Thursday, November 15, 2012


I woke up at roughly 4am this morning.  That's not uncommon and I usually fall right back to sleep after glancing at the clock and hitting the mental 'two hour snooze' alarm.  This morning my brain refused to be put back into sleep mode however.  It kept running over the check list of stuff I had to pack, stops I'd have to make, and loose ends I still have to tie up before I can leave for deer camp after work today.  So I got up, poured a cup of coffee, and had at it.  This blog post will just be one more thing I can check off in my single minded drive to get the hell out of the city and back up to Reefer Creek.

Like a lot of folks, I have that love/hate relationship with getting ready to set off on a major trip.  Perhaps if I was a  bit more organized the hate thing might be mitigated but I'm not, and most likely never will be any more organized.  Trips where you actually need to be self sufficient and that require specific interrelated gear are usually the most stressful.  If a person has a kayak and no spray skirt, a cook stove but no propane, or a rifle but no ammo, then they are pretty much screwed.  I have a sort of half assed check list but my main method of remembering stuff is to mentally walk myself through the process of getting ready to perform the activity, whether it be kayaking, deer hunting, or skiing.  I imagine myself getting dressed, gathering my gear, and literally getting into my boat or climbing up into my tree stand.  It's worked pretty well and I've rarely forgotten anything crucial.  Yeah, I should make a list and as my mental acuity plummets in my later years I most likely will have to.  But for now I mentally pull on my woolies, pants, sweater, swampers, and orange wool coat, take out my rifle, load the correct shells, put on my safety harness and fanny pack with knife, rope, and latex gloves, and climb up into my tree.  I would just rather run this check list at 6am than at 4am.

Part of the excitement is the excitement of the new season.  Whether it's loading up the kayak gear for the first open water trip to Lake Superior in April, tuning up the ski equipment for that first run of the year, or hauling out the hunting gear, the joy and discovery and of starting a new season never gets old.  I fondled the old LL Bean '40's vintage hunting knife that my grandpa gave me, took a nice big nose hit of my Bemidji woolen orange mackinac with the woodsy smell and the blood on the cuffs, and checked the pockets of my orange Duluth Pack for forgotten treasures, both cool and disgusting.  Tomorrow night I will be at camp, listening to the old stories, drinking beer and eating the traditional burritos (we all hope, anyway).  Saturday morning a touch before dawn, I will be climbing my tree in hopes of venison in the freezer.  I am going to have to say that deer camp feeling trumps the first kayak trip, opening fishing, or the first time I click the bindings on the cross country skis.  It's as good as it gets and I'm outta here, destination northern Wisconsin and the 19th century, in about ten hours.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a calm, sane, relatively non commercia lBlack Friday. 

1 comment:

bonnie said...

Hope it's a good one! I had to laugh, my first day on a trip to Michigan I went on a deer drive as a bunch of us wanted to go for a walk and my cousin's husband took that as an opportunity to squeeze in a little hunting between his father-of-the-groom activities. I did come home with some venison, unfortunately not the result of the drive (we saw all kinds of sign but no deer until we were practically back at the house, when the gun was already unloaded & in a bag) but I'm still looking forward to the chili I'm going to make us for dinner tomorrow!