Growing Up Free

Last night, the wind whipped through the trees, flailing against the house. Each new gust stronger than the last. For a moment, I get a little anxious. Will my youngest three (8-12) be safe, camping out in the shed with their dog, Jesse? Then I have to smile at myself...

If your parents are pioneers at heart, it can hardly be surprising when they take you to a remote corner of Canada, trading the urban sprawl of Portland, Oregon for the relative wilderness of the interior of British Columbia.

I was 10 when our red and white Volkswagen Bus pushed its way through Fraser River canyon in 1970, my mind aflame with the prospect (necessity!) of wearing a six-shooter to school. A sharp lookout was kept on the surrounding cliffs as the violent, impassable river threatened from below. Would Indians attack before we met up with Dad who had gone on ahead, 3 months before, to begin building our house?

Such were the dreams of this young adventurer when a few short days later, the pinched quarters of the Conestoga were left behind for the limitless expanse that was my new back yard. What was that huge mountain towering over our property, there in Tete Jaune Cache, little more than a wide spot in the road?

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