Sunday, March 24, 2013

BHA North American Rendezvous!

I'm sitting in the Boise airport, waiting for a flight south to Colorado Springs, reflecting on my weekend at the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers North American Rendezvous.  This won't be a lengthy post, but I do want to let you know what a solid, hunter-angler conservation organization BHA is.

I've been a member for a number of years, and I've been able to watch BHA drow and develop.  Our own Colorado group, the largest state chapter, has grown from just a few members, including one of BHA's founders, author and hunting ethicist David Petersen, to a membership of over 200 in just a few short years.  Our state chapter now has every national forest in Colorado covered with a representative, and I am honored to represent Pike National Forest for BHA.

Last night I sat listening to Jason Hairston, founder of both Sitka and KUIU, speak at our banquet.  I was struck by both the diversity and depth of experience of our members.  Seated next to me was Carter Niemeyer, renowned wolf management specialist, and on the other side was master bowyer and traditional archery legend, Dick Robertson.  To sit in such company is both inspiring and humbling.

BHA's mission statement goes like this..."Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands and waters."  The underlying principle is big country for big game and wild fish.  Protection of habitat.  Quiet use.  Boots-on-the ground activism.  That's good enough for me.

Yesterday I was honored to provide a seminar at our national rendezvous, focused on using tenkara on backcountry water.  I always enjoy sharing something as special as tenkara with folks, and I cannot thank Tenkara USA and BHA enough for providing this for the attendees in Boise.

To cap off the weekend, as if all of this wasn't enough, I got to spend a kick-ass lunch with my friend, TJ Conrads, editor/publisher/founder of Traditional Bowhunter magazine.  I think he knows at least half of Boise!  You rock, TJ!

Lastly...good news!  There's some discussion on next year's national rendezvous being held in Denver!

Monday, March 4, 2013

I Can Smell Spring

I sincerely hope I’m wrong, because we need way more snow in the southern Colorado foothills than we’ve gotten so far this winter, but I don’t really think I am.  I can smell spring.

Actually, I can smell the Arkansas River.  I smelled it yesterday.  You see, I do very few things in life, but the ones I do mean a lot to me.  Family, hunting, backpacking, backcountry skiing, tenkara, and…running.  I run often, mostly on trails, to keep my nearly 50-year-old body from getting big and soft.  I run to connect with the paleolithic past when folks had to run to survive.  I run because it makes me a much better hunter and angler.  I run to clear my head and think. 
One of my favorite places to run is along the Riverwalk in CaƱon City.  I ran there two days ago while the sun sank in the western sky and the shadows grew longer.  I smelled spring.  Nothing in this world smells like that trail along the Arkansas River just before spring comes.  It smells slightly fishy, it smells like rotting cottonwood and water birch leaves, it smells like the thawing of riverside mud.  When I run along that trail I get to look at the water that holds those wonderful brown trout, and I get to breathe deeply while my heart, lungs, and legs do the work.
Spring isn’t here yet.  There are still patches of snow in the shady places and a skim of slushy ice or two across the Riverwalk.  It'll still snow a few more times.  But I can smell it, and it’s not far off.   I think I’ll go fishing tomorrow.