Sometimes in life if you are lucky, you are drawn by a force of passion. If you’re really lucky, the pull is so strong, so compelling, that going a different direction almost seems impossible. Of course, I can’t remember prior to this photo if I’d been expressing interest in climbing on our dog, or whether my father just decided it would be a fun pose. Surely, he could have never imagined how far that ride would take me. Either way, I am eternally grateful that at that moment passion and opportunity collided.
At about age 5 I ran away from home headed for Texas. Well, Texas was some 1600 miles south, I went north. I didn’t get far. I had asked my father where I could get a wagon wheel. I wanted to build a covered wagon. He told me Texas. A short time later Mom reported to Dad, “you know Johnny just left into the woods toting a suitcase he packed”. Though headed the wrong direction, there was a naïve logic to it, if I was going to build a covered wagon to seek my fortune in the wilderness, and a place called Texas had the wheels I needed, certainly I needed to head into the forest.
Now my father could have simply caught up to me and led me back home, but instead as he loved retelling in his later years, he circled up ahead to give me a reason to return on my own. He’d laugh as he described my little arms and legs flailing about with the suitcase, running back to the house and Mom to wildly exclaim there was a bear in the woods – and he had daddy’s hat on!
Similar incidents pretty much foretold the future, I would be drawn to the wilds and seek increasing levels of adventure. My father would provide for and influence the early years. Always there was a dog. A self-wood bow and arrow arrived the same year as my short Texas adventure. Perhaps most formative and wonderful of all, was the opportunity to spend huge amounts of time in the wilds of Canada throughout my youth and early adulthood. That I would someday end up trailing monster whitetails across the prairie, or turn further north to guide for nearly twenty seasons in the subarctic, would not surprise family or friends who saw me so drawn from such a young age.
In grade school I began playing lacrosse with the Native Americans who attended our school system. This eventually led to a sports scholarship at Syracuse University where I earned a B.A. in science education. This pretty much was my life’s single diversion from my outdoor passions. Even so my father claimed the B.A. really stood for bow and arrow since I spent way more time bowhunting than I did on campus. Still somehow I managed to be selected as the N.C.A.A. student-athlete at Syracuse University for 1977. Following the college north-south all-star game I played as a senior, I walked away and have never seen a lacrosse game since. I had other lives to live, and they would be lived around a bow and arrow.
As outdoor and tracking skills increased, friends wanted to go on trips with me or have me help track their deer. Then it was friend’s of friends, and soon friend’s of friend’s of friends. The huge amount of time I’d spent on my own hard-core traditional bowhunting, tracking, and adventures came to greatly benefit others. Eventually there wasn’t time enough for my own hunting. Or more accurately, there wasn’t time or energy enough to both hunt and provide for others at the level I demanded of myself. For the last twenty-some years my absolute commitment has been to providing the most awesome adventures and best tracking service I can for others. I understand how important adventures are to you and fully empathize when tracking is needed to resolve an unfortunate situation. Literally everything I do, year round, is devoted to this. I have no other unrelated activities or hobbies. None. Not sure where that falls between awesome, single minded focus or pathetic narrowness, but it probably isn’t changing anytime soon.
Life Tracking – what I believe
– It’s not just what you do, but how you do it that counts.
– The easy way probably isn’t the best or most fulfilling way.
– Appreciate what you have and the beauty around you to be happy.
-Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is an awesome rule.
-Do everything you can to stay healthy, it’s much easier and cheaper than fixing bad health
-Freedom is a rare human condition. Constantly it needs promotion and protection.
-Don’t wait too long to start living the life that makes you happy.