The Golden Canopy

I was blessed with an amazing body when growing up, an ability to adapt to survive the life I knew when I was under 18. This ability grew over the years of my travels.  I started my real schooling when I was in grade 12 summer waiting for grade 13 to start so my school life would be over finally.

I spent the summer backpacking all over Europe with my best friend I have now known for over 40 years, but back then wet behind the ears teenagers, and his older cousin. Well as you would yourself given the chance, we enjoyed life to the fullest.  Thrown off trains in Spain, yes even on the plains, no kidding, thank god it was not raining.  Had a doorman tell his guest and her dog to stay away from us in Monte Carlo as we had fleas. Finding out about Shemales for the first time in Germany, gay bars in Switzerland, and the fact a can of coke back in the 80’s could cost the last 6$ in 3 guys pockets….Fun times as a now wide-eyed teenager.

From 90-91 I backpacked through Australia and New Zealand and that region of the world, let me tell you, Fiji is more amazing than your imagination could picture.  I met my blond-haired blue-eyed Swedish girl there, Maria. I fell head over heals for her, shame I was on my way home and she just starting out.  These parts of the world really showed me some of the most rugged beauty I had ever seen to this point.   I forget most now, my memories are mostly gone, pictures remind me only, but I can’t view the scenes anymore in my mind, that is all gone.  New Zealand was fantastic, I skied Mt. Hut a few times, once just after a 3 day ice storm , I caught a ski tip and tore my knee apart, not fun alone no medical and still months away from getting home, but hey, we were young Gods back then, i survived.

My mid 20’s was spent in Central America, Costa Rica in fact, stunning place, I lived on a french speaking farm in the middle of a jungle, with a 1/4mile private beach, a 300ft drop to the jungle below and the ocean.  We were ringed by the mountains, and you could set your time by the rains.  Happy hour was spent watching the lighting storm bring in the rain over those mountains, in the rainy season we had to walk inside for a little while until it cleared up.  Loved the place, but hated the snakes and especially the scorpions.  Ahh, got the ultimate new years story from there, top this anybody, i dare you to try.  Short version this is.

There i was taking my shower in the afternoon before going into the local party town Jaco Beach for New years.  My towel falls into the water so I ran into my room and grabbed the towel off my door, wrap it around my waist and run back to the shower. I never made it,the scorpion on the towel stung me right in the testicles.  Yes I said it, stop YOUR wincing, that was my pain.  And man I screamed like a little girl.  Ok I did say short story.  I still went into town anyways, my tongue swelling up from the reaction, so I set up the tent on our friends hotel property and tell everybody to wake me up before midnight.  So they did, and I woke up to find I had been bitten by a spider when sleeping, my leg swollen up like a balloon.  Happy New Years Everybody.

I have spent 40+ years camping all over Ontario, interior canoe camping trips for weeks, bear country 12+ hours up north.  I have all the gear for a sub arctic trip I had planned on taking, I still have my -40 degree sleeping bag, used 3 times in 20 years.  In fact I was about 45 seconds away from the park entrance with my son on our year ending camping trip when I got t-boned and my life changed yet again.

I think what I have always had in common in all my travels and all my doings is the fact that I did almost everything outdoors.  My passion is the outdoors, being in the forests, by the river and lakes, the deserts of the worlds both hot and cold.  I have seen much, lived well.  Embraced living to the fullest.

This past week, I was taking a hike in my beloved creek, we had had storms for days, and I wanted to get in there to see the changes.  I had my girlfriend with me, as I wanted her to see something I had seen a couple of weeks before, but she had been too busy to make the time to get out. Now I walk the old paths in the creek, not the new gravel path system the city put in to bring more litter into the wilderness.  Now these old trails almost never get used, relics of the past for the most part.  But for those that are aware of them they take you into a journey from another time.  This day we were walking the trails was in the  fall, a cold Canadian fall, wet nasty weather, or just perfect for a walk.  This trail section was taking us through a section where the ground was totally covered in a blanket of golden and red leaves, the trees above held what was left of them, the sun light shining down lighting up both the ground and the canopy above in a golden glow.  It was like walking through stopped time, where nothing moved or changed, the raging creek was the only sounds that could be heard. My little peace of heaven on earth.

A total sense of peace can be felt in this place as well for me.  This is good, as it is close and cheap for me to get to.  I will be spending much time healing in this place, and I will bring you pictures and stories of my exploits and what I find there, as nobody ever believes me when i say what we have seen there, thank god for a telephoto lens, and those that walk with me to keep me safe.

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