The 2018 outdoor agenda

Montana was great in 2017…but there won’t be a repeat in June. 

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska – It’s weird to ask yourself what you want and why because sometimes you think you should have answered it better, as if it’s a contest and there are judges expecting you to say “world peace” or to “make a difference” every time.

It’s even weirder when you’re reading another book on essentialism and it’s telling you about the power of saying No, because how are you supposed to make a difference, or have any fun, if you say No, right?

No is often a bad word, especially to someone who likes to hunt and fish. Who says No to new gear that is better (in ways that are unclear, but you convince yourself anyway).

Because it’s the beginning of 2018 and plans require thought, I prioritized my outdoor life for 2018, particularly the adventures I will put the most energy and money toward. I wrote down the first images that came to my head when I asked myself, “picture yourself doing ______ this year.”

I saw myself:

  • Fly fishing a hot high-country meadow for brown and rainbow trout.
  • Eating jerky and cheese on a goat hunt.
  • Drying out my waders at my favorite forest service cabin on a steelhead trip
  • Camping on my favorite mountain on a deer hunt.
  • Hunting for an elk in Arizona.

I then thought about why. The fly fishing thing is obvious because I have always loved high country fly fishing and that’s why I’m headed south to California in June.
The jerky and cheese part of the goat hunt was a little overly specific which was weird and of course dependent on drawing one of the permits, but reflected an expected desire. If I am lucky enough to draw the tag, it’ll happen.

The steelhead image is part of the post-basketball spring routine. It’s one of my favorite times of year, when the sun is out and there’s finally a little warmth to it, and the steelhead are beautiful and strong. It’s going to happen.

The deer hunt is also a given and my favorite mountain on Prince of Wales will always be a campsite even if I don’t end up getting a buck in the alpine like I didn’t in 2017.
Elk in Arizona was probably because my mom is in Arizona currently and I just saw a commercial for Publishers Clearing House awarding people $5k per week for the rest of their lives. Still, it would take almost a month of those checks to afford the tag and guide, so this one will not be happening, maybe ever, but it was still a nice ending to the day dream.

So, barring any life-altering chaos, good or bad, those are the proposed highlights of the year.

It was interesting that my brain didn’t go to Montana, because I did last summer and my trip south in June originally included five days there. My buddy and I decided to maximize time on the water and minimize cost. It sounds a lot cooler to say I am making another pilgrimage to the sacred waters of the Big Sky state, but I said No to Montana.

It’s surprising how easy it was to prioritize time and money in California over the potential for another unforgettable trip to Montana. It’s not that I don’t want to go to Montana, or that I don’t like it, it’s that I haven’t convinced myself I have to go there to have a big year. If I don’t go there my 2018 won’t be bland. The most memorable parts of a year are things I don’t plan on anyway and without the burden of a substantially more expensive June trip, I will be available for other opportunities throughout the year.

So, I want 2018 will be some-what familiar, but totally fulfilling – trout, deer, steelhead, maybe a goat… and okay, yeah, of course, hopefully world peace.

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