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Published: Sunday, 12/18/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

TOLEDO MAGAZINE

Outdoors editor Steve Pollick leaves a legacy of adventure

BY STEVE POLLICK AND JEFF BASTING
The Blade Outdoors editor Steve Pollick says farewell after 30 years and travels to 35 different countries.
The Blade Outdoors editor Steve Pollick says farewell after 30 years and travels to 35 different countries.
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It has been a wild ride, literally and figuratively, these nearly 30 years as The Blade’s outdoors editor, a unique, adventure- filled career that included setting foot in 35 countries, large and small, and usually freezing or roasting depending on the latitude and climate.

Looking back, it seems as though I was wearing the proverbial seven league boots to cover so much ground some years.

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But pinch me, it really happened, those hectic globetrotting years, though now, at retirement age, I wonder where the energy came from.

There were some dicey moments — a couple of elephant charges while on foot in the Zimbabwean bush, a hair-raising charge by an enraged bull hippopotamus while canoeing the Zambezi River (a very close call), flying in that little airplane across the Saharan amid violent civil war in 1986, a couple of long slides down mountainsides here and there. And those are just for starters. May be a book in there, somewhere, what?

And there was the food, or what passed for it in local culture. Fried mopane worms (Africa), live grubs (Australia), fresh-caught piranha (Amazon), and other stuff best left described.

Lest I seem ungrateful, it always was consumed with gusto and a smile, no matter what. And I lived. I got a real kick out of helping elephant handlers wash elephants on a blistering afternoon in a river in the tigerlands of north-central India, and their rewarding my good sportsmanship by allowing a solo ride, bareback, on one of their pachyderms, right down the river. (In bush shorts it is like riding on a pin cushion.)

Being knighted into the Jaegermeisters’ Guild of the Czech Republic was an honor, and a little afternoon target practice with blowguns with the boys of the Yagua tribe deep in the

Peruvian Amazon was a treat. In between and among other larger-than-life adventures were oh so many more here in the United States and Canada, including plenty right at or near home.

Hunting, fishing, camping, backpacking, birding, canoeing. Some of what I consider my most thoughtful writing came right from Muskellunge Creek bottom, right behind the house, or alone in a winter wilderness cabin in Michigan’s wintry western upper peninsula.

In truth, it would take, well, 30 years, to take it all in and tell about it. Which is what I have tried to do, actually. To play on the trademark song crooned by the late, great Bob Hope, thanks for the memories. It has been a distinct pleasure and my great good fortune to be able to share them. All the best, outdoors, to you.

Contact Steve Pollick at: spollick@theblade.com or 419-724-6068.


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