I hadn’t even touched down in East London in May 2014 and I was already plotting how I might be able to hunt in Africa again. That 2014 hunt with Patrick Fletcher of Hotfire Safaris was a success and did not dissuade me from wanting to return again. Not only did I enjoy some fantastic hunting with Patrick, but my best friend, my wife enjoyed some fantastic times seeing local sights with Patrick’s wife, Jennifer. Although Patrick and Jennifer are 15-20 years younger than us, it was evident that everyone got along like peas and carrots or potatoes and gravy. Life can get in the way. I soon had to have a second low back surgery. For the next 2 years, injury after injury set me back. Don’t ask me what the problem was, no one has explained it, but I’m glad my joints no longer swell up causing intense pain. 2018 was the year I had to make a life decision. Early in 2019 I would be turning 55, I had to decide if I was going to stay in the pension, or if I was quitting pre 55 and taking the commuted value of my pension. The main benefit of taking the commuted value was that my heirs would have 100% of the remaining value, that was not the case if staying in the pension. Quite a number of policy decisions at work helped me feel quite at peace to pull the plug after 28 years. December 6, 2018 was my final day as an enforcement officer with the City of Calgary. My plans were to hunt coyotes and get in better shape for my April 2019 return trip to Hotfire. If I could find a hunting related job, so much the better. So much for plans. I had been walking around with a loonie sized hole in the side of my foot since mid-October. A follow-up visit to the Doc got me sent to the wound clinic (no diabetes, I walk on the outside of my foot due to the enervation in my left leg after the first back injury, I just built up a callous which eventually sloughed off). I was prescribed a soft cast with a relief molded in, and no weight bearing. 3-4 months to heal. Too bad I had just purchased airline tickets! Healing was slow, mainly from me not keeping off it totally. I mostly wore the cast, but damned if I am using crutches for 3 steps to the toilet! I was a shut in to avoid un-necessary walking. Mid-March, a bossy nurse told a Doc to send me to an orthopedic surgeon. She believed that my foot would continue to deteriorate due to the uneven musculature and nerves. They also said they would not go to Africa, if they were me, as there was too much chance of getting an infection in the wound. I determined that I could manage that risk, game on! Somehow I was able to see a surgeon. He wanted two surgeries, the first to fix the wound, and prevent a reoccurrence, the second to reroute ligaments to properly stabilize the foot. I also started a hunting related job within those 24hrs. Talk about a whirlwind! April 7th I left Calgary and arrived in East London on April 9th. I picked up some supplies and Patrick and I headed for Hotfire. I noticed that there are more street beggars, but there are more street beggars in Calgary than 5 years ago. I’ll call it a wash. Arriving at Hotfire was like visiting my second home. Totally at peace, the bird sounds were awesome. It was considerably hotter than I anticipated. Our late winter and early spring had been unseasonably cold. It was about a 20C difference in temp. I really like the safari tents that Hotfire has. You can hear the critters grazing around your tent each night. It enhances your experience and the full feature bathrooms are only a few steps away. Some random Hotfire scenes. If I understand correctly, it is categorized as “sweetveldt” and can be quite thick.