We at Filson Life are excited to introduce the first of many guest contributors. In this series, we’ll share personal stories from leading bloggers in a variety of areas of expertise. From ranchers to shooters to photographers and travelers, Filson Life contributors will give you an insider’s look at the Filson life.
Our first feature comes from Mark Huelsing of Sole Adventure, whose blog originated on the idea exploring the outdoors on foot. He shares the irreplaceable traditions and lessons he learned from his grandfather and which continue to transcend generations.
The alarm on my watch went off at 4:30 AM. I hopped up and dressed in layer upon layer, the whole time noticing so many things about the special room that I was in – the photos on the desk, the shotgun above the door, and the various wildlife mounts on the walls. Each of these items represented so many stories. Even though I wasn’t a part of many of those stories, I felt like they were a part of me.
As I left his room and headed down the hallway, I found my Grandpa, just as I expected him to be – wide awake with breakfast and a pot of coffee ready for me to share with him. He wasn’t able to hunt with me this year, but that didn’t stop him from being just as excited as I was to start the morning.
We shared breakfast as we talked about past hunts, as well as the day of hunting that lie ahead. Somewhere in that conversation one of us would no doubt mention that, “even a bad day of hunting is better than a good day of work.” Breakfast was soon finished and he sent me off with the same parting words he had always shared as I head afield, “Good luck, buddy!”
I lost my Grandpa to cancer this past summer. There will be no more early morning pots of coffee with him. No more stories told and retold by him. He won’t be there to wish me good luck as I head out the door. We had always been close, and I had always felt a special connection with him, but those times that I got to hunt at his place brought us even closer.
Hunting has connected me in a deeper way with my Grandpa, but it also connects me to an endless heritage of hunters that have come before me. As absurd as it may sound to those who have never experienced it, there is a certain connection that hunters have with those that have come and gone before them. Many people would say that hunting is outdated and there is no need to hunt in our modern society. I would have to disagree. Hunting is a heritage that needs to be kept alive.
As summer’s heat slowly begins to fade, the thoughts of a cool fall morning’s hunt are consistently on my mind, and so is my Grandpa. I feel privileged to carry on a piece of his life – the heritage of hunting.