By Brian G. Schommer
If the headline of today’s column got you a bit excited and you thought there was going to be a Tom Petty focus, I am sorry, but there is absolutely no correlation between the classic rock hit “Free Fallin” that Mr. Petty made famous and the subject matter of todays “Outdoor Adventures.” Sorry for the disappointment and as you are this far in already, why not keep going? I promise strong potential for an enjoyable reading experience. For those who enjoy a good music reference tossed into the mix, you will not be completely disappointed.
Fall. It is here. Despite the temperature periodically peeking into the 80’s and 90’s, the 50’s and 60’s overnight and more regular low 70’s announce in full fashion that yes, Fall is here. There are sightings of some slight color changes of the foliage with a few leaves exiting their lofty perches high above the ground in the trees already. Provided for us all is an opportunity to become excited and switch our gears a bit from our summer activity mode to our “Fall Frolics.” The possibilities to “Get Out and Enjoy the Great Outdoors” are as endless as the “Autumn Leaves,” as sung by Nat King Cole and covered by the likes of Bing Crosby, Doris Day, and Frank Sinatra.
What do you enjoy doing as the fall months go by? September is not only a great tune by Earth, Wind and Fire from 1978, but it is the time of year that for many means football, hunting, hiking, bonfires, hot tubbing, and more. For me, it means all the above. Watching football, be it High School, College or the Professional variety is something that I truly enjoy. Being present at the game versus watching it on the old tube is even better. All the senses seem to be a bit more on point when you are outside at a game. I really noticed this at a recent outing watching my great nephew and his 6th grade teammates go to battle in Bloomington. Every time that ball went into the air was an adventure, and the collective sighs and gasps became quite evident as the night went on.
Hunting and hiking can go hand in hand, especially pheasant hunting, as the wild bird count in our area is not hugely favorable for the hunters, so expect to do a lot of walking. This is not a bad thing and if you possess a dog, then it is a great physical work out for you and your fourlegged friend, as well as some great bonding time. If you do by chance scare up a rooster or two, even better. Duck hunters are gearing up for the opener as well. I have often said that when it comes to hunting, the importance of the people (and dogs) that you hunt with far exceed the number of limits you are able to bag during a season. Do not get me wrong, nobody likes an empty game pouch on the way back to the truck, but the memories created are the ones of the Maroon 5 song with the same name as the Barbara Streisand tune, but with a totally different meaning. “Here’s to the ones that we got, Cheers to the wish you were here, but you’re not…” There will be a time when our hunting partners (two and four legs) are no longer able to be with us. Outdoor Adventures help build memories.
Is there anything like a fall bonfire with crackling embers popping and darting skyward, the rolling smoke of the firepit seems to go wherever you go and of course, SMORES. While you could certainly sit by that roaring fire alone, and sometimes, it is a great way to gather some peace and tranquility (which yes, there are even a few tunes with this title), as an extrovert, it is always more fun to gather with many versus being by myself. Also, when I accidentally overcook my marshmallow, there always seems to be someone willing to take that charred version of what I feel should be golden brown and plop it onto their graham cracker. Wasting a marshmallow by a fire is against the law, and if it isn’t, it should be. Sitting in a hot tub after eating a few smores is about as close to heaven as I plan on getting for a while, or at least is my hopes.
What fall outdoor adventures do you hold dear? I didn’t even mention taking drives up and down the riverways to watch the leaves change color, fall housecleaning, or weekend runs to fall festivals in the area. Well, I guess I just did, but there are SO MANY more. Whatever yours are, FALL is here so you know what you need to do… “Get Out and Enjoy the Great Outdoors.”