The Joy of Exploration and Discovery
There are not many places left to truly explore and discover in today’s modern world. Most of the gold is gone from the streams and rivers. Remote populations of humans have been found. Most animal species relevant to hunters and fishermen have been discovered. Most wildernesses are so frequented by people, one can rarely find true solitude. However, the outdoors still provide many opportunities for adventurers to experience personal exploration and make discoveries that are new to them.
I came from a long tradition of exploration and discovery. I grew up in a small town in Arizona that was settled by pioneers. Amongst my ancestors are people who came to America with the pilgrims. I don’t know for sure how old I was when I first held a fishing pole in my hands, but I know I hunted with a .22 rifle starting at five years old. By the end of my 10th year, I had harvested my first deer (a Coues whitetail in Arizona) and my first elk.
I have been referred to as a “mountain man” and an “adventurer” by acquaintances. I have had close calls with rattlesnakes, bears, and other wildlife. I have shot at game animals with arrows and bullets. I have caught fish with my hands throughout the U.S. and in several other countries. I have made my own lures and flies. But, unlike those true adventurers of past centuries, I don’t have these experiences on a daily basis.
Note: The bottles hanging from the belt are syrup bottles used as water bottles. ( Grand Canyon 1980s)
I often long to have been born in a different century where I could have had the opportunity to be a true explorer and make discoveries that no one had ever seen before. Then, I remember all the modern comforts, and I change my mind. But I still feel that pull of the wilderness. I still long to explore and discover new places – not the exploration and discovery of those great people in history, but places that are new to me.
Lisa and I have a goal every year to find a new place or two where we can enjoy outdoor activities successfully. These places may be new hunting areas or new places to fish. Our exploration sometimes results in new discoveries, and sometimes we only get the joy of exploring without discovering. The process is still very enjoyable and rewarding.
This year alone, we have hiked into two new lakes where the fishing was supposed to be good only to find there were no fish at all. However, our explorations this year also resulted in discovering a new place to experience fantastic fishing for salmon at the Ayakulik River on Kodiak Island, Alaska. We also discovered the Blanco River, a small trout stream in southern Colorado. We are also looking forward to the potential of a couple of new hunting areas, one in Colorado and one in Wyoming.
While exploring the outdoors is very rewarding, the true reward comes when a discovery is made. The discoveries for Lisa and I are new places where we can enjoy our passions in the outdoors.