A Hike to Re­mem­ber

Two young boys, a big ol’ dog and an im­pos­ing moun­tain make for a great child­hood mem­ory

More of Our Canada - - The Way It Was - by Ken Warner, Green­wood, N. S.

When I was a boy grow­ing up in the R.C.A.F. Per­son­nel Mar­ried Quar­ters (PMQS) in Tren­ton, Ont., I spent many great week­ends hik­ing with friends in and around the town.

There were many places to go for ad­ven­ture in those days: wooded areas, the Bay of Quinte, the Trent river sys­tem, ru­ins of an old mu­ni­tions fac­tory and Mount Pe­lion.

Mount Pe­lion sat in the mid­dle of town, ris­ing 130 me­tres above the Bay of Quinte. Its sides were cov­ered by woods and bushes. It was a good place to hike, as it pro­vided a climb­ing chal­lenge and you were re­warded by an ex­cel­lent view of the sur­round­ing area. Be­sides, it was re­ally cool that there was an old 1800s can­non atop the moun­tain that you could sit on.

Dur­ing the Christ­mas break, I had asked my friend Mike Wed­dell, a fel­low PMQ brat (our fa­thers were sta­tioned at R.C.A.F. Sta­tion Tren­ton) if he would like to go on a hike to Mount Pe­lion. Mike said sure and he brought along his dog Bo. It was quite a walk from where we lived, through the sub­ur­ban areas and across town to the base of the moun­tain. All the time, Bo had to be kept on his leash.

Now, as I re­mem­ber him, Bo was a good­sized dog, a cross be­tween a Labrador re­triever and a Ger­man shep­herd. He was well-be­haved as a rule, but did have a mind of his own, and ev­ery once in a while he would drag Mike to a good sniff­ing spot along the way.

When we met at the ren­dezvous spot, Mike showed me his new mit­tens his grand­mother from Bri­tish Columbia had sent him for Christ­mas. They were cream-white wool sewn to­gether with red yarn and he was quite proud of them. I re­mem­ber show­ing him a new Scout knife I had re­ceived.

So to­gether we struck off for the moun­tain on a win­ter’s day in the warm­ing sun. We whiled away the time talk­ing about school and our class­mates, as we both were in the same class, stop­ping here and there so Bo could check out spots and leave his mark.

Af­ter a good long walk, we reached the base of the moun­tain. Now, there was a path that you could take, wind­ing up to the top—an easy climb. How­ever, that was not for us Scouts, no sir. We went up through the woods, Bo lead­ing the way, pulling both of us up through bushes and bram­bles some­times.

We reached the top af­ter an ex­haust­ing trek and took turns hold­ing Bo’s leash or sit­ting on the can­non catch­ing our breath. Af­ter a lunch of sorts and a lit­tle ex­plor­ing, it was time to head back down. We de­cided to take the eas­ier route of the path so as not to be too tired for the walk home.

Well, I am not sure why Bo went the way he did; I think he may have seen a lo­cal cat or maybe a rab­bit.

Down he went at a fair run on the side we had come up, drag­ging Mike scream­ing and yelling for him to stop. At first, Mike was run­ning as best he could to try and keep up with that big dog, but some­where in the bram­bles about

a quar­ter of the way down, he lost his foot­ing and down he went on his stom­ach. You know that didn’t even slow old Bo. What­ever he was chas­ing wasn’t get­ting away, Mike hang­ing on or not. He was at a full gal­lop by now.

I lost sight of the two of them just then, but I could still hear the yelling and scream­ing and the crash­ing of bushes here and there.

Then all of the noise stopped. By now I was on my way down, too.

Well, it sure was a sight, the two of them run­ning off, and I must ad­mit it was quite funny. When I got to where they both were, I found the two in a crum­pled heap at the bot­tom, and I took to laugh­ing.

Bo had wrapped the leash around a bush big enough to stop him. Mike was a mess. It be­ing a warm day, the dog had dragged him through melted snow and mud. He had small cuts and scratch- es here and there on his face, arms and sides where his coat had rid­den up. His red hair was all over the place be­cause, at some point dur­ing the trip, he lost his toque.

But he still had on his pair of Christ­mas mitts, mainly be­cause they were tan­gled in the leash. How­ever, they didn’t look so good any­more. I think they were okay, but they were just as dirty as he was.

I don’t know who Mike was the mad­der at, me for laugh­ing or Bo for tak­ing the short way down in such a hurry.

To be hon­est, now af­ter 50 years, I don’t re­mem­ber much about the walk home, but af­ter all this time, it still brings a tear to my eye and puts a smile on my face. Mike’s fam­ily was posted out to Bri­tish Columbia two years be­fore my fam­ily was posted to Nova Sco­tia. I miss Mike and his big old dog, too. ■

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