Over the past few days I have been going over my serious overkill list for my little planned getaway in the woods. I removed a few things that were just plain silly, like 4 different knives and 2 of the pots I had in my cookware set. I have no idea what I thought I would be making in 3 pots, LOL. Told ya, overkill. I reduced the weight now to 44 pounds, not including food and water. I'll be taking some beef jerky, dehydrated fruit, and maybe just 1 or 2 small cans of soup. Afterall, I can't plan on there being a steady supply of fruit/berries considering the amount of deer and turkeys that are in those woods, plus I may be heading out sooner than expected, and berries are barely budding let alone ripe. I do need to get probably 2 more canteens for water for now,since the 2 I have plus the camelback only hold one gallon total. I still plan on getting water from one of the creeks and trying a solar still, but I do want water on hand for this first trial run in case I fail miserably. I don't want to have to sneak back somewhere to get water. I also have the plans to take some food for now just because I may not be able to pop off a few squirrels quite yet. If I plan my trip during the week, there are 2 areas on that hillside that are being logged out, and I imagine that loggers seeing a crazy guy in camo might not be the best idea, let alone having them hear that lone .22 shot coming from somewhere. If it's a weekend, I may be open to the idea a bit more.
This first time out is afterall a trial run for me. It's been many years since I have done anything like this, so I don't know 100% for sure that I still have what it takes. Also things in those woods have changed quite a bit since I regularly hunted and walked up there. All of the old paths are gone, areas that were once wide open are now filled with green briar or vines, some woods have been logged out, one of them being my once favorite squirrel hunting woods ever. Times have changed, I have changed, and the countryside has changed. There were once lots of rabbits and pheasants in those woods, but now that people have stopped hunting the fox, and the coyotes have moved in, the pheasants are long gone and rabbits are very scarce. There are LOTS of deer and turkeys up there, but nothing I would kill out of season right now just to feed myself for a few days. I just won't do that. I wouldn't worry much about a squirrel or a rabbit on this little adventure,but I won't shoot larger game. I wouldn't eat that much over just 2 days, and besides, there's that whole illegal thing. Nope,no large game for me. I'll eat what I take in with me and ration it out, and I may get that one squirrel or two, who knows.
I imagine this all sounds really crazy to a lot of people. Trekking off into the woods by myself for a few days and just living with what I have on my back. This definitly isn't for everyone, but it's something I have wanted to do for a long, long time. Like I said in the other post about this, I used to make these trips when I was younger, and I miss them. I miss those woods and the wildlife. Somehow over the years, that part of me has become lost, and I want it back. My hunting buddies are gone, dad can't go anymore,and I don't live closeby anymore. I just plain stopped going. That one day rabbit hunting trip with my old friend was far more than just rabbit hunting for me. I would walk around, stomp some brush, watch for rabbits, talk to him, but a lot of the time I would just stop and look around. Every square foot of those woods holds some kind of memory for me. I remember this spot where I shot my first pheasant, or that spot where my dad and I once talked while we listened to the beagles run. I remember the old gravel quarry where my childhood friends and I used to race our bicycles. Those woods are full of memories. Those woods were much more to me than a place we would all go hunting, they were my playground as a kid. We didn't have a park, or sidewalks to ride our bikes, we had those woods.
While other kids I knew spent their summer at vacation homes, or off somewhere with their family, or playing basketball on the school court, I was in those woods. Nearly every day of my summers were spent there. I never had a real reason, I just was. My friends and I ride our bikes around the trails that are now long grown over. I would sometimes just wander off by myself with a book and just sit under a tree and spend the day in the peace and quiet of nature. When hunting season rolled around, it was always me and dad up there with a pack of beagles. Sometimes my great uncle Glen would tag along with his dogs, and sometimes the neighbor with his dogs. Dad taught me all those years ago that hunting was far more than just shooting something to eat, and that is still with me today. I appreciate nature now as much as I did back then, and probably more so. Back then I almost took it for granted that I could go anytime and those woods were always there. Now that I am 20 minutes away and can't get there anytime I want just to walk around, I realize how much I still love those woods. I miss them terribly. It's like missing an old long lost friend.
Everything I have just talked about is the main reason for my little trip. Sure, it's a small bit of a survival test for me, but it's also a trip to visit that old friend. Those trips out there lately to gather branches and vines have reminded me how much I miss it. Sometimes when I'm there, I have to push myself to stay busy or I just want to sit, stare off into the woods and think, remembering years gone by in those woods and all of the memories that they hold. This solo trip will allow me to do that all day, and that is the main plan. I'm not going to spend my days foraging for food, I'll spend the time sitting and relaxing, remembering every little moment that I can. I'll walk and visit all the areas that dad and I or my friends and I used to go to all the time, and remember the things we did. Though those times are long gone in the past, they're all still alive somewhere in my head, and I plan to re-visit each and every one that I possibly can.
I need this trip to not only bring back all of those memories of my past, but to also clear my head. This layoff has been pretty stressfull, and has taken it's toll on my mind. I tend to have a lot of sleepless nights, thinking and worrying about things. Not just worrying about money, but of my own feelings of self worth. I've felt like less of a man for quite a while, staying home and doing housework while Lisa goes to her job. I feel kinda useless some days. This isn't how it's supposed to be. Maybe I am too old fashioned, but I still believe that the husband should be the one out there earning a living while the wife stays home. I hate seeing Lisa leave for work while I am sitting here in pj's drinking coffee. Sometimes I stay in bed on purpose, just so I don't have to see that. I know that things have happened that are out of my control, but I still don't like it. I want to be the one heading to work while she stays home to read, or quilt, or spend time outside in the garden. I hate this, I really do. I know something will come along, but this waiting is killing me.
So....this trip out will hopefully do wonders for me. It will let me reconnect with that part of me that is lost,and it will let me clear my head. I can't always just sit and think around here, there are just too many distractions. The chickens are making noise, people honk their car horns, the dogs want in and out, the cat wants attention...just too many distractions, even in my little getaway room in the basement. I need this trip. Hopefully this entry didn't end on a really down side. It's just a cold rainy day and I haven't slept much for days. This was written last night before bed, edited a bit at 1am when I couldn't sleep, and again re-edited now at 11am. Geeeeeeeez I need a job!!
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