ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Books & Novels»
  • Nonfiction

"Wild Freedom... Chapter 2"

Updated on May 21, 2012
© Quill Collection
© Quill Collection


Do we have dry spells in our writing is a question that was asked tonight by a dear and trusted friend? What effect has the last book or hub had on you? What is the best way to get out of the slump especially if it has been a hard write and you feel trapped?

Often we as writers need to face the hard stuff especially if we are writing about something painful. Maybe it is something of our past, maybe it is something we have repressed for many years. My advice is to view it as a stepping stone. Once spoken to another you trust then you become free and can move on. Anything that holds us back can become a burden, a millstone hanging about our necks. But I caution all of us, never allow it to hold you back from creating. You have been given a great gift. Practice the gift.

When we write I think many start out sharing something fancy, we add the humor we cajole and make light of things. When we come to the place of sharing the pain and doing so in an open and honest way we become free, liberated and all of a sudden the unknown drops in. Ok now that I have written about the hard stuff, what comes next.

I think that opens the door to a brand new arena for all of us. We drop the old self, the millstones of the past and step into an exciting time. What to write about becomes the question. Step up friends and write about something bright, open the curtains and let the sun shine in. Open the door and let the outside come in. A little at a time and soon the old is gone and all that you can see is the words appearing before you on the screen. Write from the heart, the creative heart and see what happens.

For me I have already been there and done that. The journey is so different for us all. Come along now as I continue to write about this man Wilson and the adventures it took me on to meet the challenge he placed before me. The Fireside is officially open and I invite you to come along... above all know that you are loved.

"Wild Freedom 2"

© Quill Collection
© Quill Collection


It was late evening when I awoke to the foul kisses of Tannis the horrible. The first thing I noticed were the long shadows of the tall Bam Trees swaying and dancing on the east side of the tent. The rain had ended and was replaced with sunshine and a light breeze. Tannis wanted out, I had slept away the better part of the day. Another day without alcohol or drugs. I unzipped the tent and stepped out into a chilly evening but at least we were dry. Tannis made her announcement to the world that she had arrived.

The river had become very dirty and muddy after the rain. The need for fresh fish became the next quest. All we had eaten in three days had been moose jerky, beans and coffee. I cast out a line into the river, placed the rod on a holder jammed into the sand. I had set some snares in rabbit and ptarmigan runs and was hoping to have caught something. I needed protein. I started a fire and took the rifle and Tannis and I went ahead to check the snares. I found two ptarmigan who had been caught. My method of snaring was quick and painless and I knew the kill was fresh, likely caught during the day. Tannis of course was inspecting the area and proud of herself for finding the bounty this great land provided.

I cleaned the birds, covered them in butter and wild onions and placed them into a moulded river clay forming a ball around each poking a small hole in each. After a fire had burnt down I laid the clay balls onto the hot bed of coals and again built the fire. I fishing line went tight and I had caught a medium sized bottom feeder. Not the best sort of fish for eating but it would do. I placed it on a stick with salt and pepper and supper was cooking. After several minutes of housecleaning and laying the bedding out to air supper was ready.

Taking the clay pots out of the fire was a challenge. After they had cooled enough all I had to do was crack one open on a rock and inside was the most succulent meal one could ask for. A dash of salt and pepper and Tannis and I ate them both. Next the fish. The dishes were simple. Just toss them in the fire.

Across the river a cow moose and her two calves came out and stood watching me. Tannis of course wanted to swim over and take them on. One at a time or all at once. Her growls were fierce. There was four hundred yards of fast moving water between us and everyone was safe.

Again with rifle in hand and the need to stretch I headed out to the rapids and find a vantage point high above to survey how I would make passage through the rapids. I would be prepared this time. It was hard travelling along the banks as the river banks became steep so I needed to climb up to get a better view. As I stood at the top I could not help but think of Wilson's words he had left behind. "I will need to trust the river to carry me." The view and the roar of the river gave me an unsettled feeling. The current was strong enough I could not turn back. The far right channel seemed to be the one I would be taking. There were a series of several large boulders I would need to avoid. These I mapped out in my mind and planned the run over and over. Just where I would need to back paddle or reach out and paddle for all I was worth. The other four channels the river had carved would be out of the question. The rain had made this trip the most dangerous I had been on. There was a good 1000 yards of boiling water from the start to once again smooth water. I had capsized twice before in the other channels and lost much of my gear.There was still a Browning 770 semi automatic rifle laying somewhere at the bottom of the river and much of my gear.

