Hiking to Heal – The Beginning


A rare photo of me with my brothers as children. 1979

As it says on my header, this blog is about “Survival stories of a directionally-challenged hiking hermit.” Although it comes rather late in the piece, this is actually my very first tale of survival. It is the one that began my life-long passion for the outdoors.

There are many reasons why I enjoy hiking. I often write about it being my escape from city living. This is not the complete picture though. The natural world is like an addiction for me. It’s been that way since I was a young child. Continue reading

Fear, Challenge, Pain and Joy – Conquering Cancer

A pink sunset over choppy sea

“You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living.”
―Zach Sobiech

There was really no choice. In the next room the skill of a complete stranger was going to determine whether or not my young son would have quadriplegia. If left alone the 2 1/2 cm intra-spinal nerve sheath tumour would continue to compress his spinal cord further and paralysis would be complete within a few weeks. But the surgery itself could leave him with quadriplegia. I tried to prepare myself for the worst case scenario. There was no time to feel. How would I tell my son that he was permanently paralysed if the surgery went badly or explain what further treatment was needed if it was malignant? He had trusted me as I handed him over to nurses to be prepped for surgery and I felt like I was betraying him. I did not tell him the possible outcome, only that he needed to have the tumour removed because it was going to keep growing. Perhaps I was wrong but I saw no reason to terrify him just before the operation when no-one knew for certain what would happen. Continue reading