Spring Fever

Since I haven’t posted in a while I figured I’d catch everyone up with what’s been going on in my life.

Winter 2015

Hunting

I’ll start where I left off – hunting season. Unfortunately my season didn’t yield any buck, I did go out with another friend for the final day of rifle and had a buck coming up to us early morning only to have another hunter shoot it right before it came up out of the ravine. I swear hunting here during rifle season is like entering a war zone; bullets flying, people trespassing on posted land, hunter honking to scare deer out from under you…what ever happened to share the love of the hunt and respecting the other? Another reason why I usually only go archery hunting here. So that’s how my season ended, close but no kills, hopefully next year will prove to be better and I can make some more connections to hunt on private land.

Ice fishing (or lack of)

In preparation for ice fishing season I bought a collapsible bob house from a buddy of mine for $50. For those of you unfamiliar with the term ‘bob house’ which I’ve learned isn’t the coined terminology down here in Pennsylvania like it is in NH, it is what us New Englanders call an ‘ice house’ or ‘ice shanty’ as I’ve heard some down here call it. Either way, whatever you call it, it’s the portable house you take out on to the ice to fish in.

I got this bob house and brought my tipups down from the attic and as the cold weather came waited for the ice to form so I could get my fishing fix. Unfortunately though we did have some cold days, the temperatures just didn’t stay cold long enough to form enough ice in my area. The closest place with enough ice to fish on (I only go out it there’s 6″+) was about an hour and twenty minutes away. I guess it’s one of those things that was bittersweet, it was nice not having a lot of snow to shovel and slide around in however it was a bummer not being able to get out and do the only outdoor recreation I enjoy doing in the winter.

Christmas/New Years

My fiancé and I spent our first Christmas together in the 4 years we’ve been together. With both of our families out west I took a good two weeks off from work and we booked a multi-destination trip. My parents live in Kooskia, Idaho so we decided to spend Christmas with them then go to California for New Years to be with her family. Two completely different lifestyles, my family prefer the calm much slower paced life of remote living, while her family is always wanting to be on the move, doing things, and being around large groups of people. I like to think I’m somewhere in between, I enjoy my outdoor recreation however every now and then I enjoy the amenities of a decent sized place where I can get some good food.

While in Idaho for Christmas I got my fair share of outdoor activities. They were buried in snow so we definitely had that white Christmas everyone talks about, actually it was almost to the point where it was frustrating. Their driveway is long, has multiple turns, and is downhill so when it snowed and iced over it made it impossible for us to get out and go anywhere. There were a good few days where we were stuck inside.

When the snow storms did clear though I got out for my first time wolf hunting. I have to tell you it’s an eerie feeling heading out into the woods after a pack of 6-12 animals that are 200lbs and made to kill anything in their path. Despite being out for a few hours and covering a lot of land we were forced to head back early due to a horrible snow storm that turned the sky to an ominous dark black cloud and was dropping some heavy snow with strong winds. Not something we wanted to get caught in while hunting predators.

We also cut down our own Christmas tree up on the state game lands. This was the first time my fiancé had ever done this, heck it was the first time she had ever had a real Christmas tree. So on Christmas day we had a nice lush conifer that spread the scent of pine throughout the house. I did get  pretty neat gift on Christmas as well that I intend to use on some of my various outdoor adventures; I got one of those remote control drones with the camera on the bottom. I’ve always wanted one of these but just never got around to buying one. It’s a pretty basic model but great for a beginner like me since I can crash it without having to worry about thousands of dollars going down the drain. They definitely take some time getting used to the controls and the camera is ok however recording becomes blurry when trying to maneuver it from side to side. Either way I’ll spend some time practicing with this and hopefully get some nice mountain aerial shots this summer.

California was definitely action packed, almost to the point where it’s easy to get pretty worn out. Going from a place where time stands still to a place where there isn’t time to stand still is a tough adjustment. It’s still fun though experiencing so many things I’ve never done before. While there we went to San Francisco, a place that I probably can say I have no desire to ever visit again; too expensive, too many people, and just all around not my lifestyle.

