“I’ve been a sort of a loner all my life. I could easily be alone and do things on my own. I’ve probably seen at least a hundred movies and ninety-five were by myself.
“I was roughly thirty-years-old when I decided to go live in the wilderness in Northern California. I’d been living in Hawaii growing marijuana, and I was really, really good at it. As far as the quality, mine was way up there! But there was so much competition, and at the time it was so illegal. The cops fly over regularly busting grows with helicopters, so I just finally wanted to get away from all that and do something different.
“I stayed with some friends in Leightonville, California and told them my plan: I was going to go live in the wilderness up north about sixty miles, and arranged for them to bring me food once a month. They agreed. One of them gave me a kitten who was six weeks old, and I took it with me.
“I walked out into the wood, and found the old fork of the Eel river. That spot had everything I needed: a creek, manzanita firewood for cooking, and pine for the evening campfire. Even when the creek dried up, I found a spring not forty yards from my camp. It was magical. The kitten stayed with me the whole time and we became best friends. I named it Trinity because we were in the Trinity mountains.
“The first couple of weeks I was a little antsy because this was a completely different rhythm–I wasn’t used to being totally alone. But each day got easier. I really would do nothing all day. Just be with myself. I’d have a campfire, and would just look into the flames. And I built a little table with the wood of the forest. I had a little mirror that I would put on the table and sometimes I would just look at myself and make all kinds of faces. That was my entertainment. It was therapeutic, it really was.
“At the time I was reading Carlos Castañeda, stories about how his teacher Don Juan taught him about personal power. And as the months went by, I felt this personal power just growing within me. Each month it would grow bigger and bigger. Looking back on it, I realize why: I had no newspaper, no radio, no TV, and I was completely by myself so I had nobody to blame. Nothing to judge. I was out in nature and everything was just beautiful, and I fit in so well. The absence of all that brought my vibration way up.
“I started my adventure in May and ended in October, when it got cold. Trinity and I then returned to my friends in Leightonville. And as I acclimated back into the real world, all that marvelous sense of self and higher spirit melted away, unfortunately. I’d have to say, though, those six months by myself in the woods was one of the best times of my life.”
John is a 14-year resident of North Fork and is happily retired. He enjoys working on his home and surrounding land.
This is Us is a series of local profiles with first-person stories, written in a way we can get to know the people in our community on a little deeper level. Click here more information about this series.