Getting Reacquainted & Outdoors Fitness

Hi! Remember me?

“How vain it is to sit down to write, when you have not stood up to live.” Henry David Thoreau

I’ve been away from this blog for a while. I have been living so much I’ve barely written a word in months. We fished a lot this summer. I caught the biggest large and smallmouth bass I’ve ever caught. We fished on lakes we’d never been to, went to Spednic Lake just a few times, and I favored Pocomoonshine Lake this year. Pokey has big bass and unlike Spednic, you can keep them to eat.

I taught my dog to kayak with me. This was not taking on the St Croix.

I taught my dog to kayak with me. This was not taken on the St Croix.

We paddled the St Croix River and I made it through three sets of rips without dumping. I was nervous. The first set was unsettling. I hit a couple of submerged rocks. The second set wasn’t too bad, and I hit a couple of submerged rocks. Hearing the water rushing ahead added to my nervousness. We stopped for lunch before going through the third rips and by then I was ready. Whoop and holler, hit more rocks than I counted, and had the most fun on that “worst of the day” set of rips. What a blast. Sitting higher on the water these days, the kayak moves over rocks easier than it would have last year.

I was fortunate to have opportunities to band woodcock and Canada geese at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. I got my first turkey of the spring season on opening day.

Annnnd I did something major. Sitting higher on the water these days… I mentioned it once or twice earlier this year but didn’t really write much about it. I had gastric sleeve surgery (weight loss) in February. I don’t remember ever having a better summer than this year. I’ve gone from size 18 or 20 depending on brand name to a size 8. Moving is easy now. I can run. My blood sugar is normal and I haven’t taken a blood pressure pill since the morning of surgery. I’m not having my knee replaced (at least not any time soon). It was hard and frustrating and I cried a few times. Eating a tablespoon of scrambled egg after being on a liquid diet for 26 days was frightening. It was worth it.

Save Maine's bear hunt, Mainer's for fair bear hunting, HSUS, Maine black bear, bear baiting

This was not the bear I was going to shoot.

Being a size 10 at the time, moving behind the ground blind while bear hunting was easy. I can move from the seat to the ground and back again effortlessly and almost in silence. After five years of work I shot my first black bear. (If you have nothing nice to say please say nothing. I’d like to keep comments open.)

I’ve lost 90 pounds (!!!) of fat and built 15 pounds of muscle for a total weight loss of 75 pounds. I’ve worked very hard to lose the weight and build the muscle without stepping foot in a gym. What I’ve done and what I’ll be doing outdoors to finish getting fit and stay that way is most of what I’ll be writing about now. I’ll start sharing recipes for bear meat, partridge, turkey and hopefully deer. I picked a lot of mushrooms this summer and fall. I’ll share photos from my walks and snowshoeing, and from scouting as I look for my first deer. I have a doe permit for zone 17 this year. Maybe…finally…I’ll get a deer this year. It’s a lot more comfortable sitting in a tree stand when your butt is a size 18 rather than an 18. I’ll be bow hunting this year. My only regret this summer is that I didn’t learn to fly fish. There’s still time but it seems unlikely that I’ll learn in time to be on Grand Lake Stream on opening day in 2015.

Life is good – especially when you’re living it outdoors.

Robin Follette

About Robin Follette

Maine Press Association award winner, 2013. Robin's Outdoors, Bangor Daily News, third place in Sports blogs. I grew up with a fishing pole in my hand and have always loved the outdoors. From gardening to hunting and fishing, kayaking, camping, hiking and foraging, most of my time is spent outdoors. I teach outdoor skills as a volunteer instructor for Hooked On Fishing - Not On Drugs and Becoming an Outdoors-Woman. Pro-staff at The Limb Grip. My personal blog is here. I'm currently working on my first book, a collection of short stories based on my outdoors experiences.