A secret place

I grew up, in what I considered as a child, a very rural area. I didn’t think living in the sticks was very cool when I was a little girl, but looking back now, I remember our neck of the woods as being ever so fascinating. We lived in the country and were surrounded by hundreds of miles of state game lands and state forests. And, as kids, we spent a lot of time exploring and playing in the woods. I’m sure that kind of upbringing is what gives me my love for cool, quiet walks in the woodlands.

We had a path leading from our back yard into some great woodland. Once there, we could go off in several different directions depending on where we wanted go. One place, we called, “Devil’s Canyon.” This is a very cool pile of big rocks, which from the top is a ten to 15 foot drop to the ground below.

We could go further on the path and turn left to go to The Ridge. Back then, The Ridge was a huge hunting lodge with basketball court, softball field, ski slope, ski lodge, pond, picnic pavilions, etc. The owners rented it to groups and we could hide in the woods and spy on their parties, or hang out there ourselves when no one was there. In the winter, we could ice skate on the basketball court or toboggan down the ski slope.

If you did not make these turns, the path from the edge of our yard ended at an old, washed out dirt road that climbed upward, very steeply at times, to the top of a mountain, known as Peterson Hill.  In the , we could hike to the top and pick wild blueberries and maybe see a bear.

I have some wonderful memories of Peterson Hill that deserve their own blog post, and I will probably write about them soon, but, for now, thinking about those woods made me remember my special place. 

I had a secret place that I could go to when I was mad at my or ran away from home. It makes me laugh now, because it really wasn’t so secluded or very far from the house. But, to me, the place was magical – a bed of woodlands grass and ferns as the floor, and a nearby rock, so big, I had to use both hands to roll it to hid things under. 

What I remember most about my special place, though, is that for several hours every afternoon, the sun cast beams of sunlight through the canopy of tree branches high overhead warming the grass. I could lay on my soft warm bed and watch the branches sway with the breeze and the sunlight dance all around me. In the winter, the branches were bare and several feet of snow covered the ferns and grass and even my big rock. So, although I knew approximately where my spot was, I could never find it until springtime again.

I was very lucky to have the woods and the streams as a backdrop for my childhood. I was also fortunate to have a sweet special place to go to be by myself when a situation warranted it.

Do you remember your special place?

P.S. I have no pictures of me or my sisters playing in those woods, but I know I had a picture of Carrie and her cousins playing at Devil’s Canyon. I looked through five shoeboxes and eight photo albums but could not find it. If it ever turns up I will scan it and post it.

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23 thoughts on “A secret place

    • First off peeps the blueberries only had a brief window ot time that they were ripe enough to pick. Perterson hill was a destination when we were horseback riding and no hanky panky ever happen with this sister peep. So who did the dirty deed up there. I do remember playing spin the bottle with some boys but kissing was the limit (we were only 11 -14 years old. Cindy may have been 6 or 7 at the time). Oops I remember Gary and I getting a car stuck on Peterson road wedged between two embankments and having to call a tow truck to pull us out but it wasn’t on Peterson Hill but at the beginning of the road just above Mrs Makins house and I was 17 at the time. We just were planning heavy necking at the time, no hanky panky till months later. Are you guys talking about this story and putting me in an embarassing situation here.

      • Ha, ha, ha! This is getting so funny!I was going to mention the spin the bottle escapade. I think I was a couple of years older (maybe 10 or 11)! It was a broken bottle and the boy I liked spun it and it hit me in the knee and cut me. I was bleeding pretty good, so we wrapped it in someone’s shirt or scarf or something and I had to be carried the whole way down the mountain and I still have my scar to prove it!

        I thought Linda might have done it there, but then she said she thought we were talking about blueberries, so now I don’t know for sure! Bonnie never said. So, I might be the only one! And, just so everyone knows I’m not really a super bad girl, I only ever did it once up there and it was with Brian – Valentines Day, 1976!

        • I remember the spin the bottle incident and you getting cut. However I didn’t know about you and Brian going up there. How did you get up there in February when it’s cold and snowy? A car wouldn’t make it and I can’t see you and Brian riding horses. Now we have to get the scoop on Bonnie and Linda.
          I also remember you getting cut in our bathroom and me passing out from the blood. And don’t forget the nail you stepped on and you and I had to get a tetanis (probably spelled wrong) shot. You seem to get hurt a lot.

          • We hiked up there! Huge whopping snow drifts. I didn’t think we’d make it! At the top, we rested under a grove of pine trees, and um, well, you know! Came back down and I made fried chicken!

            Yes, I did get hurt a lot. Most of those times, I was trying to do the same stuff that my older sisters were doing even though I was too young to do them. Then, too, I was also pretty clumsy!

  1. Sister peep, I have many memories of those woods. Not only the running away from home to the safety of Devil’s Canyon (clothes and food along with me) but of walking through the woods to Mrs. Makin’s house for uplifting words of wisdom and faith. And of course riding the horses to Peterson Hill and picking blueberries at the top. Once we saw a couple having sex and we played dumb and told them we were lost. Also, on a hot day we decided to go topless and were later chased by some boys on dirt bikes. We were much faster on the horses and could out manuever them through the woods. No damage done except for our pride. Thanks for reminding me of childhood days.

    • I think I was with you the time we stumbled upon the couple, but I do not recall ever riding horseback godiva-style! Hmmm, wonder how many other folks “did it” on that mountain!

    • Well, I just checked the internet for an answer to what you should do if you encounter a bear in the woods and discovered that the federal government says to stay calm! So, now you know!

  2. The Ridge was the best! They had a teetertotter that was super fun and sledding down the slope in winter was awesome too! I remember the rule was to always be on the lookout for bears. Never saw one.

  3. I grew up in a rural area in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky. We had nine acres of property – most of which was a densely forested hillside. I grew up running through and climbing trees in our yard and that hillside in my bare feet. I spent most of my time up a tree reading books. Our property was at the end of the ‘yard limit’ of a major, very busy railroad yard, so where we lived was anything but quiet. But growing up with those trains, I never really ever heard them. 😉

    • I guess if I heard trains all the time, I would learn not to hear them, but I gotta say, I love that lonely sound of the train whistle (in the distance) at night!

      • My mom lives quite a bit away from a major north south train line — but she lives at the top of a hill above a broad valley, so she hears the trains and anything on I-75 at night. It’s been cool enough since Thomas and I have been here since Friday that we’ve slept with the windows open. Last night I couldn’t sleep and counted six trains between 1 and 1:30 … But my gods, yes. The sound of a train whistle that time of day … it’s haunting and beautiful.

        • When I was young, I used to love having to stop for trains at railroad crossings. The longer the train, the better! The trains always blew their whistles going through the intersections! But, the coolest part was getting the caboose engineer to give you a wave!

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