The other day, I was out walking the dog in an off-leash area that’s just a long, narrow strip of parkland that runs along the river for a few kilometres. It’s a great area for letting the dog just run around, meet other dogs and just blow off some of his restlessness.

As I was walking barefoot along the beaten track, and looking in one direction out at the open prairie, and then the other direction at the meandering river, I couldn’t help but imagine myself a century or more ago, with my trusty canine companion walking along barely-travelled paths to town or to the next farm.

I could picture the enormous amount of work it would have taken to clear the land for growing crops, transport enough lumber to build a house, and haul water for cooking and washing.

I also felt an almost tangible draw to the river: I wanted to build a raft or grab a canoe and just float away to whatever adventure was waiting for me downstream, just like Huckleberry Finn.

While I could never build a sod hut or a permanent dwelling, nor clear and cultivate 30 acres, it was such a refreshing, relaxing afternoon far enough away from the city to think about the almost limitless possibilities that pioneers faced, as well as the hardships. That life would have held such exciting adventure.