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Published: August 12th 2010
Someone asked the question the other day, “What’s the best place you have ever been?”. I wasn’t sure how to answer that. It’s kind of like asking “What’s the best piece of bacon you ever ate?”… Tough call…
I have seen my fare share of the planet in my travels, and by that I mean I have barely scratched the surface. And each area has its ups and downs, good and bad, beauty and sorrow. The overall experience of travel should be felt and I think almost mandatory for all humans. Mark Twain said - “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness” and it’s true. Okay, I am getting off topic…
It came to me with total clarity about 3 days later, “The best place I have ever been” and ironically enough I cannot even tell you the name of this place, but I can tell you the memory.
When I was 8 years old my father and grandfather and family friends took me on a trip up to a cabin in Canada. I do not know the name of the area we were in, I do know there were no roads, or any other cabins, only a train that came by once a week on the single track in front. The cabin was up on a hill on one side of the tracks and an empty ranger station in a large field on the other.
This was my first and one of my only encounters with nature undisturbed by man. I remember sitting on the back stairs 30 minutes or so after we arrived. As I was sitting there I heard a little noise and looked around. There not 6 inches away from me was a chipmunk. He looked up at me and I down at him. I had never seen a chipmunk that close before. I put my hand down and he came and smelled me, ran over my hand and up my leg to perch on my knee. We looked at each other for about 30 seconds and then in a blink of an eye he skittered away.
I found this behavior in many of the animals I encountered this trip including squirrels, rabbits, dear, animals you are accustomed to running from you coming right up and saying “hey, what up?”.
Only years later did I realize how special this experience really was, how rare it is to find animals that have not learned to fear the sight of a human. I think that most of the animals I interacted with were more curious than anything else. I imagine them thinking “What an odd animal that is over there waving at me… I wonder what it is…I’m gonna go take a look”.
I have been in situations where animals have been desensitized to humans from exposure and humans feeding them when they shouldn’t. This was not like that at all, and for me one of the most precious of all the memories I posses.
Sadly both my father and Grandfather have passed so the location of this magical place will forever be but a memory.
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