By Drew YoungeDyke
This Michigan Outside column was originally published in the September 2019 issue of Woods'N'Water News.
The eroded green wooden oars pulled heavily under the surface of the lake to propel the ancient aluminum rowboat as I raced a thunderstorm back to the dock at my family’s cottage in the western Upper Peninsula last September. My core and shoulders burned like I was rowing on the Concept 2 at CrossFit. Self-propelled is a relaxing way to connect with the water and get in a workout at the same time, especially with an approaching thunderstorm.
The common denominator for the workout value of all forms of self-propelled fishing seems to be that the workout is most apparent when it’s time to come in after gradually sneaking up on you on the way out. That’s kind of what fishing is supposed to do: engage your mind so completely in the immediate activity that all your cares fade away – including, sometimes, how to get back. If you’re looking for ways to stay in shape in the outdoors, though, then fishing without a motor is probably the most relaxing way you can do it.
This was certainly the case a few weeks ago on a northern Michigan lake near Lewiston. I was fishing with my dad, my outdoor writer friend Chris Engle, and his daughter Paige. Chris paddled Paige around the lake in his canoe, I lent my dad my waders for some near-shore wading with a spinning rod, and I tried out my new used float tube for the first time, fly fishing meaty streamers for northern pike.
Float tube fishing is awkward at first, but fun. Unlike fishing from a kayak, I didn’t have to constantly paddle a little to reposition, stash the paddle securely, and then pick up my fly rod to make a cast. I just kicked the flns on my feet and slowly made by way along the drop-offs and weed edges, constantly casting and probing, micro-adjusting with my legs. And of course I got skunked, while Paige reeled a fine northern pike in to Chris’s canoe.
My dad left first; he’s not a fisherman, to which I give him twice the credit for coming fishing with me when I invited him and for taking my niece Elsa when she’s up at the family cottage. I know he’s there for us, not the fish. He told me later all that fishing gave him time to come up with some new plays (he coached football) and he wanted to draw them up before he lost them. Chris and Paige left a little later to play on the beach. I stayed out from morning to mid-afternoon, working the lake edge, working the weeds, working the lilly pads, with no bites. Paddling backwards back toward the takeout, my hamstrings had brief twinges of the cramps that I usually start to develop around the half-marathon mark of a trail race. And when you consider the constant scissor-kicking with water resistance that propels you around the lake in a float tube, it’s a similar low-impact endurance leg workout, but in reverse.
Kayaking a lake is more of total upper body workout. Last August I kayaked 30 miles from the Lake Michigan beach in Charlevoix, through the Pine River Channel, into Round Lake and around Lake Charlevoix over two days, bivouacking at Young State Park near Boyne City. Waves were high and my dry hatch leaked, so I even tipped, losing my grandpa’s old spinning rod near Horton Bay. I swam with one arm and towed my waterlogged kayak with the other toward shore until a boating family gave me a tow the rest of the way.
I drained the kayak and hugged the shore the rest of the way, fighting two- to three-foot waves most of the way. My core burned and my forearms cramped up from a workout like they’d never seen before. My back muscles pulled the paddle through the waves to relieve them, and I was glad to reach the campground where I could stop and rest in my hammock. The next day was much of the same all the way around to the South Arm of the lake.
River fishing is much more relaxing in a kayak, just letting the current carry you downstream and casting a well-placed popper to the smallmouth waiting behind a rock. Of course, if you’re fishing alone you must first paddle upstream against the current before you can coast back down. I took the float tube out on the Huron River a few weeks ago to do that, hugging the weed edge up and fishing it back, with a couple strikes but none I could set. I lost my Orvis “Predator Pounder” streamer, with my only consolation that its lead eyes are made of nontoxic material, so no water birds would be poisoned if they come across it at some future date.
It was up at the family cottage in the Upper Peninsula where I first learned to fish without a motor, though. I recently found an old photo of me rowing that same aluminum boat fishing with my Great-Uncle Bill on that lake when I was four or five years old. What I probably didn’t notice then, but sure notice in the photograph now, was the motor attached to the transom but propped out of the water. I don’t have to wonder now what he was trying to teach me on that fishing trip by having me row when he could have used the motor to get us around the lake. I understand it every time my fins propel my float tube, when my paddle pulled my kayak across Lake Charlevoix, and when those same oars rowed me to shore ahead of the storm.
