Oh The [New] Places [We Should] Go...

I previously posted a list of anticipated geographical conquests at Oh the places [we should] go.... The list inlcuded:
  • Eastern Oregon/Washington, hun and chukar hunting; like this place (warning, blatant Filson product placement)
  • Cape Romaine NWR, boating/camping trip fishing for red drum;
  • North Dakota, pheasant hunting;
Since then, we've hit one of those twice (N.Dak. 2010 / 2013), and gotten relatively close to another (E. Oregon - flew into Wash. and hunted grouse in the Koontenai 2014). I still want to go after chukar and huns in E. Oregon/Washington, and am now itching to try my hand at Montana fly fishing.

I also think worthwhile to add a few new ones to the list:
  • Grouse and Woodcock in Maine or Vermont (idea 1; idea 2)
  • Back to Montana
  • Central Wyoming
  • Northern Baja (I once tripped into Baja del Norte and attempted to summit Pichaco del Diablo (literally "Peak of the Devil"); terrain so barren and remote I left a note on my car in case people eventually came searching for my body
  • Nevada for this and this. (ditto re Filson warning, supra)


Glory Days

I really love this picture - coming down off the mountain at the end of the day, shoulders down - not from the weight of the game bag, but from its lightness. The latter light of the day chasing us back to the truck, shadows lengthening. The dog, nose into the wind, wistfully staring back whence we came - surely there must be more birds yet before the truck, he thinks. A long day in the boots, but there is still not much afoot or afloat that beats this life. Glory days.


Both Sides Now

Joni Mitchell once famously said that she'd "looked at love from both sides now."

Well, I don't know much about love, but I do know about fishing. And from the looks of things, these Shaw boys have it from both sides.

Gigi brought up some old photos of the Dilda side of the fam, of which Grandpa Dilda (in yellow) and Great Grandaddy Rowlin (in blue) feature prominently. I figure the above photo was taken somewhere off the Masonboro-Wrightsville-Figure 8 Island coastline, and given the sparkle in G'pa Dilda's eye I'd venture this was just about 1979 or so.

Well, these Shaw boys sure do get it from both sides, now. Happy hunting, fellas.


Book Review: John P. Faris, Jr., "Ten Was the Deal"

Dad handed me a signed copy of John Faris' new book, Ten Was The Deal, a few months ago when I was home in Spartanburg. I went through it, as George Patton once said of the Third Army through German lines, "like crap through a goose."

Mr. Faris is a contemporary of Dad's, and he grew up hunting and fishing with his dad and grandad around Laurens, SC. The book is full of stories that make me wish I'd been born 50 years earlier, and that I had spent twice as much time outdoors in my youth as I really did. Having duck hunted and turkey hunted in the outskirts of Spartanburg County growing up, on the Tyger River and the Pacolet River "flyways," and with years of fishing in the creeks behind Litchfield and Pawleys Island and Edisto, and frequent trips to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the landscapes of Faris' stories are hauntingly familiar.

So too is his deeper recitation of values, of family, and of love for and respect of the mystery of the outdoors, something that we are less and less a part of with the passage of time. It used to be that "life" itself happened outside, for the most part. Now, it seems we shuttle from one air-conditioned climate-controlled compartment to another through the course of the day, and the weeks, and the years. But for the presence of different scenes on a Hallmark(r) card, the passing of seasons bears less and less import in our lives, as does the natural courses of birth and death from which we now are so detached.

The short stories in this book also have that special quality of a true writer and well-versed storyteller, because they each draw you deeply and irresistibly into the drama and momentum of each good tale. For example, here's an excerpt from the story "You Got My Attention":
“The cold salt water was up to our calves. It was rising slowly, but rising nonetheless. Both Dad and I had on chest waders and neither of us would have given the height of the rising water a second thought, except for the fact that, where we were standing, the water level for half a mile in every direction was neck deep. To be exact, the two of us were shoulder to shoulder in a curtain blind behind the Outer Banks of North Carolina, in the middle of Croatan Sound. Hunting from such a strange contraption was quite new to both of us. The delicious mixture of danger, the adventure of the unknown, and the anticipation of my first goose hunt had me shivering.”
This excerpt of “You Got My Attention” is taken from Faris' website, http://outdoorstories.com/, and the book Ten Was The Deal can be found through Amazon and other dealers listed there.
Faris' book makes me want to redouble my efforts to get outside, to live part of my life outside, and to make sure my kids have the opportunity to do the same, whether they enjoy hunting or boating or rock climbing or just swinging in a camp hammock up on the Blue Ridge.

The Author


Fresh. Local. Sustainable. Hunting.

This is a great video and a great story by "Salt Fresh and Field," documenting the process whereby an acclaimed "fresh & local" chef in Canada kills and cooks his first deer. This is something i identify with, and like to call my own brand of "non-commercial organic" lifestyle when I go into EarthFare. And ultimately a perspective that I appreciate more and more alongside the thought of one day teaching my children how to nourish their own connection with nature and to provide for their own families.


Fishing with Jack

Jackson got invited to a neighbor's birthday party this weekend, over at the Hamilton Lakes pond. It was a "fishing" party. Yes, sir, we will be there.

We rolled out of the house about 5 to 8, because you know as they say the early bird catches the worm, and fish like worms. I suited Jack up with a new microlight triggerspin reel that I had acquired from Walmart the night before, and with his NC Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License in hand, Jack went to work.

Jack learning to fish with.JPG

Heroic amounts of patience and the sacrifice a several good nightcrawlers notwithstanding, we came home empty handed. There were about 15 boys there, and I reckon there were 8-10 fish caught amongst the group, mainly bluegills and sunfish and one smallmouth bass.

Jack with Dad on wall.JPG

After a solid morning of fishing, we headed over to the barber for haircuts and then to Five Guys for burgers and fries. Pretty solid man-schedule for a Saturday morning, if you ask me. Jack even got some coloring in.



10 weeks from now, Dad, Dean and I hop a flight into Spokane, drive through Coeur D'Alene up into northwest Montana's Koontenai National Forest, to hunt birds with Tim Linehan. As all hunters know, proper anticipation is key to a memorable trip.

The plan is to hunt three days, going after ruffed, blue and spruce grouse in the hills around the Yaak River. Maybe throw in a little fly fishing in the afternoon if the hunting gods bless us with an early limit.

On the way out, I hope to meet up with a few of my old Marines in Coeur D'Alene and have a beer and tell some war stories.

These are the good old days, indeed. Sing it, Carly.


Pawleys 2014

Man. Had a blast at Pawleys this year. Took the boat out, Bud caught a fish with Jackson, went crabbing, great weather. Awesome time. This is what it is all about.