The calendar turns yet once again as we put things behind us and look forward to the things to come.
Personally I have had my share of great experiences. From being named 2012 North Carolina Bowhunter of the Year and finishing second in the Dixie Deer Classic archery tournament during the same weekend to having the opportunity to spend time in several unique places in this great state over the course of the year.
Early on I was able to head out on a 22 mile expedition by paddleboard down the mighty Neuse River. Even though my experience included broken ribs it was both memorable and exciting. Camping, fishing, and paddling down the historic water basin on an unconventional means of transport provided the thrill.
As summer approached and after interviewing Brian Lockwood I set out to accomplish another thrilling pursuit. Brian fishes almost exclusively from his modified jet ski. I rigged up one myself and headed to the coast on three different occasions. The biggest thrill also come during what may be the most dangerous time. A storm came in on one particular trip in which I was fishing seven miles out to sea near Beaufort. Still, I was prepared and the safety measures that were put in place allowed me to not only make the trip but to successfully catch some fish as well.
The fall allowed me to hike down into the Linville Gorge area. Quite possibly the most beautiful time of the year with the leaves multitude of colors, the Gorge rewarded me with many great photos and an experience I had longed to encounter but never had. Sadly, just a few weeks afterwards the Gorge was set ablaze and nearly 3000 acres of natural forest were burned.
But we shared other stories too. Orion Darkwood explained what the outdoorsman and the prepper movement have in common. Drew Haerer let us know what is needed to successfully target a dream when he successfully completed the BASS Slam by catching all nine species of black bass from public rivers on the back of a kayak. Bill Kohls gave us advice on capturing that special moment on film so we would have a truly remarkable record of it for the future. We even learned a bit of foreign culture and art with the simple and beautiful Gyotaku fish rubbing prints.
However some of the best stories are the ones from our own neighbors and family. They both inspire and bring a sense of joy.
For instance, David Tomlin and his son Eli traveled out of country to bring down a massive moose. They also brought back a tale of father/son bonding. Another great story came from Kevin Morris and his son Brayden. Only seven years old, Brayden filled his buck tags in the first two weeks on two enviable monster deer with his father beside him for both. While I only hoped to bring a small portion of the special moments that times like these bring, I know there is no way to do it complete justice. These occasions are much more than successful hunts. These occasions are portions of the heart that are just waiting to be filled.
My personal stories involving my own kids are not necessarily meant to recap our experiences. They are meant to help you make your own or for you to reminisce on the ones you already have. I look forward to sharing more of my life and sharing yours as well over the coming year. May 2014 become a blessing to us all.