Back at camp I melted wax in a tin can and sealed the lid tight on Wilson's journals and Bible. I took the non essentials out of my pack and made room for the ammo case. I blew up two small white garbage bags tied them off with fishing line and attached them to the harness of my pack and secured the extra lifejacket around it as well. At least it would float if needed. Next I oiled my rifle well and took some cords and made a secure sling across the top for my rifle. I was not about to loose another to the river. Night was slowly closing in on the day. I was as ready as I would ever be. All I needed to do in the morning was break camp and be on my way. The night was a restless night and I found myself out very early making coffee and running the route through my mind.

I uprighted the canoe and Tannis was reluctant to get in. A little persuasion and I shoved off staying as close to the south shore as possible. The last I recalled was my watch said 6:15 am as we started into the chute of the falls. Tannis ducked under the seat. We were committed and the ride started. The force of the water was incredible as I managed to get us past the first two rocks. The third careened us off course and the forth punched a hole as big as a plate into the right front side and we started to take on water. We were a little over halfway through when we hit the fifth rock that capsized us. I managed to grab Tannis on the way by as everything spilled out into the river and the canoe churned in the rapids. The ride was one I will never forget as I was bounced off the rocks. I was like a wet noodle in the current and thankful I had a life vest on. All Tannis was attempting to do was climb onto her dad.

Once we hit slower water the next thing to do was attempt to fine shore again. A few hundreds yards down we got caught in an eddie in the river and all got quiet. I turned in time to see the canoe coming right at me. I had to let Tannis go and get out of the way. I had lost my glasses and was hardly able to see but managed to catch the tow line trailing in the water. The weight of the canoe carried me down river. Tannis already far ahead fighting to get to shore. She managed to get up as I went speeding past. Ahead was a large dead snag and the canoe slowed and I was able to secure a line. The canoe was full of water and would be very heavy to pull out. I was far to cold to even attempt it. My greatest fear was hypothermia and I knew I needed to get a fire going.

Tannis was all over me as I pulled myself up onto shore. All I could see was the whites of her eyes and her foul mouthed kisses were welcomed. I climbed out of the water and though sore and bruised I had nothing broken. Down river a few hundred yards yet another dead tree had caught my floating backpack. The bright yellow lifejacket and two white garbage bags bobbed happily in the water. With some effort and feeling the cold taking it effect I managed to retrieve it and carry the waterlogged pack back to what would become my camp.

Fire was the immediate need. My so called waterproof matches would not light as the wooden sticks were soaked. I gathered up some kindling and used the small magnifying glass on the compass and the sun to get a small fire going. Within minutes it was roaring four feet high and the heat slowly started to penetrate. My clothes my sleeping bag were hanging on the dead tree and starting to dry. The tent was gone along with the food supply. Just me, in my very natural state, miles from nowhere and a shivering dog. Such was the life of a foolish man is all I could imagine. It is times like these you pool all your resources and take inventory.

I lay all the contents of my pack out on the sand bar. My rifle had managed to survive I dried it as best I could and opened the breech and hopefully I had oiled it enough it would not rust. Wilson's journals and Bible had survived and were nice and dry inside the ammo tin I had sealed with wax. It was a good day. Next was food. I set out some snares, tossed out a line with a bright red Rose Hip berry on it as bait. Turning my clothes every once in a while. The dark sky to the west looked like it would threaten another rain storm. Yes I would be needing some sort of shelter. I still needed to pull the canoe out and survey the damage. There indeed was a sizeable hole, all remnants of the piece which had drifted away were gone. I had my work cut out for me. That would be a task for another day. Shelter and food and something hot too drink were all that would be on tap today.