By Drew YoungeDyke
This Michigan Outside column was originally published in the August 2019 issue of Woods'N'Water News.
The evidence was unmistakable. When my colleague at the National Wildlife Federation, Aaron Kindle, showed me the photo he took at the Outdoor Writers Association of America conference while I was shooting trap at our steel shot demo, the size large Hunt To Eat t-shirt I was wearing stretched tight over the spare tire I had burned off two years ago; now it was back.
In early 2015, I was in the worst shape of my life at age 35. At 5’8” I weighed 230 pounds and ate the standard American diet of fried food, bread, and sugary drinks, and stretched out X-large t-shirts. Two years later, I was down to 175, in the best shape of my adult life, eating clean, competing in the national championships for Train To Hunt, won a 5K race, and size medium t-shirts fit just right. Right now, I’m somewhere in between but the trajectory is trending in the wrong direction. I need to do what I did back in 2015 and rebuild the fitness habits that helped me get in my best shape since high school. I know how to do this. I’ve done it before.
It can happen subtly; your five workouts a week become three, then two, then you miss an entire week. For me it wasn’t subtle at all: When my son Noah was born in February, the around-the-clock attention he deserved left me with little time or energy to focus on my fitness goals. It was a win if I was able to clock in a short three-mile trail run two days a week, while I had been running six to twelve mile distances three to four days a week training for an ultramarathon before he was born (I later skipped the ultramarathon for trout camp). I sputtered along trying to keep my workouts up, but then two multi-day work conferences in June left me feeling weak, old, and tired.
Where to start, though? Since 2015 I’ve done multiple workout programs, from trail-running and ultramarathon prep to CrossFit and Train To Hunt. CrossFit is varied in itself, so within a CrossFit box (what the gym is called) athletes cycle through multiple different fitness programs utilizing the core movements – the idea is to keep it constantly varied. The two CrossFit boxes I trained at – Spartan CrossFit in East Lansing and CrossFit Treetown in Ann Arbor – are certainly responsible for getting me into that peak shape two years ago, and if I had the budget I would go right back right now. But with my son, any money I would otherwise put into a CrossFit membership is going to diapers, wipes, formula, onesies, books, and learning development toys. However, I have a basic set of weights in my garage gym setup that those years of CrossFit have taught me how to use.
Before I can even think about launching into a programmed workout plan, though, I have to get myself back into the habit of just working out. Before my son was born, I had a compulsion to work out. If I didn’t get my run in, I didn’t feel right. I’ve lost that, and that’s why I weigh 200 pounds and size large t-shirts are getting tight. “Dadbod” happens for a reason. That compulsion to work out has to be regained, the habit rebuilt. Back in early 2015, I started this fitness habit by working out every day. At first it was trail runs, since I hated to run before that. I ran one mile one day, then the next, then the next. I gradually increased my distance, but for two straight weeks I ran every single day. I allowed only a single rest day each week after that for another two weeks, and by then I was hooked.
It generally takes at least a month for something to become a habit, and after that first month, I didn’t just make myself run: I had to run. Scientific American lists four factors that can help form habits, and in addition to lasting a month, they suggest making it social, picking the right timing to start, and setting a goal.
My goal is to work out every day in the month of July. I know that if I do, I will have rebuilt the habit that will carry me forward. Workouts can be anything: a three mile trail run, doing the workout of the day from the CrossFit website in my garage gym, running two miles to work and two miles back, going for a bike ride, taking a hike with my son in the backpack or front carrier, or paddling the river – with a fly rod.
While Scientific American suggests things like group runs to make working out social, I don’t really like to run in a group unless it’s a race. However, I’ve enlisted my wife in the effort, and her support is crucial because she makes sure I can take at least a half hour to work out each day while she watches our son, and I return the favor to allow her the time to go to her Pure Barre fitness classes. I also enlist my Instagram (@michiganoutside) followers to hold me accountable by posting a photo from each day’s workout. If a day goes by without a workout post, I want to hear about it.
July was the perfect month to start, because the weather isn’t generally a barrier to any of the outdoor workouts I do, and if I keep it up I’ll be back in prime shape for the fall hunting seasons, like busting through thick upland cover for grouse and still hunting Pigeon River Country hills for deer. August would be a great month to start, too, for the same reason.
