Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Making of a Rivergoat

Imagine this, you're looking out your window and imagining how cold it is outside and something catches your eye. Its a boy, maybe 12 years old on a mini bike wearing hip waders, an old boy scout backpack and a basket fastened to his handle bars filled with steel traps. That was me.. I'd ride the school bus home, hop on my Honda z50 and ride over the mountain via Ridgewood subdivision. At the base of that mountain was the upper reaches of Silver Creek....my wilderness. To my young eyes, it was untouched, unexplored and pristine. It was my favorite place. During Christmas holidays in 1983 myself and good friend Raymond went camping down on the creek. My dad dropped us off and was going to pick us up the next afternoon. We were not sleeping in the tent I had packed, we were sleeping in a cave. We had found a small cave on the hill above the creek that was about 10' deep with an opening of about 3' and an interior width around 5'. We hiked up to the cave, cleaned all of the leaves out, made sure something else hadn't claimed it as "home" and we moved in for the night. We set out a dozen or so traps and squirrel hunted the rest of the day. Dinner was probably beanie weenies and after we'd eaten went to bed in our cave. When morning came we crawled out and to our amazement there was a couple of inches of snow on the ground. Dad showed up earlier than expected, my mother was probably worried that I had frozen to death but he found us perfectly fine and extremely thrilled about the snow. I begged him to let us stay another night. He went home to call Raymond's mom to get her graces, he also brought us more food.. That night we had hobo dinners which is hamburger meat, potatoes and onions with butter wrapped in a foil pouch and cooked in the coals of a fire. Moments like that, the freedom my parents gave me, watching the movie "Jeremiah Johnson", the book "My side of the Mountain" and Boy Scouts all were ingredients that helped make me what I am today.I am constantly seeking the excitement I got from sleeping in a cave with snow on the ground...waiting and dreaming of what would be in my traps when the sun rose. God, I am a blessed man.