I remember when I was young and I fell in love with the outdoors. I remember watching movies about hunting and survival and they would be the motivation for the adventures that I would seek in the woods of New England. I remember one trip in particular that seemed loaded with adventure and that was the 3 day 30 mile canoe trip I took with a bunch of other boys down the Connecticut River between New Hampshire and Vermont. We were a group of tween aged boys exploring islands on the river and camping at a new place every night. We carried all our food and camping gear with us in our canoes, constantly risking the chance of losing all our food and all our stuff. It was so exciting and it helped frame my passion for the outdoors.
As I interact with the outdoors of New England with more frequency now than at any time in my life, the hunting trips and fishing trips act as a sundial. They stand there fixed in place by location and season casting their shadow on my life as the seasons pass them by. It is the same forest, the same rivers, the same hunting camps, the same fishing lodges also fixed in time and place. No matter how much or little the places change from year to year it seems as if the only thing you notice is all the things that don’t change.
There is a comfort and familiarity with it all. We like going to places we know, seeing people we know, and doing things we enjoy year after year. These places, people, and activities become an anchor of sorts, keeping us from being carried off by the winds and waves of change. We love the timelessness of these things because we hate to face the reality that we can’t slow down times affect on ourselves.
I would love to approach any outdoor activity today with the same youth and vigor that I embraced that canoe expedition with so many years ago. Each time I return back to bear camp or step back into the deer woods or wade back into the trout stream there seems to be a new ache or pain that I didn’t have the year before. Needing to wear reading glasses to tie fishing knots now is just the reality I have to face. Watching my step while hunting pheasants isn’t just to keep from tripping, it’s to keep me out of the hospital. Packing a lighter hunting pack isn’t because the items are getting lighter, it’s because I know that my back can only handle so much.
Year after year I return to these places because I need them as an anchor in my life. I need to interact with the outdoors in this way for the health of my soul. I need to return to familiar things as a simple act of remembering. I love these places and activities for the timelessness they offer me and I hate them for highlighting the fact that they are timeless but I am not.
President and Founder