Once my clothes were dry enough I got dressed and started to look around for building material. The only tool I had was a hunting knife. I managed to climb the bank and find several sturdy trees, cut them down and toss them over the bank. Returning with armload after arm load of spruce and pine bows. The back wall of the shelter was made with several long poles lain across the dead tree and branches and bowes piled on forming some shelter. More bows for the bed and before you knew it I had a suitable shelter. I collected as much dry wood as possible and dug a trench deep in the sand to divert and pending rain which may come. I would be at least somewhat dry and comfortable. The branch I had attached the fishing line to started to wiggle and I had my supper at the end of the line. Fish on a stick roasted over an open fire. It was food at least. During my travels that day above I had found an old tin can and it would become my cup for drinking. The tea on the menu was made from hibiscus leaves. Bitter but hot and filled with vitamin C. I slipped into the sleeping bag and was asleep in a few minutes. Tomorrow would look after itself. Today was fast coming to a close and what a day it had been. Tannis curled in close and man and his dog bid the day goodbye.

Hank Karr...


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Always... great to see you again... do hope all is well with you and blessed to have you following.

      Hugs from Canada

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is another great story, Living off the land, what an adventure! Chees..

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Mekenzie... there is one thing about having nothing when you create a place to call home it all of a sudden become comfortable. Tannis was a neat dog and even though she took the brunt of some f my stupidity she still loved me. There is something we all can learn from our animals especially dogs. They are so forgiving.

      Glad you are along for the story... say hi to the crew there...

      Hugs as always from Canada

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Lifegate... not sure if I should say sorry... the edge of the seat is a hrad place to stay... thank you for saying hello...

      Hugs Brother

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Vladimir... Thanks for stopping and yes Canada is so very diverse and offers much in the adventure department. They were such good years I had in the North. I do miss them a great deal.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 5 years ago from Michigan

      This part of the story is so exciting. I feel like this is the closest I'll ever get to living in the wilderness. It is awesome to experience your story through your words. Such a canoe trip .. YIKES!! So happy you had the foresight to protect the journal and Bible and grease that gun. Wondering how you will fix the canoe. Your night lodging sounds cozy but isn't it prickly???

      You are a survivor and that is clear to see. Tannis seems to love every adventure .. such a good doggy.

      You've got my attention big time ... can't wait to see what happens next.

      Hugs to YOU!


    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Another "edge of the seater". You got me going--I'm ready for chapter three!

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 5 years ago from HubPages, FB

      Rolly, brother must be amazing place you live.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Morning Billy... I love this statement you made. "Nothing like brushing shoulders with death to make you appreciate life all that much more."

      So true it actually took me back to those crazy years and the foolish things I would do and so very true it did give a new prospective of life.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Morning Gypsy... thanks and good to see you this fine Alberta morning where the sun is bright. This will be another planting day. Might even attempt to drop a fly or two in the river and see if I can entice a few fish.

      Of all the years I travelled the river that year was the worst I had ver seen it. In hind sight Tannis was smart to hide under the seat...

      Hugs from Canada

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Living vicariously with you; great story and sure glad you made it. Danger for sure but what a rush, eh? Nothing like brushing shoulders with death to make you appreciate life all that much more. Well done my friend.

      Peace and happiness always,


    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and awesome. Thought that was it when the rapids started approaching. Took that ride with you and glad it was not actually happening as I am a poor swimmer. Glad Tannis was OK. You get me so wrapped up in your stories love them. Waiting for more. A hug each for you and for Tannis from Riga.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Jackie... Thanks for stopping and the reminder of the low shrub Hibiscus... The type I was refering to is the wild variety only grown in the Yukon and South eastern Alaska... Not the household type... Thanks for heads up...

      This an experience which I certainly had the pleasure or the displeasure living through. A man is tested in this unforgiving land that could offer so much and yet take even more. A place where you certainly want to keep your full wit about you.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      whew that was a close call. So pleased Wilson's journals had survived, as well as you and Tannis of course :)

      Hibiscus tea now that sounds interesting.

      Now fixing that canoe is not going to be easy, and what will the next leg of the journey bring... waiting in anticipation.

      Hugs from NZ

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      With you every minute. True or not it sure is interesting and wow to cook supper in mud pods I would have never dreamed it. Sure hope I never have to try it out either. Is that true about the hibiscus leaves? I will have to look up their benefits if so since I grow those.

      Well just a great read and I came here with sorrows and now have a grand time writing so I know exactly what you are saying there.

      Blessings from America