My brother and I used to do a lot of hiking together on our mountain. He was the one who showed me how to do it without getting myself in too much trouble. A little kid can get lost in the woods quite easily and I was a little kid. He was a little kid too, but he had a few years on me and he was always much smarter about these types of things. I swear, you can let him go in any woods you want and within a few days, he’ll have the entire area mapped out and a complete village built. He’s amazing like that.
But I’m not like that and that’s why I needed him to teach me how not to get lost and how to navigate around the woods. He would show me landmarks and points of reference for use later on when I ventured out on my own. He was a great big brother because he taught me a lot of stuff. Stuff I even remember and use today.
One time, when my brother and I went out for a hike on the mountain, we decided to head into an area neither of us had gone before. We didn’t mind that this was uncharted territory because that’s what the mountain was for. It was for discovery and learning. If we were to ever really own that mountain, we would have to learn every single part of it.
Anyway, the area of the mountain that we were heading towards was at the rear left corner of the whole piece of property. It was the corner that went from the cleared out camp area my father made all the way back to the border that was right up against the farm in Connecticut. It was a different kind of area too, because although almost the entire mountain was made up of cedar trees, the area that we were heading towards that day was made up of oaks and maples and even some spruces instead. What I’m trying to say here is that the land we were heading for wasn’t like the rest of the mountain. It was different and because it was, there was always the potential that we might get ourselves in trouble. That’s the way I thought anyway. But that may have been because I was scared of going places I had never been before.
As we arrived in that back area of the mountain, things seemed pretty safe. There were no surprises and everything seemed quite like every other section that we had hiked in. We had already entered the rear corner of the property and were steadily moving towards the rear border. The border that was right up against that farm in Connecticut. As you may have already guessed, I was excited to see that farm just one more time.
As we were hiking towards the back, we hit a patch of tall grass, not a large area, about the size where you could easily throw a rock from one side to the other. And in this cleared out area, there was a big green pine tree, big and green and very thick. Now having grown up and all, I know what type of tree it was. It was a Norway Spruce tree, so if you know what that looks like, you know the type of tree I’m talking about. Just imagine how thick a tree like that can look when it’s growing in a cleared out area in the woods. It probably was about thirty feet tall and was really, really healthy looking. To a little kid, that was a big tree.
One of the things I was scared of in the woods when I was a kid was bears. I was never sure if we had any bears on that property or not, but I was pretty sure I was scared of them. If you are familiar with being scared of things, you know that even if you’re positive the thing you’re scared of doesn’t exist or couldn’t exist, you still have a weird way of thinking that it does…or could. And as a little kid, it didn’t matter how many times my mother told me there were no bears on that piece of property, I knew there was a good possibility there were. Especially since I had explored more of the land than she had.
As my brother and I were hiking through that cleared out area I was just talking about, I heard something, so I stopped. I stopped dead in my tracks. My brother heard it too. I know he did because he stopped dead in his tracks just like I did. It was good to see that my brother heard what I heard because otherwise he would have made fun of me for imagining things.
Now, let me tell you, my brother and I just stood there. We just stood there and we didn’t move a muscle. We were in that cleared out area and we were completely exposed to anything, especially the thing that made that noise. It was scary.
We stood there for about twenty seconds when all of a sudden the entire top of that pine tree started to shake. It shook violently – so violently that I thought there was none other than a huge bear up in that pine tree. It shook so much that my brother and I ran for our lives. He looked at me and I looked at him and as soon as we were done looking at each other, we ran like hell. We got out of there so fast you wouldn’t even believe it. To this day, I remember losing my brother somewhere on my way back to camp because I ran so fast. I ran all the way down that mountain right into my mothers arms, screaming that there was a bear up in that back corner of our land. It was there and I knew it was because both my brother and I had heard it.
The only problem was, at that very moment, my brother was no where to be found and my mother didn’t believe one thing I was telling her. If I had my brother there, he could have backed me up, but like I just said, he wasn’t anywhere around. I didn’t know why he wasn’t there either and do you want to know the strange thing? I never did find out where he ended up that afternoon when we ran away from that cleared out area and away from that bear up in the tree. That day on our mountain.
And no matter what happened that day, I’ll sit here and tell you right now, we loved that mountain and the times we had on it. We loved hiking too, no matter if there were some particularly dangerous areas that we were mighty sure to avoid each and every time we went exploring up there after that day.