Please don’t take my soul away!

I was once on a trip with a small group in India, and as always happens, the best places to visit are small villages along the route.

At times like these, I try and part company with the main group and veer off on my own, catching up with the rest later on. So I walked off and about half an hour later, I came to a little village…well, more of a collection of huts than anything else, with a well at the centre.

Soon as the people living there saw a westerner, they all clamoured around inviting me to their huts for a drink or to eat, which I humbly declined.

I got talking with a young guy….not real talk, as the guy couldn’t talk a word of english, but we sort of understood what the other was saying by sign language and a few words of hindi I’d picked up. At that moment, another westerner, came onto the scene, bristling with cameras.

Rather than say hello or try and greet the locals, he immediately started snapping shots of them with his camera. Now, I know in some cultures, taking photos is a definite no-no, and in some places in India, especially so. I could see the look of anger on the villager’s faces, but credit to them, they didn’t say anything. The young guy I was talking to explained to me that taking their photos is akin to taking their souls away.

I pushed him to get a more detailed idea of what he meant. At long last, he made me understand that they regard every human being as having a sacred soul, and that soul is to be respected. Who knows, he said, how those photos would be used in the West; they maybe thrown around and end up underfoot, the very worst of disrespect for a person. Or the photos may be on display in a place where unhealthy or immoral acts are taking place, etc etc.

The villagers asked me to explain to the other westerner that what he was doing was not good. I tried…and ended up with a bucketful of abuse!

Whatever, the moral here is that we should be careful when visiting peoples abroad. They may, and in my experience, they very definitely do not, share the same views as we have as regards morality or acceptable behaviour.


Bigfoot really exists!

I don’t know whether any of you guys has ever seen anything unusual whilst hiking in the woods, but I certainly have.

I can recount several instances during my hikes in BC that I have glimpsed a large human-shaped animal that somehow seems to melt into the background once you set eyes upon it.

At other times, and many readers who are regular hikers will agree with this, is that I have felt as if I was being watched whilst camping in such thick wilderness that nobody could get in without leaving traces.

The other thing I have experienced is hearing sounds which are not part of the night-time rituals normal nocturnal animals make, ranging from weird grunts and groans to strange scream-like sounds. having been a hiker for more than 30 years, I think I’m familiar with most sounds of the wilderness and these sounds are not what you’d expect to hear from moose, bears, pigs, etc that roam around there.

Ok, I cannot say with absolute certainty that what I have seen, but yesterday came the news that scientists doing DNA research on hair samples found where suspected Bigfoot or Sasquatch activity has been seen, have confirmed that the results prove conclusively that there indeed is a sub-human species that has been living alongside us for more than 15000 years or so.

Apparently, Bigfoot is a cross between a human and another ape-like species, and they say it is possible that the other species somehow managed to mate with a human female thousands of years ago, producing a hybrid we know as Sasquatch or Yeti.

My own opinion is that now we know such a creature may exist, it is pretty damn sure that the poor things will be driven out of existence, hounded by press, researchers and others.

So what can we, as hikers, the people most likely to come up against such creatures do?

My suggestion is leave well alone…sure, experience what you can from the sounds or sightings, but keep it to yourselves. That’s the only way to prevent endangering the existence of what appears to be at least, a harmless creature who likes nothing better than to be left alone.

Kudos to that, I say!