Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bush Whackin......sorta

As an adult, there are few things I miss more than being out in the bush. Having been raised in Maracas Valley, a river, waterfall or mango tree, were never hard to find and as such, the boys were always out hiking or bubbling pot or raiding somebody cocoa.

Hunting season was always a fun time as our neighbour was a hunter. The weeks prior to hunting season each October always found us youngsters tasked with "running the dogs," basically letting them loose in the bush (plenty to go round in Maracas) to run down gouti and manicou, get their scent. The dogs don't eat during hunting season unless they corner something so we had to make sure they were fit and familiar with the scent of their quarry.

Interestingly enough, once we boys were old enough to wield a knife without injuring anyone, the neighbour stopped gutting and skinning his own kills, preferring instead to call over "dem Johnson boys" to do the dirty work. I still can't skin reliably so deer is out but trust and believe I'll gut and quarter a manicou so fast, you'd swear it was chicken.

It certainly didn't help things when I started going to Fatima in the mid-nineties, quickly joining the scout troop there........1st Fatima Sea Scouts......the memories. Fatima was an active troop, feeding my outdoors addiction, always out hiking or kayaking. For a time we spent nearly every Saturday "down the islands" on Monos, and hiked often to Maracas Bay and Las Cuevas, but my most enduring memories always come from the frequent camping trips.

I've camped Caura river, twice in Toco, twice in Matelot, spent a week on Monos Island, a weekend in Paxvale Santa Cruz (which most will now recognize as a subdivision) and even camped Maracas Valley a few times. Fun times that I'd somehow managed to miss out on through the entirety of my twenties. Not anymore though, I've managed to locate a group of individuals in the Atlanta area that enjoy camping as much as I do. I've already been on one trip with them having spent the last weekend at a campsite on Lake Juliette 75 miles south of downtown Atlanta, GA.

Now that I've gotten my feet wet, you can bet your last dollar that I'll be out under the stars every chance I get going forward. Sometime in the coming days I'll talk all about the Lake Juliette trip but until then, peace.



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