Written by dgfavor via Upland Journal
“Gawwwd, how does it happen…I turned 50 – 50! – last week. Of course my wife had grand plans of social celebration but I dashed them with the simple request that I honestly, sincerely, just wanted to go back to the land of my hunting youth, to see if my aging body could still drag itself from absolute ground zero, up into the steep, rocky playing fields in breathless pursuit of a determined bird dog in its own breathless pursuit of a bird that seems to have an unending ability to up the level of play. The only kind of bird hunting I knew for the first twenty years of my bird hunting, bird dog life was to load the boat, launch it upriver, don’t hit a rock or run it aground, find a place that looks like it might allow a dog and human to get up on the hill, hike, sweat, shoot, cuss…wash, rinse, repeat… Glad to say I pulled off 4 days of it last week feeling as spry as I did as a teen…well, I do now after a couple days recovery.
In the end, as much as I love solitary pursuits in very solitary places, it is the memories of countless hunts up the canyon with my dad, my brother, my family and my friends, with dogs long since gone that continually draw me back to the place, to push my body back up the mountains in pursuit of new dogs, creating new memories, to constantly tell my now most frequent hunting companion wife “about the time we…”
People tell me 50 is a milestone year and I’d be lying if the idea of getting into the downhill side of my quota of hunting years didn’t bother me. As long as I can continue to drag myself and a canine buddy up onto a high rocky bench above the river, gaze out over the grand expanses filled with beautiful scenery and the still crisp visions of days gone by, I’ll keep going for it. I know easier places with many more birds…but I don’t know anywhere I’d ever rather be.”