Getting in shape, for me, is about so much more than how a t-shirt fits. The birth of my son has filled my daydreams with us running trails together, hiking into backcountry fly fishing camp, and teaching him how to still hunt public land hills when he’s much, much older, just how my dad taught me. To do any of that, I need to maintain my fitness level to keep up with him as he grows up. I have to teach him how to live a healthy lifestyle. And I have to rebuild my fitness habit. Starting now.
by Drew YoungeDyke
(This Michigan Outside column was originally published in the July 2019 issue of Woods'n'Water News)
Chris saw the bear first, a sow standing near the base of a pine, separated from us by about 50 yards of underbrush. Then we spotted the movement up in the tree and could make out two cubs. And she definitely saw us, starting to make an arc away from the tree and towards our position on the trail. Being perceived as a threat by a black bear sow with cubs is probably the most dangerous situation you can find yourself in the Pigeon River Country State Forest, but we had another problem: The bears were right where we planned to access the Pigeon River, where the Shingle Mill Pathway we’d run with our waders in backpacks veered closest to the river.
Chris Engle, a fellow outdoor writer, and I have fished a few times around Gaylord since we met in 2012 through local fishing and conservation legend Dave Smethurst while travelling together to a town hall meeting in Alpena to speak against the Land Cap Bill. On a mid-May weekend, I was up from Ann Arbor for my son’s baby shower the day before at my parents’ house in Gaylord, and I had a short window to fish early that Sunday morning before I was expected for a family brunch, so I invited Chris. He and I have ice fished on Manuka Lake, fished for walleye with Sarah Topp of Huron Pines on Otsego Lake, and fly fished a different stretch of the Pigeon, but this was the first time we made it a flyathlon, running up the trail to fish the river upstream back to his car.
We had already changed from our running shoes to our chest waders and assembled our fly rods, but we wisely backed away and made our own off-trail wide arc away from and around the bears – which took us directly uphill through thick cover, not the easiest path in cheap boot-foot waders and a rigged eight-foot fly rod. And while the uphill slog was difficult, the wetland we had to traverse to get back to the river was even tougher, and wading the river impossible in spots due to a high flow and beaver damming.
I stripped a streamer through pools without a bite while Chris fished a spinning rod. We leapfrogged the river down the trail back closer to the car when the rain started pouring, with thunderstorms expected later in the forecast. I tried a bead-head nymph and Chris finally landed a rainbow trout with his Panther Martin. While the fishing wasn’t great, it was a classic Pigeon River Country foray during which we spooked a deer, flushed two grouse, did some wayward bushwacking, saw some trilliums on the forest floor, waded beaver pools in the river, and, of course, saw a mama bear and cubs.
While we expected a little workout from trail-running the couple miles up the trail to where we planned to enter the river, what surprised me – but shouldn’t have – about our morning of fishing is how hard my legs worked to climb uphill through brush, to slog through wetlands, to climb out of the high-flowing river to the bank where beaver dams created pools deeper than my waders, and sinking thigh-deep in thick muck and struggling to escape it.
There have been several workouts I’ve done through CrossFit and Train To Hunt which engaged similar muscles and worked my legs the same which helped push through those unexpected situations in the woods, like weighted box step-ups, lunges, and squats. Unexpected situations – like navigating uphill wide around a black bear sow and cubs - are why I think it’s often most important for hunters, anglers, and trappers to stay in decent physical condition or work to get in better physical condition. One of the simplest ways to train your body for unexpected uphill or cross-wetland hikes, though, is simply to hike with a weighted backpack.
Gear needed for this is simple: hiking boots or shoes and a backpack capable of comfortably supporting whatever weight you’ll put in it. Personally, I use Altra Lone Peak trail-running shoes, Prana Stretch Zion pants, and the Tenzing TZ3000 internal frame pack, which is the same one I use for deer hunting. Be honest about your current conditioning level and don’t overload your pack – just pack the equivalent weight of what you would carry in the field. I often just load it up with my actual overnight backpacking kit. Find a public land trail – Michigan has 12,500 miles of them – and go for a hike, it can be that simple. A 200-pound person (my approximate weight) can burn 550 calories per hour according to LiveStrong.org.
If you want to support conservation efforts while you train, you can also sign up for the Hike To Hunt Challenge from Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. This is a fundraising challenge which support the organization’s efforts to protect wild public lands and access to wild public waters by signing up and getting friends and family to pledge donations based on how many miles you hike. At the same time, you could win prizes from outdoor gear companies like Under Armour and Vortex . The 2019 Challenge started on June 1 but it runs until July 31, so there’s still time to enter. Sign up at www.backcountryhunters.org/hike_to_hunt_2019 and join the Michigan Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Facebook Group for local events.
