Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Trick to Enjoying the Outdoors More

I've started to realize that sometimes with my somewhat limited time to get outside, either for fishing, hunting, hiking, or sightseeing, I get in too much of a rush to see everything, and therefore overlook whats in front of me. I try to just cram two or threes days worth into just one day.

All too much, I get too hung up on maximizing the efficiency of my time fishing. Efficiency when it comes to fishing is the number of fish caught per hour, or if targeting big fish, it could be the total inches of fish caught per hour. Sometimes it can even be about just covering as much water as possible. All of these metrics of fishing success or efficiency again cause me to rush.

Places like this are too special to rush through
Even when hunting, I get caught up in this mode. In order to explore as much territory as possible, I've found myself rushing through cover while stillhunting, which usually just leads to spooked quarry. This rush, either while hunting or fishing, ultimately causes me to have reduced success. Spooking a deer because I'm trying to move too fast through a greenbrier thicket causes me a missed shot opportunity. Rushing while fishing can cause sloppy casts that spook fish, overlooking a small slot of pocket water, or missing the some subtle key as to what the fish are feeding on. All of these things contribute toward reduced quantifiable success more times than not.

There is much to be seen even in random places in the woods like this one
But, quantifiable success is admittedly not why I pursue my outdoor adventures; if it were I would be lined up behind the trout stocking truck hoping to fill my limit as quickly as possible. But that isn't me. Sure, I love catching fish or harvesting a deer for the freezer, but that is not the sole purpose for me to be outside. It is to appreciate the tranquility, to watch the sun rise, and to generally appreciate God's handiwork. Focusing too much on outcomes of success makes pursuing outdoor pursuits too much like the everyday hustle and bustle of life that I'm trying to avoid when afield.

My focus this year is going to be to slow down and really see and appreciate what is around me when I get to head out in the woods. I'm going to try to take a few more pictures to help my aging memory recall those experiences down the road. This is nothing new, really. The old cliches says to "stop and smell the roses." I'm not all that interested in how roses smell, but I am interested in listening to the trout stream cascade across the mossy rocks, or to watch the first rays of sunlight peak over the mountaintop above. Hopefully this will inspire you to do the same. Who knows, by slowing down, my success may go up in the process, if not, at least I'll have a few more pictures to flip through on cold winter days.

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