An early morning walk can be nostalgic

Published 1:03pm Saturday, March 24, 2012

Each morning I try to take an early morning walk, which takes me around the neighborhood and eventually down by the channel. Walking in the early morning makes me feel invigorated and ready to take on the day.

The other day, as I went for that early morning walk, we had just gotten a nice rain the evening before. The birds were chirping and the air was fresh, which made everything seem alive. As I looked out across the lake I watched as the ducks and geese were busily doing their thing and it reminded me of the years that our family had spent camping at Spider Lake. It was a peaceful and calming feeling as I remembered some of the great times that our family had enjoyed at that lake over the years. For a few moments, I began to wonder what it would be like to camp at the old resort once again for a night or two.

Our cabin is about 40 minutes away from Spider and I can easily go there whenever I want, so the thought of spending money for a campsite seemed silly when I tried to rationalize it. I’m not sure why I longed to try camping there again, but I would guess that it had a lot to do with being reminded of the enjoyment I got when I arose before sunrise and walked down to the dock and then slowly motored away to one of my favorite fishing haunts on that lake. The excitement that I would get from fishing early in the morning seemed to energize my whole day.

Early morning was usually walleye time and as the morning progressed my thoughts would turn to northern and musky fishing. Over the years my family has always favored trolling, and we have usually seemed to have pretty good luck when doing just that. I am looking forward to fishing Spider again this year and revisiting some of my favorite fishing spots.

When my grandson, Trevor, was old enough to hold a fishing rod, he began casting. In his early years, his love of casting meant a lot of lure fetching and tree branch bending for his grandpa, but I survived and he eventually became very good at it. He did learn one thing over the years: got a snag? Get it out yourself because grandpa will break your rod if he tries to do it.

Trevor’s love of casting has rubbed off on me and now I like to spend a fair amount of time doing just that. Casting for muskies is one of my favorite things to do when visiting Spider and I know that I will devote a fair amount of time to doing just that again this year.

In all reality I do actually think that in a fleeting moment I was trying to recapture those days of the past but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and who knows? Maybe I’ll try tenting on one of those National Forest campsites that they have on Spider or get a little frivolous and rent a campsite for a night or two just to see what it would be like to go down memory lane.

Nothing can replace the memories of time spent with my family while the kids were young and eager to learn about the outdoors. Sharing knowledge of the outdoors can be a very rewarding experience and the memories that I have of those days are priceless. I have been lucky enough to have grandsons to share fishing and outdoors experiences with so that we can keep on making those good memories.

On another note, Trevor has been hunting snow geese during the spring light goose season, which runs from March 1 to April 30. I am amazed at his knowledge of waterfowl and ability to hunt. He and his friend, Josh, bagged nine snow geese last Saturday and there were at least four different species of them. Trevor knows every type, and he plans on getting one or two of them mounted. His dad said that they had fixed some for supper the other night and that the meat was tender and tasted far better than a regular goose. On Saturday’s hunt, he and Josh were crawling along a fenceline to get close to the flock of geese, and he said there were numerous holes where coyotes had been digging and about 20 yards ahead stood a coyote just staring at him without any fear.

Trevor’s brother, Taylor, got into the act the following day and has managed to get a few of those geese. He said that he didn’t know if he got more satisfaction out of bagging a couple of birds or just watching them. I guess that flock of snow geese is huge and the sight of that many birds is pretty impressive. The boys are making their own outdoors memories now, and I hope that they will be able to enjoy the sport of hunting for years to come. Grant, my youngest grandson, was kind of bummed out because he isn’t quite old enough to participate yet, but when he is you can bet he’ll be there. These are our future sportsmen and those boys know the rules and follow them to the tee, which is important in preserving our outdoors heritage.

Sportsmen’s groups like Ducks Unlimited, Minnesota Waterfowl, Minnesota Deer Hunters, Pheasants Forever and Turkey Federation, among others, are working to preserve our habitat and acquire more of it to make sure that there is wildlife for future generations to enjoy. Do your part to support these worthwhile organizations and encourage our youth to participate in an outdoors sport whether it be hunting or fishing.

Until next time, enjoy the outdoors and start making those memories that will last a lifetime.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

Dick Herfindahl’s column appears each Sunday in the Tribune.