Whether you enter the Hike To Hunt Challenge or just strap on a pack and hike a few miles to burn some calories and increase your leg strength, you’ll be better prepared for the obstacles that we all encounter from time to time in the outdoors. Whether it’s dragging a deer out of a valley in November or circumventing a mama bear and her cubs on your way to a trout stream in May, your legs will thank you for the preparation when the unexpected inevitably happens afield.
By Drew YoungeDyke
This Michigan Outside column was originally published in the June 2019 issue of Woods'N'Water News.
The trail wound uphill into the forest and I found a natural stride which made me feel like our ancient ancestors who persistence hunted African antelope, running them to exhaustion over long distances before killing and eating them. At least that’s what I pictured in my head up until about mile 12 of my first ultramarathon, when leg cramps kicked in. I finished the final 19 miles alternating between walking and a slow jog, but I crossed the finish line having run 31 miles, 50K, on a trail through our public lands.
Just a few years ago, running an ultramarathon would have seemed impossible. When I turned 35, I was fifty pounds heavier, never ran, drank too many carbonated beverages, and ate like I had the metabolism of the high school athlete I used to be. Inspired by the burgeoning hunter-athlete movement popularized by Cameron Hanes, I ran the trail in the nature area across the street from my house one day after work – for one mile. But I repeated that every day for two weeks until it was a habit, and that first mile set me on a path to finding fitness and eating healthier.
Endurance and physical fitness used to be a critical component of hunting. Dr. Dan Liebermann, a Harvard evolutionary biologist, theorizes that we actually evolved through persistence hunting. Maybe that’s why I feel the same instinct when I’m trail running as when I’m still hunting with a recurve. At some point in our evolutionary history, though, hunting and fitness diverged. I suspect that was more recently, though, as we started relying more on ORV’s to take us to blinds to sit all day. But even for stationary hunters who use motorized transportation, a healthy lifestyle can lead to more seasons afield as you age. And trail-running is a natural fit for hunters and anglers looking to improve their physical fitness – after all, we already know our way around the woods.
That’s what I loved about trail-running at first – the setting. Running on roads and sidewalks was always too monotonous to keep me running on previous false starts over the years, but every bend of the trail holds something new – a doe with fawns, scurrying squirrels, birds of every color, and the consistently changing conditions of the woods throughout the seasons. Soon I was running three miles, then six. My footwork improved to avoid roots and hurdle fallen logs and large rocks in the trail. My ankles grew stronger. And when the fall came, I found that I could still hunt longer across the public land hills I hunt without getting exhausted. That year I killed my first deer with a bow and then my first buck with a rifle, a three-and-a-half year old public land eight-point, both by still hunting.
The next year I ran my first trail race, a 5K held on the field archery course at the Tomahawk Archers club in Temperance, Michigan. I also entered my first Train To Hunt competition that year, and the next year I added a 10K race, made the Train To Hunt national finals in the traditional bow division, and won a 5K race in Boulder, Colorado. Last year I ran my first half-marathon trail race and then my first ultramarathon (anything longer than a marathon) at Run Woodstock, which uses parts of the Pinckney State Recreation Area. As my endurance builds up over time, I continuously want to push myself to see how far I can go. Running those distances isn’t necessary to improve your fitness, though: all that takes is to do more than you’re currently doing right now.
Before you start trail-running, the dormant lawyer in me is going to say to check with a medical professional to make sure that you can. Okay, now that’s out of the way.
The next step is figuring out where to run. Luckily, we’re pretty blessed with abundant public land trails in Michigan. My favorites are the Potowatomi Trail in the Pinckney State Recreation Area, combining the Orange, White, and Blue Trails at Bald Mountain State Recreation Area, the Shingle Mill Pathway in the Pigeon River Country State Forest, and the Escarpment Trail in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Michigan boasts 12,500 miles of trails and pathways, though, so there’s likely one near you. Most trailheads require a Recreation Passport on your vehicle to enter and park.
Gear for trail-running starts with the shoes. Trail running shoes will have more aggressive tread and often a rock guard insert. Each brand and model fits and functions just a little different. Drop refers to the distance from the heal to the toe; I prefer the Altra Lone Peak model because they have zero drop from the heel to the toe, which I think helps me maintain a natural forefoot strike, instead of striking the ground with my heels, which can lead to knee issues. Some runners prefer minimalist or “barefoot” shoes; others prefer shoes with thick, cushioned soles like those made by Hoka One One.
