A person can never tell to what extent a particular experience will affect their life. Most people simply live taking advantage of what seems to come their way or as some of my friends, not taking advantage and wandering about doing absolutely nothing.
This great thought has come to me as I have looked back over my forming years. I was given so many great chances to have experiences that many other children don't have (especially children who grow up in the more populated areas of the United States). One of these experiences was being able to go out and live in the bush two separate times.
There is a small retreat center on the Yukon River called Kako. I'm not exactly sure why it was started initially though I know there was some mining done there, but when I went it was used in the summer as a place where people could go to get away from the normal life and hardships of the village.
The first time I visited Kako, I believe I was about eleven. It was fall and the few deciduous trees around were loosing all their leaves. It has been a rather dry summer leaving much dust around (leftovers from mining). There was only one other family there with children and one of the boys, Jesse, happened to be only a year or so older than I. We spent most of our waking hours together playing outside with whatever caught our attention.
I had two favorite activities that fall were making dirt bombs and sailing Styrofoam boats. Jesse and I would go down to the mining dredge hole and gather the fine dirt left over from the years of sifting. We would then mix that dirt with water until we got the perfect consistency. Then, we would make stiff mud balls and dry them in the sun on random wood pieces left over from past building projects. Once fully dry, we would set up a target and have some mud ball target practice. It was great fun!
When we got tired of the mud, we would run around searching for stray pieces of Styrofoam (also left over from building). These we would attach sticks and pieces of material (old T-shirt) to make sails. Then, off to the pond where we would sail our boats out into the "ocean." Sometime we would put our boats into the stream and see if they would make it all the way down to the holding pond. I remember one particular boat I was extremely proud of. We decided to see if it would make it through a culvert that ran under one of the roads. Unfortunately, it never made it to the other side. My best boat, gone forever!
I never got bored that fall with Jesse. I don't really remember ever eating or sleeping though I'm sure I did. I solely remember our adventures in the mud and on the water. Those were some of the best times of my life!