Forgetfulness Leads to Unexpected Adventure
As the old saying goes, don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do for today. While there’s a lot of truth to that statement, if you’re like me you still put a lot of things off and even fun tasks or “want to do” activities get shuffled under a stack of “should do” activities. This is often true of outdoors adventures whether we like to admit it or not. For example, in a recent email exchange with my insurance agent I asked if he had been out turkey hunting. He gave me a half dozen reasons why he didn’t go and then concluded by saying he just didn’t make it a priority like he should have. I think we’ve all been there.
Over the holiday weekend I planned to get in some fly fishing at one of my favorite trout streams. The night before I packed my fishing gear and set it where all I would have to do is grab and go in the morning without fumbling around, possibly waking my toddler and irritating my wife in the process. I didn’t set an alarm but was up by 5:30 a.m. and in less than 30 minutes my truck was loaded and I was heading down the road. I arrived at my planned destination and went to the bed of my truck to prepare. The second I popped open my tote it hit me that I never packed my waders! I had wading shoes, my rod, and everything else I needed, but that wasn’t going to cut it. Being too cold to wet wade yet I had no choice but to pack up and head home. Unfortunately forgetfulness has haunted me over the years. I once went fishing without taking a rod and muzzleloading without taking primers among many other misadventures.
On my way back I decided I didn’t feel like going home and then turning around and making the longer drive back and decided my misfortune may be a sign that I should check out a stream I suspected might have a population of wild trout. It has been on my list of things to do all spring but it never seemed to make it to the top of the pile. That was about to change. When I got home I switched to a shorter rod and grabbed a pair of my waterproof hunting boots since the stream is small enough that waders aren’t necessary. I figured this adventure would be more hiking than fishing so I prepared as such except for forgetting, of course, to swap my sweatpants for a pair of blue jeans. I looked a bit foolish but I could make it work.
So I don’t turn this into a fishing story in a deer newsletter I’ll cut to the chase and share that I confirmed my suspicion by landing a gorgeous wild brown trout. It was only about five inches long, or six if I’m telling the tale like a true fisherman, but it might as well have been a state record based on my level of excitement. Instead of trying to hook another one I opted to do some exploring and look for other pools that likely held trout. I threw a few more flies but was more focused on planning a future trip for more serious fishing and also collecting information for the coming deer season. I walked for about a mile with a smile on my face the entire time as I wondered how a stream once molested by the results of inexcusable mining practices in the early 1900s could now be harboring a wild trout population. Apparently time, the efforts of local conservationists, and the will of Mother Nature conspired to perform this miracle.
There’s no doubt that had I not forgotten my waders one of my more memorable adventures so far this year would have never happened. I would have simply fished the same stretch of stream I’ve fished several times before and may have even caught some of the same trout. My unplanned adventure opened my eyes to many other things that I want to do in the outdoors this year and gave me a new sense of urgency to accomplish them.
Maybe there’s a new property or area where you already hunt that you’ve been wanting to check out. It could be that you’ve been thinking about asking a new hunter to joint you on a hunt but haven’t yet. Did you tell yourself after a miss last season that you were going to spend more time on the range to improve your accuracy? Maybe you vowed to get in better shape so you could enjoy hunting more this fall and improve your health at the same time. Whatever it is I encourage you to not just think about it and instead push yourself to do it. If you’re someone that likes working from a “to-do” list be sure to include some “want to do” items on it and consider putting them on the calendar as well.
I try to live by the mantra, life happens for you and not to you. Forgetting my waders could have turned what ended up being a memorable outing into a forgettable day if I let it. Something was telling me my forgetfulness reared its ugly head for a reason that morning and I believe my optimism played a big role in how things turned out. Don’t let the summer pass you by without checking a few of the “want to do’s” off of your list. The “should do” list will still be there when you get back.