Running clothes can be simple – I started running in a tee shirt and basketball shorts. Now I use Patagonia Nine Trails shorts with a built-in brief and their Capilene tee with odor-reducing technology because I can wear them on multiple runs before I have to wash them. For socks, I prefer merino wool running socks from Smartwool, which keep my feet dry by wicking sweat. A simple foam trucker hat will keep the sun out of your eyes and your head cool. If I’m running a longer distance, I carry water in a hydration bladder backpack made specifically for running from Ultimate Direction. If it’s cold, snowing, or icy, I’ll wear nylon running pants, a hooded fleece top like the Patagonia R1, a merino wool hat, light gloves, and trail gaiters or running crampons over my shoes.
Trail running is inherently slower than road running; you have roots and rocks – and sometimes snakes – to watch out for, the terrain is more varied with hills and valleys, and the scenery is better. Don’t worry about how fast you run at first, or how far. Take it slow and pick a distance you can manage. If you’re running an out-and-back, remember to turn around at half that distance. Unlike road running, a trail through the woods can lead you far from any roads. If you run five miles out, you’re going to have to run, walk, or crawl the five miles back. But at the heart of it, it’s just running through the woods, as instinctual to our species as stalking a deer with a traditional bow.
Other than persistence hunting, trail running doesn’t have a direct correlation to the killing part of hunting. The endurance it builds, though, can help you sit out the cold on stand, keep up with your dog in the grouse woods, follow your hounds to a bear, drag out your deer with less risk of a heart attack, or, like me, still hunt all day across public land hills. And do so into the later years of your life. Who knows: You might even start running trails just for the fun of running trails.
I wrote this article for Woods-N-Water News shortly after my great-uncle Walt died in 2017. My great-aunt Elaine, who I wrote about in this article, joined him last week. I'll miss her greatly. I've updated the article for this blog post with additional historical context, and it's certainly worth noting that I wouldn't have any of the family history and Finnish customs passed down to me if my Aunt Elaine hadn't preserved them for all of our family. This article was awarded an Award in Craft, 3rd Place in the Magazine/Open category in 2018 by the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers.
For the first time in 16 years, I dipped my paddle in the still waters of Chaney Lake in Gogebic County. I was returning from the week-long Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW) annual conference at Lake of the Woods, Minnesota, and had stayed the night before at my family’s cottage on Chaney Lake on my drive back home to Ann Arbor. A black protuberance on the flat water caused me to set down my kayak paddle on my lap and raise my binoculars, finding a loon through the glass.
I came up here every summer of my youth with my parents and brother to spend time with the Finnish side of my mom’s family, but somehow I haven’t found – or made – the time to visit since I was 21. In the middle of the last century, my great-grandpa William “Bill” Lantta bought an old deer camp on this small inland lake just above the Wisconsin border to convert to a summer cottage (“mӧkki” in Finnish) for his family. The first journal entry in the camp log from 1961 concludes with a postscript noting that “Grandpa Bill caught a beautiful 24 ½” northern.”
My great-uncles Bill and Walt used to take me fishing in the aluminum boat, though I don’t remember reeling in many fish myself; some things never change. What I do remember is hearing the loon’s call, a haunting wail providing the soundscape of the Northwoods. Cedars swoop before the enclosed cottage porch, and a few sentinel white pines rim the lake amidst oaks, maples, cedars, and birch. Before I knew their name, I thought of white pines as “eagle trees” due to the nest in one on the lake years ago.
Little has changed physically since I was last here: the same red log cabin and the sauna any self-respecting Finnish cottage must have. My dad and brother put in a new dock last summer, someone – likely my great-Uncle Bill – built a vestibule over the picnic table. It has indoor plumbing now, though I still insist on using the “huusika,” what you might call a “two-holer.” So much else has changed, though; Uncle Bill and his wife, my Aunt June, passed on a few years ago. Just over a month ago, my Uncle Walt passed away just before his 97th birthday, leaving my Aunt Elaine as the last of the greatest generation which filled this cottage with laughter, intellect, and love for over a half century.
