A birthday gift to further perpetuate something akin to wishful thinking

Sat down the other day, finger of Balvenie Doublewood in one hand and half a keyboard in the other, and jotted down some things worth doing over the next eighteen years of my life. A “bucket list” perhaps, but wound up spending an inordinate amount of time crossing things off the list I’d already done…

Work in China

Play Pebble Beach

Dive the Great Barrier Reef

Spill a drink on a DC politico

Be best friends with a Collie dog

Eat mushrooms at a Grateful Dead concert

Catch a forty pound permit with a six-weight fly rod Oops…unscratch that.

Lastly, brew up some otherworldly meals from birds I’ve harvested. Actually done that before too, but the last time I immersed myself in the pursuit of fine feathered friends I fell off the back of a jeep and broke a couple of vertebrae. Been spooked ever since, and didn’t think about it again until just a few weeks ago.

Half of that battle is actually finding the wild things, and after feigning distress over the issue a couple of offers came rolling in. So this fall I’ll venture north. Meet up with some old friends, and trade ultra-fine brown-colored beverage for their companionship use of their pointers.

Bought myself a birthday present to celebrate the plan…

Old school Filson, with new school hydration bladder pouch.

Old school Filson, with new school hydration bladder pouch.

MG signing off (because conjuring excuses to buy new toys is the easy part)

PS: Thanks to MW Reynolds for getting it in so fast.


That’s it, come on back to the dark side.

Mark, should I pick up some conventional fishing tackle too? 😉

You’ll be eased in slowly, with pleasant, fairly mild pursuits like tasty and plentiful ruffed grouse. Then, curiosity will get the better of you, and you’ll get a hankering for walking vast prairie expanses in hopes of sharptails, Huns and maybe even ‘just one’ Sage Chicken to add to the Life List. You might find yourself pursuing pheasants in some of the more atypical places they haunt – nasty marshes and bedeviled greasewood stands. Nothing like the genteel strolls through South Dakota farmfields.

And then, without knowing any better, you’ll agree to a trip for wild chukar. You’ll return battered, blistered, barely able to move, wondering “wtf did I just do?” and vowing that this might just be the stupidest thing you’ve ever done. But then as the healing begins, all that big, desolate, nasty, rocky, steep country will seep back into your daydreaming. And if there’s something seriously wrong with you, you’ll eventually start to remember it….well, if not fondly, then at least with something approaching respectful admiration. And then, against your better judgement, you’ll be planning another trip to southwestern Idaho, or northern Nevada, or some other place where cheatgrass is the dominant vegetation. As the saying goes, the first time it’s out of curiosity, and every time after that, it’s for revenge….

Sounds like a lot of additional gear cost. I’m in.

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