Since my family has always lived on a significant amount of land (at least by a city person’s standards), there was a lot for me to explore. Unlike other ranchers, who often clear their land of trees for pasture, my family has always left the woods intact. Whether that choice was influenced more by lack of desire or lack of equipment is open to interpretation but, at any rate, I’m deeply grateful for the woods. Open, clear land seemed really boring and unromantic to me; nothing like the woods, which were full of little hidden places that could only be found by the diligent wanderer.
Even at twenty-two and looking ever dapper in rubber boots and gym shorts, I still trudge off into the river bottom from time to time armed only with a walking stick and my dogs to keep me company. When I was younger and the ranch was smaller, I’d be disappointed when I encountered a fence. Fences meant the land beyond was owned by someone else and that I could go no further in that direction, lest I draw the ire of our neighbors—or (no joke) stumble into one of their piano wire booby traps. Continue reading