TUCKER HOTTES is planning his next outdoor adventure
Go ahead, take a break
That chill persists, and despite a couple days of freaky spring-like weather, we’re deep into fall cruising toward winter at a frightening pace. It’s been an odd few weeks of weather in the run-up and fallout from Sandy, but it looks like seasonal norms are returning. This past gorgeous weekend, I was out running errands and struck with the pangs of some serious jealousy as I drove past the Lackawanna downtown and spied a few fly fishermen plying their trade. It made me mad I hadn’t had the idea first, but with our shortened hours of daylight it was already too late to suit up and grab my rod. To you anonymous two, I hope it was a great day on the river — sure looked like it!
For my part, I enter a bit of limbo this time of year. It’s generally too cold and unreliable for camping, and with my work schedule and fleeting nice weather on the weekends, fishing is pretty much out this time of year. The snow hasn’t started falling yet, either, so there’s still quite a while until it’s time to hit the ski slopes. It would be crazy, however, to imply that there’s nothing much to do than brisk hikes or bike rides this time of year. I know many folks are grabbing their camo, throwing on extra layers, and getting up well before dawn to head into the woods with a bow or muzzle-loader, as well as oiling their guns in advance of rifle season.
Although I grew up in a rural area during which — only shortly before my high school years — school would close on opening day of deer season, I never had a chance to experience hunting. I’ve got nothing against it, and I know plenty of enthusiasts, but I just never really had the exposure. I also don’t know what the hell I’d ever do with a freezer full of deer meat, and definitely wouldn’t be in it for the trophy aspect (I catch and release my trout when fly fishing, even in rivers that have a creel allowance). Of course, that’s assuming that even if I started hunting, I’d develop the skills to be successful. For now, I’ll stick to the outdoor sports I know and the ones I’m still learning — but all you hunters, I admire your time spent cold, quiet, and still.
This in-between time of year, I like to do some organizing of my gear and think ahead to next year’s adventures. It’s also a good time to sort through photos and reflect on all the fun stuff that happened.
It seems like yesterday that I was picking up my first fly rod, or taking a re-canvassed popup on an unseasonably early camping trip. We had a strange year for weather, and there’s no telling what this winter will bring. Some forecasts predict an “above-average” snowfall, while others are merely shooting for “average;” one thing is for sure, though — even “average” will be significantly more snow than we experienced last season.
So, until the weather gets cold enough for me to ski, or warms back up for me to tolerate extended time in a tent or standing in a river, it’s back indoors. I’ll make sure I raise a glass to the hunters, but for now I’m happy to take a little break from gear, layers, and long days in the field.