A Hike to Remember
Two young boys, a big ol’ dog and an imposing mountain make for a great childhood memory
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. ■