On our way there from San Diego though we did stop at a really neat town that I liked called Solvang, it was a town where all the buildings where in Dutch architecture. Additionally we stopped at an amazing place called Hearst Castle, what a piece of work. The mansion was enormous and sat atop a beautiful mountain overlooking the ocean. It was a very pricey place to visit (as is much of California) but definitely worth seeing.

Another thing that was great trying for the first time was Korean BBQ. Being a huge steak eater this was right up my alley. The sauce used for dipping is really something, I’m hoping I can find the recipe for it somewhere online. That’s more than I can say for the ‘Dim Sum’ they had me try, a Chinese food (and not that China Buffet type Chinese food) I will openly oppose if anyone every tries offering me it again. Overall, even though I didn’t care for some of the things we did there I know they all mean well and just want to share their lifestyle with me.

So that’s everything I’ve slacked on blogging about the past couple months. I definitely cliff noted a lot of my experiences since I could easily make this a 10,000 word post that no one would ever read if I gave the full details on the past couple months. I’ll try to be more regular moving forward and post at least once a month. I’m getting anxious to get out on that kayak again and start posting some more stories about being on the water!

Archery Season – Parker Sidekick Extreme Review

It’s been a while since I last posted, just been so busy with work. I actually have some GoPro footage I’ll try to upload sometime soon of some fishing I did in the creek over the summer as well as a high ropes course I did with my fiancé. I do think my kayaking days are done with for the season unfortunately so time to transition to another one of my favorite sports, archery hunting.

Most years my father comes down to PA and we go scouting a few weeks before the season and go hunting together on some land owned by a buddy of his, this year however he wasn’t able to make it down. This will be the first year I’ve scouted and hunted completely on my own. Makes it a bit more difficult when the only option I have for land to hunt on is the state game lands since it’s usually loaded with other hunters. Luckily there aren’t as many archery hunters as there are rifle so the woods aren’t flooded with other hunters yet.

This year a buddy of mine who loves eating venison but has never hunted himself wanted to get into the sport. I upgraded my bow to a Parker and let him use my old PSE from when I was younger. This was the first Parker bow I’ve ever gotten and man do I love it.

My Parker Sidekick Extreme Review

Parker Sidekick Extreme Review
Parker Sidekick Extreme

It’s so smooth and dead on, puts one arrow right on top of the other. I’ve extended my kill range by an additional 20 yards with this new bow, though I hope I don’t have to shoot that far. The model is actually a youth model that is no longer in production; the Sidekick Extreme. I’m a smaller guy so this works great for me.

My Parker Sidekick Extreme review would place it above my old PSE. I liked my PSE however it just never had the power and consistency that this bow has. There’s a 20lb range (40lb – 60lb) on the pull weight on this Parker too which is great not to mention the ease of changing the draw length. Usually you’d need to go to an archery shop to adjust the pull length but to change it here it’s just a matter of moving a screw to set a new draw length. The length adjusts from 18″- 28″, mine currently is set at 26″.

The laminated ring around the sites its good for channeling a light toward my pins too, it’s not a life changer but still nice. There’s also a level on the site, I haven’t really needed to use it nor probably ever will but for someone who does they may find it beneficial. Additionally the rest is so much better than my PSE, previously if my bow was tilted anyway aside from straight up the arrow would fall of it. This rest holds my arrow in place regardless of the angle.

The only downside I’d say about this bow is that the sites seemed require some odd sized hex key to adjust. I went through every size I had both metric & standard and couldn’t find the right fit. I eventually went to Ace Hardware, brought my bow in, and just sat there going through their hex sets until I finally found ones that fit.

Overall for anyone looking for a bow for either their kid or themselves if they have a smaller framed stature then I’d highly recommend this bow. This bow is being discontinued though so most archery stores are moving them to clearance to make room for newer models. I got mine at Dicks, however they are no longer selling them. Cabela’s still has them in stock and is selling them here.

