to follow
Nathan to the tent. They got comfy in their sleeping bags and Lucas turned to snuggle up against Dad.
Nathan smiled and draped an arm over the boy. He was glad he had insisted on Lucas coming here. It had
turned out even better than he had hoped for.

He couldn't wait for tomorrow to take him fishing. He wondered how Lucas would react when he
found out that it would be his job to clean the fish since Nathan would be doing the cooking? That thought
brought a smile to his face as he fell into a peaceful sleep.