Friday, March 20, 2009

My Own Hundred Acre Woods

My Own Hundred Acre Woods

I grew up in the woods, about a mile and a half out of town. Valverdant. German for green valley. Our actual yard was the two and half acre woods. Set on a hillside in a dense grove of quaking aspen and thickets of choke cherry and service berry bushes, it was its own little forest. Beyond the willows that lined the little creek was Hoefer’s timothy meadow ... home to herds of deer and elk ... on the other side of the back fence was my real Hundred Acre Woods, even if Lodwik’s ranch stretched over a thousand acres.

When you are eight, be it two and a half acres or a thousand acres, you are Christopher Robin and know it is your very own Hundred Acres Woods. You search endlessly for Pooh and Piglet, and at first worry it was a Heffalump when you spook a deer while wandering through the scrub oak of the hilltop. After home and school, I probably spent more time in my woods than anywhere else.

All my Heffalumps turned out to be deer and elk. I never did find Piglet, came close once on Pooh ...but turned out to be more like Smokey Bear... I did meet several Owls, some ptarmigans, and the yearly parade of grouse in the sage flats. The creek was home to frogs and snakes. Trees to climb and foxes to chase, what more could a boy want?

Whenever my Hundred Acre Woods was not enough, there was the Thousand Square Miles Woods just another mile up the road - Routt National Forest - and a short walk to Fish Creek Falls. Continuing up the trail there is something past the Woods, even beyond the Forest ... if you keep going ... you will find the ... Wilderness!