As a young boy in the heart of Maine on a small pond I was allowed to fish on a dock by myself at the tender age of three. I would fish and catch Pickerel on my families water front property until I was dragged, unwillingly, inside by my father. I distinctly remember my mother calling me, while I was fishing, with my snoppy pole, and I would run for the leaf pile mounded in the middle of the yard. I would cover myself with leaves and hope my mother would not notice my incriminating actions. When she was gone I would run for the dock and continue fishing, until my father spotted me. Then I knew I was in for it.
At four years old we moved to Alaska, right directly acrost from the Anchorage zoo. My family rented a house that brought me to what I thought was heaven. My father bought a small cc atv so I could explore the property. In the evening my father would hand me the key to the small atv and would say, "your on your own." Looking back on my experience this land seemed to travel to eternity. If I traveled long and hard enough I felt as if I could find the edge of the earth. Looking back on it to this day I find it absolutely amazing my father found enough trust in me to left me explore acres upon acres by myself on an atv at this age. I clearly remember my determination to travel as far from the house as possible. I was high centered on a small fallen tree and had to walk back to the house to retrieve my father for help. It seemed like miles.
Soon after we moved to Eagle River and my father purchased a small boat. Often we would take trips to the Knik River and camp on one of Jim Creeks many forks. At the ages between 8 and 15 my dad would tell me to take the boat for a spin by myself. Regularly I would travel dozens of miles from camp by myself. My father had confidence that he taught me the proper actions if I was presented with a problem all by my lonesome. One particular instance stands out in my mind. Our boat had a problem with vibration and the ignition wire wiggling loose from the ignition box. At 17 years old I was traveling to the end of the Jim Creek swamps with my girlfriend at the time, it was just the two of us. This very same girl is now my wife and has been for a few years now. Anyways, at the end of the Jim Creek swamps we decided to have lunch. After lunch we loaded up and pushed off, there was obvious power to the control panel but there was no rotation of the motor. I located the problem to be with the ignition wire on the control panel. I pulled the soldiering iron from the tool box and a 6 inch section of soldering wire. I soldiered the wire to the panel and the boat fired up without problems. If my solution to the problem failed I made sure I packed paddles for such the occasion. If paddles unsuccessfully rowed us home I knew of two separate cabins within a few miles distance would could stay over night.
All my life I have had the confidence to handle myself, ALONE, in the wilderness. I have practiced and carried large caliber pistols on my hip since I was long before legal age. I have camped, hunted, fished, and hiked many miles in the middle of no where by myself even before I was an adult. Still my father oozed the trust to let me venture into the unknown all alone. Even at 12 years old my father trusted me to float the head waters of Cambell Creek in a two man dingy he purchased for me at Pay-N-Save all the way to the Tudor Bridge. With my newly acquired driving license, at 16 years of age, my father trusted me with his airboat and truck that he spent many years saving so he could buy this boat of his dreams.
Now I have been married to same girl I used to take out into the woods since we were in our early teens. She knows I am no stranger to isolated trips and she knows fully well that I have the knowledge, experience, and confidence to take trips by myself.
Some may say that my father was careless, but, as I have preached to my good friend, he made me into the strong willed, confident, and self dependent person in the woods. Gun safety was stressed from the early get go and he taught me how to keep calm in a desperate situation.
Ever since we married my wife will not let me venture for a hunt alone, and she continually insists I hunt with a friend. She is a good woman and she lets me go riding, fishing, hunting, hiking, or whatever it may be whenever I want as long as I have someone with me. She knows I am fully capable of handling myself, but the "what if's" get to her. There are many "what ifs" in life, what if I am T-boned by a reckless driving on my way to work or on my way home? What if I accidentally roll my truck in the dead of winter? Some may say this is a newly married couple problem, actually we have been married for a few years now. Basically, I want her to entrust me with the same confidence my father had in me. I want her to realize I am capable of handling myself, especially when problems arise. I know many problems can deveople, alone, in the woods, but there is associated risk with absoultely everything in life.
Now, in the fresh stages of moose season I want to take a coyote hunt up to Knik by myself. With the begining of moose season much of my friends are off trying to glass their very own fifty incher, or three, maybe four brow tine moose. This year moose hunting had a slim chance for me so I hope to make up for it by calling for coyote. Shot down by the wife with a head cockced looked in my direction. I wish there was a way I could finally maker her realize there is not a bear lurking around every corner drooling over my scent or I will be ripping down the Jim Creek flats at an incredible rate of speed. Women............