If ever we have looked forward to a new year, the arrival of 2021 is welcomed. Not to say I believe we are going to see immediate changes to the dire year that was 2020. We still have a long road ahead of us before we return to a semblance of normalcy. However, entering this new year we know what we are up against. Shutdowns and closures will continue, and indoor gatherings will be limited if not canceled. Leaving us the outdoors as our great escape.
Each year, I try to set outdoor resolutions, goals really, for the coming 12 months. This year is no different. However, there are many of you out there who will be spending more time outdoors in 2021 and I want to tip you off to a few adventures I’m planning in hopes of inspiring you to create your own set of goals.
My list begins with shooting quail in the desert of Southern Arizona. When I was 17, my friend’s father took us to his ranch south of Tucson. This was my first exposure to desert, and I was surprised to find so much wildlife and interesting flora. Amongst the forked Saguaro Cactuses, I encountered deer, javelina, lizards and quail. Lots and lots of quail. Now, over 20 years later, I have booked a trip with friends from Quail Forever to pursue these hardscrabble birds. My level of excitement for this incredibly rural, desolate experience is through the roof. I’m excited for the long drive and the experience of camping in the desert. I hope to roast a few quail over an open flame.
The longest hike I have ever completed was about 58 miles of the Knob Stone Trail in Southern Indiana. It was a pretty grueling experience, much more intense than I had expected. Yet I look back on it with fondness. This year, I plan to bike the Katy Trail in Missouri straight through. This 240-mile-long bike trail cuts across the state from St. Charles to Clinton. My cousin, Derek, rode his bike across the country in the early 2000s. I’m hoping he’ll join me on this four-day adventure to mark my longest bike ride.
Nick Green is my grouse hunting partner. He and I have stomped up Sharptails in the National Grasslands outside of Medora, North Dakota and Ruffies in the Pigeon River Country of the northern portion of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. This fall, we are planning an epic grouse hunting trip to Vermont and New Hampshire. I’ve never been to New England, and I’m excited to hunt my way through rural areas of the region, while also taking in some of the historic tourist sites along the way. We also plan to hit some of the cities and towns to experience the culture of the area.
My ultimate goal for this year is to finish my wild turkey World Slam. All I lack is the Gould’s. These, the largest of the six wild turkey subspecies found on the North American Continent, inhabit the northern, mountainous regions of Mexico. My plan, as of right now, is to make the trip to Mexico in May. I don’t know if it’ll happen with so much uncertainty still surrounding the COVID pandemic, but if it’s legal and feels safe, I’m planning to make the trip. Completing the World has been quite the quest, and I’m eager to finish.
Your outdoor resolutions may not be as grand as mine, and that’s ok, but make a list that fits your schedule and desires. Float a new river, hike a new trail or target a new fish species. Buy a tent, rent a cabin or go deer hunting for the first time. Whatever it is you have been putting off doing in the outdoors, make 2021 the year you get it done.
See you down the trail…
Pic: Riding across the 240-mile Katy Trail is 2021 Resolution for the author.
For more Driftwood Outdoors, check out the podcast HERE or anywhere podcasts are streamed.