A Grand-daughter’s Memoir

by Tessa Clifford

Cliffland is a very special place to me. It is a large forest with a 1250 acre lot of beautiful hiking trails that is owned by my grandparents. It is an ecologically protected land for almost 1000 years! I have many memories of my childhood here!

I can remember playing in the forest with my brother, climbing big rocks and splashing in the waterfall during the spring when the ice had started to melt. I was a very imaginative kid and being at Cliffland helped my imagination grow. I loved to explore and loved the freedom and adventures I had at Cliffland, I still do. Now that I am a bit older I love to watch my little cousin run around and explore Cliffland just as I did.

Children at waterfall, photo: TKMarsh

Cliffland offered me many opportunities for adventure. There is a clearing where my uncle had set up a tipi. I used to pretend I lived in the tipi, hunting for my food in the forest. Me and my brother would climb rocks trying to see who could find the biggest one, or we would jump around and splash in the stream that trickled down from the waterfall, playing in the mud and splashing each other with water. Sometimes we would collect flowers that my grandma would put in a vase or leaves that we would press. I loved collecting cattails from the edge of the pond during the fall and watching them explode with their fluffy seeds that would float through the air and looked magical as they drifted to the ground. These were experiences that I could not have had in the city.

As a child growing up in the city, I always had to stay in an adults sight. I could never run too far ahead or go somewhere without an adult. However at Cliffland I was able to run free! There were no worries of me running to far ahead or my parents not being able to see me. The feeling of independence was something so exciting. I would run as fast and as far as I could down the trails, only happy once I could no longer see or hear anyone. I would imagine myself as free as a bird! I would always hate to leave Cliffland knowing that I would not be able to enjoy such freedom at home.

Cliffland is still one of my favourite places to visit. Each season offers different things to enjoy! Getting to see the beauty of the snow sparkling on the trees and ground and finding animal tracks in the snow during the winter, the fresh smell of spring and all the animals and plants waking up, beautiful sunny days and getting to play in the waterfall during summer and of course the breathtaking colour of the leaves during the fall are just some of the many things that make this place so amazing!

For me, another reason is being able to escape from my busy life in the city. It is a place where I can forget my worries. Being out there gives me a peace of mind and I am able to relax! Being able to get outside, be active and enjoy nature helps me to clear my head. Not to mention seeing all the stars in the sky at night is such a nice change from the city!

A very special place on Cliffland is blueberry mountain. My grandpa takes us on hikes to blueberry mountain whenever we can. The trail to the mountain passes a pond that I remember kayaking through and a beaver dam that I used to walk on with my brother trying not to be the first to break through. We walk a trail named Tessa trail that my grandparents named after me shortly after I was born. The top of blueberry mountain is absolutely beautiful! I feel on top of the world! You can see for what seems like forever! I remember a special hike with my grandpa. I l stood on the top of the mountain besides my grandfather and looked out at the scenery below. My grandparents are very special to me. They inspire me everyday and are the reason that I have Cliffland to to enjoy! They worked so hard and spent so much time and effort to make Cliffland a protected area. If it was not for them, all the trees on Cliffland would be logged, animals homes destroyed and the beauty of Cliffland would not exist. They have a love for nature and want to protect it so that them and many others can enjoy it for years to come! They taught me that with hard work I can do anything. Standing with my grandfather on blueberry mountain I could see his pride and happiness as he looked out over the land that would not have been here without him.

Every place on Cliffland has a different memory. A memory that I will always remember! I am always so grateful that I grew up with a place like Cliffland! Many kids like myself who live in the city did not get that freedom to run and play outside in the wilderness. They didn’t have a place to get away from the city like I did. Now many children hardly go outside at all and spend a lot of their time inside watching tv. I am so lucky to have gotten to go through my childhood with such a special place like Cliffland to help me explore and to be imaginative and free! Cliffland has helped to shape who I am today and I would not be the same without the place that I still go to, to escape and enjoy nature. I have become more independent and imaginative, I have gained so much respect and knowledge about the wilderness and the importance to protect it and I have grown a very close bond with my family all because of this special place! It makes me so happy to think that this place which holds so many memories and special moments of my childhood will be around for many many years to come for others to enjoy as well.