Sunday, September 9, 2018

sharp things

I was 13 years old and pretty independent and adventurous. I was visiting my bio-mom on Vancouver Island in the city of Victoria. While she worked during the day I would go on adventures. I took photos with a film camera and walked to the store to develop and print the film. I stripped a bike down to the bare metal, stripped and painted it and started to putt it back together.

One weekend we decided to visit an island known at the time as Barry's Island. We hopped into the car and rented some snorkel gear, loaded up the canoe, got some provisions and headed out. As memory serves the commute took hours. First we had to drive to the ferry, then drive to the second ferry, and finally drive to the landing where we loaded up the canoe and paddled what seemed like 5 miles to Barry's Island.

It was still pretty early, and as I remember I went off adventuring. I walked the entire perimeter of the Island. I nearly fell in a few times as there were sheer drops from time to time. I survived. We had dinner and they put up their tent. I was handed a sleeping bad and a tarp and told to figure it out. I opted for a modest lean-to close to the water's edge. It turns our this was not a good choice since I was forced awake by the high tide and the water lapping just inches from my bedroll.

Now that I was awake, and hungry, I urged the others to wake up. I remember Barry telling me to start a fire. Looking around I found an ax and started to make some kindling. Unfortunately I was 13 and this was a man's ax. After producing just 2 or 3 pieces of kindling I manged to but my index finger on my non-dominant hand. There was blood everywhere. We hopped back into the canoe, paddled the 5 miles back to the car, drove to either a doctor or a vet and I got 3 or 4 stitches (which I removed myself 5 days later). Returning to the island campsite a few hours later... we put on our wet suits and went swimming with the fishes. The water was crystal clear and there was plenty to see.

I do not remember much else from that weekend. Not even if we spent a second night.

The moral of the story if there is one... sharp things are going to cause some potential trouble when you least want it. Hiking, anywhere, comes with great risk and if you decide to use your tools like a sharp knife at a time when hiking back out could be riskier than staying put. Sure these things do not happen to you... but I'm not hiking 15 miles in the everglades at night to get to a hospital or first aid. Night time is a time for rest.

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