Since I’ve been learning archery and preparing to bowhunt, I’ve noticed that I spend more time outside than inside these days. I’m a firm believer that anything that gets you outside more, into nature more, is healthier for you, and it appears that all of my dabbling in jogging, biking, and hiking haven’t ignited a passion for the outdoors that learning archery has done for me.
We go for walks most days as a family. It’s a way for us all to unwind and chat after a busy day. Last weekend, we headed out for one right after breakfast, choosing the rough Class Four road instead of the somewhat maintained dirt road we live on. The Class Four road isn’t maintained by either town (it’s the dividing border) and is only drivable if you have a truck, jeep, or other 4×4 vehicle. It’s a rocky hilly path that cuts through the woods bordering our property. And it is beautiful.
During the walk, I found myself more in tune with my surroundings than usual, looking for signs of deer and other wildlife. Instead of looking up at the sunshine filtering through the trees and trying to spot the wrens and finches darting in and out the treetops, I started to look closer at the tree trunks and along the muddy sides of the rocky road. My daughter and I found several different sets of deer tracks as well as what we’re guessing are bobcat tracks along the path. I wished I’d had my camera with me to snap a picture of the prints, but am also glad to just enjoy the walk without the hindrance of playing photographer.
I’m guessing I’m not alone in my happiness at being outside. Seasoned adventurer and hunter Steven Rinella recently told me that, “It’s way more healthy to live a hunting lifestyle because it’s a lifestyle that’s fun and engaging and rewarding and adventurous.”
And I have to agree. Not only that, but you gain a larger appreciation for the role you play within the ecosystem.
Other hunters like Lily Raff McCaulou feel an intense connection with the outdoors. She told me, “I find that I’m using all of my senses and I’m much more present than when I’m just going on a hike.”
So not only am I learning a really cool skill through my pursuit of archery and bowhunting, but my additional takeaway includes a stronger appreciation and understanding of nature and the complexity of how we fit into it. WIth our daughter along for the ride, I’ve noticed the comfort and confidence she’s gaining too, spending so many hours in the great Vermont countryside.
What about you? What gets you outside?
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