A few years ago, my brother Sam and I loaded up his pickup truck with our camping gear and my canoe and set out on Beese Road in Hosmer. We were heading to McCool Creek which is a small tributary to the Elk River.
At the mouth of the creek sits a miniature cabin, presumably an old hunting cabin. I say miniature because you have to crouch to get in the door and the cabin itself looks like that of a hobbit house. Inside there is a small wood stove and just enough room two people to sleep semi-comfortably.
We cooked dinner on the fire outside, shared a few beers and stories then shot guns into the night on the edge of the river, listening to the echo of the shots ricochet down the valley. We stayed up late that night, being brothers very close in age we easily kept each other company. We joked and laughed and danced until we decided it was bed time. After all, we hadn’t been canoeing in a few years and the water level was high. We wanted to be in good form for the mission, or brother-quest as we called it.
That morning we left Sam’s truck at the cabin and slide the canoe into the brown water of the Elk.
“Here goes nothing,” I remember Sam saying as we loaded up. I will admit I was a bit nervous. Anytime I share an experience like this with Sam, I feel an extra bit of tension compared to being with a friend. I guess, that is just the older brother in me, looking out for my kind.
We got about a kilometre down the river and my fear was slowly disappearing. Our parents had taught us well; we were nailing every corner with ease, we knew the angles and how to maneuver the canoe through the rough water.
It was a unique trip, just the two of us using the lessons we learned from our childhood. From canoeing the lakes in Ontario where we would spend our summers to the moving water of the rivers with our folks on camping trips, those times made us feel like naturals on the water that day.
So thanks Mom, Dad. This is one of many gifts you have given us, and we are forever grateful.