Chapter 8: Heading For The Light II

Points of No Return

Spring, 1968. Simon Fraser University sits on a big hill. My old friend and cabin building partner, John Stephen, and I were attending said seat of knowledge – more or less. We were working half heartedly on our advance educations. Half heartedly because we knew, at some level, that the whole thing was bloodless.

Then, one larger than life, crisp edged spring morning, we were just about to head off to an early class when fate smacked us both firmly in the head.

The parking lot we favoured faced north, and from that spot you could see the entire span of the North Shore mountains shimmering in the distance. We’d climbed out of the car, slammed the doors, and were just turning to go when something stopped us dead in our tracks. Riveted to the spot, we just stood there … staring … wistfully; because we knew that right this minute in that wilderness, hemlocks and firs were bending gracefully in the breeze, rivers were coursing to the ocean, fish were struggling to spawning grounds, bears were turning over logs, and one small, unfinished, log cabin was nestling quietly in a glade. All on its lonesome. Waiting. For us.

Just a look. That’s all it was. Not a word. We turned around, climbed back in the car, peeled out of the lot, and that was that.

Paul and John are transfixed by the North Shore mountains.


More major decisions have been made in a split second than anyone cares to contemplate – everything from finding a mate to starting a world war has likely been decided by someone’s snap judgement. In this case, it was just two ordinary lads deciding to play hooky from school and head up to the bush, but it was, in fact, a decision that was to affect both our lives in every way.

John, and brother Jamie, both went off to Wildlife School to become conservation officers, and I started to look for crown land to stake in B.C.

The beauty of naivete is that it’s fearless. The possibility that I might not be successful as both a musician and a bush dweller never occurred to me for a second. It’s probably just as well.

Bushwhacking Brothers

A reunion (March, 1989).

Paul Lucas, John Stephen, Jamie Stephen
Standing comfortably in our own shoes.