Back to my hunting season so far, opening day here was horrendous. It takes a lot to keep me out of the woods but opening day was one of those days that was just relentless with the cold weather, the heavy sleet & rain, and the whipping winds. I got dressed from head to toe in warm gear layered over my HECS suit, packed my bag and stepped outside to see how unbearable it would be for hunting. Had it not been for the extreme winds I would have toughed the cold and rain but the combination of all three was too much even for me to go.

The following weekend was much nicer therefore we both went out. We brought out climbers that I showed him how to use a couple weeks earlier in the ‘hunting 101′ training I gave him running through how to shoot the bow, where to aim on the animal, what he can shoot and what he can’t, and how to use a climber. We were set up about 70 yards from each other but I could still see his orange vest through the trees. After about 15 minutes of us getting settled in the trees I heard a deer blow from his direction, I looked over to see three tails heading off away from the stand.

Unfortunately that was all we saw that day, however he was tickled pink to even see a deer in the woods. It’s always great to get others interested in the sport and teaching them the ways of ethical hunting and what it means to use everything off anything you kill. I’m hoping that as the season goes on I’ll be posting some photos of our kills!

PA archery hunting
Sitting in my stand with my HECS camo & Parker bow

Why Blog? Motivation

Everyone does much greater things in life every day; some save lives, some encourage being brave, some motivate, some defend others, and some make significant sacrifices. I can’t say that I’ve saved anyone’s life or am anywhere near the level of accomplishment as those in the service fighting to protect this country and our ways of life.

I can however say I have encouraged others to finish tough tasks when they looking to quit and now with this blog I want to motivate. I want to motivate those who feel stuck in the same motions day in and day out: wake up, coffee, work, home, TV, bed, repeat. On those days that the weather is great, whatever chores you have can wait. Don’t let your life slip by you without enjoying natures beauty around you.IMG_20150528_180720_883

Whether you are looking to hit the gym, hit the river, or hit the trails. Make time for it.

I used to spend a lot of my time in the woods until I hit my early 20’s. I fell into that party/lazy stage where I’d ride the night out and sleep the day away on the weekends. This was tough on the body and on the relationships I had with those around me who weren’t a part of my ‘party’ crew. I eventually realized what was going on in my life and eased up, switched my early morning routine from downing Gatorade and aspirin to combat a headache to hitting the gym and taking kickboxing courses. A combination of new workout routines and taking mass gaining supplements to recoup all the weight I lost from poor diet not only improved my physical condition but also opened my eyes to those who were true companions around me, hint hint they weren’t those who were previously holding the beer bong for me.

I started hiking more and finding a new group of friends who were more into socializing without the need for alcohol.

In my mid-20’s I hit another road block, not due to drinking but due to my first professional career post MBA. I started working as an analyst in the healthcare industry which was/is very stressful at times. Hard deadlines and little direction led to me spending more time at work beyond the required 8-5 and even when I did come home the day’s problems were in my mind. I can’t even tell you how many times I woke up in the middle of the night with a bad dream about work. It was completely consuming me causing me to put less time into what I loved, the outdoors.

This continued for about 2 years until I started having health problems due to stress. My doctor told me that if I didn’t find ways to alleviate it I wasn’t destined for a good path physically. As a result I started fishing more, something I loved and just lost sight and time of doing. Additionally I bought a kayak which has turned me into a river rat. I can’t stay off of it. It not only is a great stress reliever but a very good upper body workout as well. In this blog I’ll share updates about my various times on the water and what I’ve seen if anything exciting happens.

My point to sharing my background is that sometimes it’s not the partying that brings you down but the responsibilities of being an average adult and not finding a way to balance your life. I want to motivate those reading this to get out from under that bone crushing weight of the stress to just hit the river, the trials, or the gym and let it all fade away in a beautiful sunset. We have one life to live, don’t live it for someone else or something, live it for yourself and find the time to be active and happy.