The night before, I flipped through the photo albums and scrapbooks that didn’t interest me as much as a kid. There are pictures of my great-uncles teaching my younger cousins to clean fish in the years that I was somehow too busy to come up here. Then there’s my little brother and me in that boat, and my mom as a teenager with a string of walleye – I never knew she fished! Uncle Bill with a buck hanging from a pole in front of the cabin, which he sometimes used as a deer camp, too.
But then, there are older photos, much older. My grandma Ruth – who passed when my mom was a teenager – as a baby in 1924. My great-Grandpa Bill as a young man paddling a canoe, another of him holding a rabbit he’d hunted with a Michigan-made Marble Arms Game Getter out in Red Lodge, Montana. One was of the whole family after a day of fishing in the nineteen-teens with my great-great-grandpa John, who emigrated from Finland in 1887 to work as a teamster in Minnesota lumber camps and a miner in Ironwood before buying a farm in Iron Belt, Wisconsin.
In 1946, another Finnish immigrant to the Upper Peninsula – Frank Valin - told folk researcher Richard Dorson why many small farmers and sharecroppers emigrated during that time: “The food was always miserable; sour milk thinned with water, potatoes and herring, day in and day out while the tables of the landowners groaned with stews of beef, lamb and pork, and carrots and onions. The lakes were full of fish but we could not fish in them, neither could we hunt game, except by stealth, for the land was owned by our ‘betters.’ Is it a wonder that we left Finland to come here?”
Finns have long found both freedom and a living in the wilderness. My own great-great-grandfather John Lantta cut hemlock bark from the woods near his father Abraham's farm in western Finland, making it into tar and hauling it to Kokkola with a team of horses. And when he immigrated to America in 1887 to work as a teamster in Minnesota lumber camps it was to pay off the family's farm back in Finland. Still, he made time to take his family on the fishing expeditions in the photo album.
“Agriculture required labor only during the summer, while, during the spring and fall, the men went off on long expeditions into the wilderness to hunt and fish,” described Eino Jutikkala in A History of Finland about the country's pagan iron age. “The lake system of the Finnish interior made the going easy for such expeditions, since it was possible to row up the lakes for scores of miles, after which other waterways could be reached by dragging the boats across narrow necks of lands."
The Finns valued their eramaat, the "vast wilderness reserves which were exploited for fur trapping, hunting, and fishing, and which the yeomen claimed as their domain on the strength of immemorial prerogative," as described Jutikkala in reference to the later middle ages when they repelled attempts by the ruling Swedish king to settle them.
I thought of the concerted effort by some of today’s politicians to sell our public lands and I wondered if someday we would find ourselves unable to hunt and fish because all the land was owned by our “betters.” I wondered if that Finnish concept of wilderness was part of why my great-grandpa bought the cottage and continued ancient Finnish hunting and fishing traditions in America, if it was part of what drove me to pursue it as a career as a conservationist and outdoor writer.
That thought was interrupted by the wail of the loon, calling to locate its partner. Loons live for decades – up to thirty years – and some mate for life. They’re also territorial, and a lake the size of Chaney likely supports only one pair – they would defend their territory from other loons. When the pair becomes separated, they call to each other as this one was doing now, trying to locate its lost mate. I thought of my Aunt Elaine.
Cedars and birches rimmed the shore with the morning sun casting a glow over the trees on the opposite shore as I paddled down the lake, not wishing to disturb the loon. In the shadows of the faint ripples on the water, I almost missed seeing the other loon ahead of me, the lost mate. It called out, and its partner flew to it, spreading its wings out as it landed. Reunited, they floated and fished, one keeping a lookout while the other dove, then switching, making their way down the lake.
I turned the kayak around and paddled back to the cottage; I’d been away from for almost a week and I missed my wife. I packed my gear, made a cup of coffee and heated one of my mom’s homemade pasties for breakfast, then got back on the long road home to Ann Arbor. With the windows down and the moon roof back, a bald eagle flew overhead as Eddie Vedder and Beyonce sang Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” on satellite radio.
Drew YoungeDyke is an award-winning freelance outdoor writer and manager of sporting communications for the National Wildlife Federation. He is also the host of the National Wildlife Federation Outdoors podcast, a national board member for 2% for Conservation, a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers, and the Michigan Outdoor Writers Association, and a state-appointed member of the Pigeon River Country State Forest Advisory Council.
All posts at Michigan Outside are independent and do not necessarily reflect the views of NWF, OWAA, AGLOW, MOWA, the PRCAC, or any other entity.