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: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6068.