The Journey

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trail "Don't concentrate so hard on reaching your destination, that you miss your entire journey!!" I use this quote or a form of this so often that I felt today would be a good day to expand on it, specifically tailored to us hunters. I preach Train to Hunt, Live with No Regrets, and the 5 P's to success year round, but what I have never really spoke on is why?  To most it is probably obvious right? To be in the best shape possible for your long awaited adventure.  To be able to reach that next ridge, to be able to get in front of that heard bull before he disappears forever, or just be able to get your butt off of the trail more than 99% of hunter will.  Yes this is it, and No it isn't it.  Of course I preach physical fitness for that obvious reason, but to me it is all that plus one other little thing..."The Journey." The Journey to me is the real reason we go out "hunting".  Don't get me wrong, I do go hunting for the end result of meat, to fill my freezer, and to help my family enjoy God's creatures.  But like most hunters out there, I have been plenty of times where my tag wasn't filled and no meat returned home with me after the hunt.  So was my hunt unsuccessful?  Did I not leave my hunting grounds with the thing I came there for?  Did I train and prepare year round for nothing? Or is the REAL reason we leave our beautiful wives, our loving children and our places of employment for long periods of time something quite the opposite of a kill? This is what I mean by  the Journey is actually what we are hunting for in the first place.  The Journey starts from the time that tag is drawn, till the time that weapon is placed back safely in its case.  We  as hunters leave the daily lives we live in search of greatness, and greatness comes in many different forms all uniquely special to each one of us.   Some wake up hours before the first light wanting to watch God's greatest show...the sunrise.  Some it's sitting in a tree stand in complete darkness listening to Mother Nature's's night creatures going to sleep, and then hearing and watching the daytime creatures awake far later than they did.  We all spend countless hours amongst all of God's creatures, blending in, becoming part of the forest, the mountain or the valley.  We walk in ways we only walk when we have on those special boots, or that special camp pattern.  We spend countless hours without even a single word or maybe even a single movement, but get the most accomplished mentally while doing this.  We take time to watch every motion of every object and enjoy it for its simplest form. We relax, we exhale, we get back to our simplest form as a human.  We don't yearn for the internet, we don't worry about "What's going on tonight", we don't even need electricity or running water.  At the start of the journey we live and die by these things, but once we step into nature we become our true selves, and revive our souls through the simplest of things.  It takes roughly 1/1000 of a second to pull a trigger or release a arrow, if the hunt is what we yearned for this is where the story would end.  But time and time again, the kill or the lack of a kill, gets lost in the Journey.  It gets pushed behind the campfire stories, the tale of the 15 mile hike up hill both ways to that "secret spot", or that first or last moment with that special person who showed you how to take this  Journey or maybe it's the  last Journey you get to spend together. Searching for Peace, relaxation, soul cleansing, battery recharging, or just a trip with friends.  The Journey comes in many forms and is unique in every case.  A hunting tag simply provides us with a "destination", but it's the journey with friends, family and  Mother Nature that is the real reason we leave all that we love for those precious couple days or weeks.  So on this upcoming season, make sure to take many breaks through out your adventure to look around, smile at the ones your with, watch the sunset through it's entirely, and enjoy all around you.  The Journey is where the memories are made, don't miss out on making any! For me, it is 66 more days till I rekindle my love with the Journey! [nggallery id=21]