The Hespeler Hideout

I always wanted a fort and in the summer of 1974 at the age of 17  I
got one. The fact that it was shared with about a dozen other guys was
not a problem as it became our little hideout. A place where we could go
and drink our beer and smoke our silly cigarettes without being
bothered and of course entertain girls.
It sat on what is now Holiday inn Drive across from Jacob Hespeler High School and back by Hwy401. The beauty of it was the fact that back then Holiday inn Drive stopped at the Holiday Inn and past that all the way to Townline Road was nothing but Forest, Tress and brush, plenty of trees and brush. The only way in was by foot and that suited us just fine as the Police could not enter without us seeing them and by the time they did we could be
long gone. As for the OPP coming up from behind on the 401 they would be
as visible as my receding hairline is now. And besides, I think the
local Constabulary’s were quite happy knowing that we were not bothering
the citizens of the village.
I don’t remember who built it or how we found it, but it was there and on any giving Friday or Saturday night you could find us sitting around the fire and just carousing and enjoying the waning day’s of our youth, and if it rained, so be it as we had a good roof on it. One winter we even used it despite the danger of having a fire inside of it, of course trekking up there on a cold
February night was a chore but the rewards were worth it. So what brings
this story on, well let me tell you.I drive past the spot almost
every day and think about the good times that were held there but had
not set foot up there in almost 35 years, until Sunday. With my wife
visiting her sister and myself having a day off,and no yard work to do I took my camera and went for a drive and for some reason I pulled into the little
parking area and stood facing the hill that the fort was on, and I began
the walk up there. And the walk was just as I remembered, arduous but
enjoyable, and when I got to the hill and found the spot where the fort had stood I felt peaceful. I thought of friends that had were no longer with us and
friends that I never see but for some reason I saw them there. I saw the fort, even though it was long gone, I saw the fires and I saw the forest. I know it sounds corny but I enjoyed those 20 minutes I spent there like none that I have in a long time. And as I left, reality hit me as I looked around and saw an open field., industrial malls,factory’s and a busy road that at one time was deep in trees and dirt and steeped in nostalgia.So Why did we stop going to the fort? I guess we thought we outgrew it, but now I am not so sure.

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