November. For me, it’s that “Tweener-Time” of year. In between the warmth and color of October and the white cold starkness of December. I often joke with friends that I’d trade the summer months for having all of the fall off from work-there is just too much to do, too many sports, too much autumn air to soak in and too many things pulling me every direction.
The mountain bike is under me pretty religiously through the summer and finishing with the last races of the season in September, but once hunting starts, the fat tires seem to gather cobwebs. That’s unfortunate, for some of the best fat tire riding of the year is during those cooler days leading up to and through October. Bow hunting was always my sport of choice growing up and even after my move to Clark County-it’d be a made dash out of work to the car-filled with camo, to dress along the way and climb into my favorite stand. That love is still in me, but now a black lab has other ideas. It’s a high-pressure sales pitch by her tapping paws and wildly swinging tail to “force” me to grab the over/under instead of the bow. She’s got me pegged. I don’t mind. So although I still managed to say “no!” to her once and a while and get in a tree stand, we usually jump in the car and head on down to the county forest to scramble through cut overs for grouse and woodcock or state land to try our luck on roosters. Whether we connect on any birds or not, just hunting with a dog makes for an enjoyable hour or two.
If my fat bike had expression (and it seems to at times) it’d be pouting when we arrive back and unload in front of it. I think- “yes, yes….I’ll get to you as soon as I can.” And I usually do….after the rifle hunt. Another direction you see-luckily, it’s short and intense and I can set aside those 9 days to gather with family, talk smart, spend ungodly hours never leaving my stand and maybe put some venison in the freezer. All those quiet hours also lend themselves to writing, taking notes, sketching tiny pictures and waiting for the tiniest snap of a twig nearby. (last year the score was zero for the whole season!). I miss a few days because of work, but try to make my traditional last day hunt at our local trail system (Levis Mound) -half hunting, half checking to see if things are in shape for skiing. As I write this-it is snowing, turning everything out the window white-the first snow of the year-just love it. Of course, seeing flakes pulls me into the cross-country ski mode and I think I need to wax up the boards and have those ready pronto.
The skis and poles are in my man-cave (basement) next to the black powder and muzzleloader, so that late season is also on my mind. Like the regular gun season, it’s short and I always make an attempt to be out in that much colder weather to try my luck with the smoke pole. The tweener season overlaps here again, and I have been known to ski and hunt the same day here in Clark County (the ski trails are only closed during the rifle season). It seems even though the gun is in my hands during this season, my mind is more on anticipating kicking and gliding and a bountiful snow season. “Oh shoot!” Molly is still tappin her claws on the kennel floor, so we manage to squeeze in a couple more bird hunts, and if it’s in the snow, even better.
If “winter” is like last year, the Tweener season just continued. The hunting seasons ended, taking them off my plate, and the purchase of a fat bike begged me to ride again-and so I did. Snow was almost non-existent, so the big fat tires rolled about everywhere I could find. And it was awesome. As great as the riding could be, there was a little nagging question inside-would this new sport weasel it’s way into all my other activities? Maybe…probably…. most defiantly, but oh well, somehow I’ll do my best to get it all in for it’s all outdoors and as long as I’m there, I’ll be happy.
The snow is still coming down and it is early November-heart of the in-between season, the lab is resting in her basket and the mountain bike, bow and shotgun are snug in the garage. Off to work soon and I’m wondering which of these things will win out today. Maybe I’ll throw them all a curve ball and pull out the camera and hiking boots instead-should be some great photographic opportunities today!