Oh, there's been a few fishing and hunting trips mixed in here and there as well.
I've been doggedly writing this outpost for the better part of 12 years and it's been an amazing tool to connect me to some amazing people and organizations. Honestly my life wouldn't be the same as it is now without the opportunities that it has brought my way.
The guys an gals who continue to write on this platform know it's not the cool kid on the block anymore. It's far easier to drop a post on the "gram" and be done with it. I'm as guilty of that as anyone
Still I've had the feeling that I'm missing the depth of expression I can pursue here and with that, it's time to get back to it. Looking back at old posts I can see the changes in my style that allow me to have the voice I'm looking for. Without the hours I spent banging away on the keyboard over the years on this blog, I never would have gotten there.
And so with that, it's time to get back in the saddle. May the first couple miles be rough, but we'll be back in shape in no time at all.
In the summer of 2003, fresh out of college I was given the opportunity of a lifetime to live in Australia for 3 months while extending my baseball career in the land down under.
What an experience it was, as I fell in love with the country, the people and just about everything about Australia. The people were so giving, so helpful and accepting of this big, goofy and loud American boy on an extended international walkabout. To this day I have close friends there and cant wait to go back someday.
With the knowledge that the Australian continent was under duress from unprecedented fires, it was time to step up and help raise funds to help those in need in my former host country.
Taking the template of the highly successful #dozenfordorian campaign that raised over $42,000 in little over a month for victims of hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, anglers and fly tiers have banded together to launch #DOZENFORDOWNUNDER.
With 2 days in the books, we're going to break $4000 raised and it's only going to go up from there. Close to 60 contributors have reached out to pledge there fly creations, guided trips, artwork, photography and so much more. I can only anticipate it's going to grow exponentially in the weeks to come.
The program is mostly Instagram based, and while there simply search the tag #dozenfordownunder and you'll find all the offerings available to bid on.
If you want to contribute, host your own mini auction on your instagram page, set a starting bid, and end date and away you go.
All funds will initially go to the Yellow Dog Community and Conservation Fund to start as we'll find the appropriate channels in Australia with input from trusted sources in the fishing community in country that can help the greater good as well as individuals who have had their lives effected and work in the fishing/guiding industry.
Thanks so much in advance, I hope you can be a part of this amazing community experience!
Buddy, you're going to work like all the rest of us.
And so began a day of firsts.
First to wake up at 3pm
First to drive through a plowed frozen field, battle through 14 degree temps and brush in his first blind
It was the first time to open a waterfowl trailer, stare at 12 dozen goose decoys and say "whoa"
First to listen to the chatter of the guys as they discussed where the decoys need to go. Put three over there, 4 over there and 2 to the left.
Drop into truck and warm up for 15 minutes, and then back at it buddy.
First time into the blind, listening to the cacophony of goose calls and the flapping of the flags trying to draw the birds in. Hot apple cider, unlimited snacks and 3 layers of clothes got him through the morning.
First time listening to stories of old hunts, failures and successes. The building of camaraderie and community. And yes, you can swear once or twice....I wont tell mom.
The doors flung open and shots rang out as the first "taken em" of the day was called and the big birds dropped from the sky.
First time picking up a still live bird and screaming out, "what do I do dad, what do I do?"
Hold on buddy, hold on.
First to see it go so right, and then to see it go so awry. You just cant compete with live birds in a field 300 yards away.
Limits are a special thing and today wouldn't be the first day to see that happen.
The first time picking it all up, being an asset to the operation. 12 dozen birds dont collect themselves.
Then as we drove away, I asked my son what he thought of his first goose hunt....
You get to sit sidecar to a life well lived and a business well run from a guy that often says he's the anti businessman.
When going through this book, it often seems that Chouinard has lead three full lives with the adventures that he's been a part of and places he's been...let alone be at the helm of the leading outdoor apparel company Patagonia. It's apparent that some people function best in action, and I am willing to say that "YC" is one of those people
The articles and content from the pen of Chouinard span decades but the lessons are timeless.
Patagonia's stance on corporate responsibility and impact are central learning points in my life in business. Their ability to put their real dollars where their mouth is is inspirational at the least, especially for me in issues like Public Land Protection, Snake River Dam Removal and our world's consumptive culture.
This book isnt leaving my nightstand anytime soon. Like McGuane's "The Longest Silence", and Mcmillen's "Dry Line Steelhead" it'll stay there as constant reference material and inspiration.
For the outdoors man or woman, put this book under the Christmas Tree. It's the kind of gift that draws you in, opens your mind and allows you to dream a bit to places beyond and ideals that could change the world for good.