Editor's Note: 'Along the Trail' is a weekly column written by David Hewitt of Switzerland County; and covers all things dealing with the outdoors, from hunting and fishing to woodsmanship.
The holidays are upon us again and each year, I ask myself where the time has went?
It seems the older I become, the faster the days, weeks and months speed by. It's been a good 2017, full of good times and great moments. I married my high school sweetheart after 30 years and watched both of my kids graduate from college with their respective degrees.
But, it had also been a year marked with sadness and loss. One of my friends and fellow Compton Traditional Bowhunters board member passed while turkey hunting this last April and I lost my great friend, surrogate big brother and hunting partner in July. Such is life, though and as much as I miss my pals, I know that I'll see them again and I try to live my life in a way that would make them proud to call me friend.
As far as the outdoors goes, it's been a long trail. I managed to find a handful of shed antlers last winter and that carried me into turkey season. The cool Spring mornings were filled with gobbling birds and I narrowly missed an old, boss Tom and had plenty of excitement and close calls. The warmer months found me yanking a few bass and bluegills, more than enough for a fish fry. We sneaked in a couple camping trips and hiked several miles at our state parks.
I flung 100's of arrows at 3D bow shoots and in the back yard in preparing for my early September elk hunt and attended several traditional archery rendezvous'.
Late summer found me in the Rocky Mountains with one of my best friends, camped at 10,000 feet and enjoying every minute of the struggle that comes with a back country, high altitude elk hunt. I was even lucky enough to see a mature bull elk, but not lucky enough to find him on the business end of my arrow. Early Autumn rolled around and with it, my favorite time of year. I was blessed to take a couple of deer with my longbow and enjoy the colors of the fall.
Yes, it was a good year for me "Along the Trail"....
But, as with everything in this world, things have a shelf life, an expiration date and so it is for "Along the Trail".
For several year now, Pat and the newspaper have given me space each week to share my thoughts on outdoor and hunting experiences with the readership and for that opportunity, I am grateful and humbled. I had no idea that the good people of Switzerland County and beyond would read, let alone enjoy some the stories I've shared or hear about the memories I've made. I have absolutely enjoyed every minute of jotting down my thoughts and putting my outdoor adventures to paper.
Sadly though, the time has come for me to move along the trail....
I'm finding that much of the time, my experiences are routine. Each year, I do a lot of the same things, a creature of habit I guess. There are only so many tales to tell about hunting, fishing, hiking and camping before they sound the same. While they might still hold some interest to a few, I have began to see that repetition is setting in and that is my cue to exit.
Will it be the end of me babbling on or writing about hunting and wilderness, no...In fact, I will probably be writing longer articles for a quarterly magazine devoted to traditional archery, but the longer time between publications and the more narrow focus of the topic should help me keep things fresher and a little more new.
As for my walk "Along the Trail", it's been a good run and hopefully, as time and space allow, I'll still submit a column here and there when something significant in the outdoors happens, but until that time, I hope to see you along the trail. Thanks to Pat and Erin for the encouragement and for the freedom to share my story. I hope hunters and outdoorsmen and women have been portrayed in a different light through the column as opposed to what the mainstream and outdoor industry makes us out to be.