Most of us spend a majority of our time chasing the almighty dollar. I won’t sit here and say I don’t. I work about 50 hours a week in a “normal” job, sometimes more, sometimes less, so my family can enjoy a good comfortable life. I do it so I can put some money away for the inevitable moment that I have a heart attack chasing some gnarly antlered whitetail up some remote ridge. I want to make sure that my wife can enjoy life with her second husband… I bet he won’t hunt.
If it was up to me I would guide full time because that’s when I’m rich with empty pockets. The pleasure of getting up before dawn to load up the square stern six horse Johnson for a run up the lake to tend to bear baits. Creasing the calm water early in the morning, seeing the newly arrived Blue Wing Teal take flight, killing the engine to listen to the geese leave their roosts to head to the cut fields, that’s living.
I feel pretty rich when I put all the work together and a grateful sport comes in and trusts that I’ve put him on the right spot. When I get a text saying “big buck down,” and when I arrive at the site 30 minutes later the sport is still shaking with a smile that is ear to ear. The moment they walk up to the animal that they have taken and can’t thank you enough, well that’s the cat’s ass and like having a bucket full of 100’s.
When I introduce someone to Katahdin, our mountain, well that’s like having a truck full of gold. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve taken up that mountain for the first time. Every time is different. I took my wife up for the first time a few years ago. It rained, the wind was blowing a gale, it was cold, and rocks were falling down from other hikers. The complaints were monumental. The fog was so thick all I keep thinking about was Donn Fendler. If you don’t know who he is, punch yourself, and then google box him.
We were about 500 yards from the summit, my fun meter was pegged. People from my party were having melt downs. I was so disappointed in myself for deciding to climb in that weather. I went full Marine and started swearing and hollering. “Screw it, we’re headed back down,” were my final words. Then without a sound, my wife stood up faced the summit and walked, everyone followed. Well let me tell you what Mistah Man. I doubt I’d ever been richer in my outdoor life. If it’s physically possible to be ashamed and proud at once I was it. We summited, the skies parted, and we had our first family picture on the peak.
I guess if I could sum it up I would say this. When I go to bed after a day of guiding, after listening to my sports recount their tales of adventure as if they had happened long ago even though they just happened. When I lay my head on my pillow with sore muscles, a full belly, and the smell of wood smoke from the fire lingering in my senses. That’s when I am rich beyond belief and I wish to wake up to do it all over again for the rest of my life.
Hire a Guide and get Outside.